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Katrina "Kitty" Groeller, M.A.

Department of Sociology,
Michigan State University, MI

Kitty is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at Michigan State University. She is devoted to college access and postsecondary success.

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A Spartan sociologist


Undergraduate Education

Kitty received her B.A in Sociology from Michigan State University in 2017. As an undergraduate, she coordinated multiple student visits to regional sociology conferences with the Undergraduate Sociological Association, facilitated a service-based spring break trip with Students Today, Leaders Forever, studied abroad, and presented work on marginalization and visual sociology.

AmeriCorps Service

After graduation, Kitty joined the MSU College Advising Corps where she served as a college adviser for two years at Orchard View High School in Muskegon, MI. The focus of her service was to support low-income, underrepresented, and first-generation students as they navigated the college search and choice process.


Daily life as a college adviser included college representative visits, campus tours, one-on-one student and family meetings, data reports, College Ambassador trainings, classroom presentations, after-school workshops, and so much more.

Kitty worked with national and regional organizations, school administrators, teachers, and families on large initiatives such as Michigan College Month, College Cash Campaign, and Decision Day.

Graduate Education

At the completion of her service, Kitty returned to Michigan State University to obtain her M.A (2022) and Ph.D (exp. 2024) in Sociology. Her scholarly interests lie in college access, higher education, and teaching and learning.

Kitty's master's thesis investigated learning outcomes as a result of COVID-19 pandemic emergency remote teaching, while her dissertation explores the short-term service role of college advising in public schools through semi-structured interviews and a nationwide survey.

In addition to her doctoral degree, Kitty is obtaining a Certificate in College Teaching and is a Senior Fellow in the Residential College of the Arts and Humanities Graduate Fellowship in Undergraduate Teaching and Learning. Her project with Kyle Chong and Dr. Sitara Thobani tracks the evolution of student understandings of culture and non-neutrality in reflective, written coursework as incorporated in arts and humanities education.

In her spare time, Kitty enjoys a variety of hobbies, such as spending time outdoors, arts and crafts, and playing trivia.


Ferris State University campus trip, September 2017


Joshua Tree National Park, June 2023


Curriculum Vitae


How students navigate educational institutions and the academy


My research is informed both contemporary college access and higher education research.

Navigating college advising
Since March 2023

Investigating the short-term service role of college advising in public schools with semi-structured interviews and a nationwide survey.

Breaking the Mirror of Linear Sociocultural Discourses
Since October 2022

Tracking the evolution of student understandings of culture and investigating non-neutrality in reflective, written coursework as incorporated in arts and humanities education with Kyle Chong and Sitara Thobani, Ph.D.

Invisible Obstacles, Hidden Curriculums
Since February 2021

Exploring the institutional systems of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in the academy with Angelica Ruvalcaba, Ph.D and Jennifer Lai, Ph.D.

Student learning perspectives: Differences by race and class during the COVID-19 pandemic
March 2020 - March 2021

Examining the perspectives of students of color and low income students in a large Midwestern university after adaptation to distanced coursework.

Fostering the sociological imagination for a complex social world 


My teaching philosophy is centered around three core principles: student growth, relevance, and enthusiasm.

Introduction to Sociology
Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2024

Developing the sociological imagination through focus on the principles, concepts, and nature of sociological inquiry.

Social Research Methods
Fall 2023

Conceptualizing, planning, and executing the steps of social research, including developing research questions, choosing sampling methods, designing interview and survey measures, conducting descriptive analysis, and presenting conclusions. 

Youth and Society
Summer 2022, 2023

Exploring the sociological understanding of youth and adolescence and the interdependent relationship between young people and the social world.

People and Environment
Spring 2023

Understanding the reproduction of social inequalities through social demography, epidemiology, and environmental sociology.

Individual and Society
Spring 2022

Recognizing the reciprocal relationship between culture and individual perceptions, beliefs, values, and communication styles.

Family and Society
Fall 2021

Concentrating on family development, family roles, and the diversity of families in the United States using a life course perspective.

Social Inequality
Fall 2019

Examining the the formation, change, trends, and consequences of class, gender, and race-based inequalities in society.

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