Team

Anna S. Mueller, PhD, is the principal investigator of this project. She is the Luther Dana Waterman Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University, where she teaches classes on sociology of education, mental health, and medical sociology. She is a member of the American Association of Suicidology, the Society for Research on Adolescence, and the past-chair of the Section on Children & Youth of the American Sociological Association. She received her BA from Wellesley College in 2002 and her PhD in sociology with a specialization in adolescent development in schools in 2011 from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research on youth suicide has won numerous awards for its contribution to knowledge, and she’s deeply committed to translating research into strategies to help schools and communities prevent suicide. Her research and writing can be read on her website. She's published in the American Sociological Review, Social Science & Medicine, the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, the American Journal of Public Health, among others.

Anna grew up in Houston, Texas, but has also lived in Wellesley (Massachusetts), Austin, Memphis, Chicago, and now Bloomington, IN. She’s also spent extensive time in Latin America both as a child (in Maracay, Venezuela) and as an adult (in Lima, Peru), where she learned to speak fluent Spanish. In her spare time, Anna enjoys anything that gets her outside, especially hiking, kayaking, horse-back riding, and gardening. She is an avid trekker and especially loves trekking in the Peruvian Andes. She is particularly excited to spend more time in Colorado, exploring the Rockies. When she’s home in Indiana, she spends time hiking the local woods, battling the weeds in her garden, and serving as a heated bed for her cats.

For more information on Anna, visit her website: www.annasmueller.com

Sarah Diefendorf, PhD, is a co-investigator on this project and the lead field researcher for our Western Slopes team. She is currently a Scholars Strategy Network Postdoctoral Fellow and is based at the University of Utah, while she conducts research on youth suicide in the Mountain West. She has a particular interest in the role of religion and religious institutions in youth’s lives. She earned her PhD in sociology in 2018 from the University of Washington. She has received numerous recognitions for her scholarship and teaching, including the Martin P. Levine Memorial Dissertation Award and the Herbert L. Costner Award, Distinguished Graduate Student Paper. Her research can be read in the journals Gender & Society & SIGNS: the Journal of Women in Culture & Society.

Sarah grew up in New Hampshire, but has spent a substantial amount of time in Colorado (where she went to college) and in the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, trail running, skiing, and camping. She’s a former lacrosse player, and during graduate school, she had a great time volunteering as a high school lacrosse coach; something she hopes to do again someday. Sarah’s also passionate about photography; both as an artistic endeavor and as a side gig. She’s really excited to be back in Colorado and particularly in the Western Slopes, a place she has always hoped to spend more time.

For more information on Sarah, visit her website: http://www.sarahdief.com/

Katie Beardall, MA, is a graduate researcher on this project. She is currently in her fourth year of her doctoral studies in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. Her research interests are at the intersections of education, stratification, organizations, and culture. She received a B.A. in political science and a B.A. in sociology from the University of North Florida in 2014.


Hillary Steinberg is a graduate researcher on this project. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder. She studies health, the life course (youth and childhood), identity, and gender. Her previous project was a qualitative analysis using interviews she conducted with young adults with chronic health conditions, the results of which can be found in Advances in Life Course Research. Her dissertation is an ethnography of a major children's hospital and follows 17 focal patients via virtual data collection.

James T. Watkins is a graduate researcher on this project. He is currently in his second year of his doctoral studies in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. His research focuses on how immigrants and refugees adapt to new cultural contexts through social structures, such as religion and athletics. In addition, he is interested in the generational conflicts found within immigrant families caused by the influx of unfamiliar social customs. James earned a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2019 before beginning his graduate work at IU.