Sarah Gaby, Ph.D.

I am a currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis. I completed my Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I study social movements, organizations, education, and inequality with a particular focus on youth civic engagement. My dissertation examines how organizations engage and politicize youth participants. I am currently studying the relationships between legacies of racial violence and enslavement, mass mobilization, and contemporary outcomes. I also write for the Mobilizing Ideas blog.

My Work


My research on civic and political participation and inequality is published in journals including Social Problems, Mobilization, and Youth & Society. I study the dynamics of participation in various institutions including civic organizations, schools, and social movements. My two current projects are described further below, and my published work can be viewed in the portfolio page.


I am a dedicated teacher who engages students in critical thinking, conducting research, and engaging with their communities. I have taught courses including Social Movements, Social and Economic Justice, and Introduction to Sociology. At the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, I won the university-wide Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Learn more about on my teaching page.

Current Projects

Becoming Activists: How Organizations Engage and Politicize Youth

This book-length project examines youth civic organizations in the United States. The core questions of this study include: how do organizations engage and politicize youth, and why are some more effective than others? This work combines survey data with comparative fieldwork, interviews, and focus groups in a matched pair of youth service organizations and a matched pair of youth social movement organizations.

Legacies of Racial Violence and Mass Mobilization

I am studying the relationships between legacies of racial violence and enslavement, mass mobilization, and contemporary outcomes. My current research examines how Civil Rights era mobilization mediates the relationship between lynching and contemporary outcomes including housing segregation, health issues, and rates of imprisonment. This work draws on comparative historical data combined with survey data.

Public Scholarship

Triangle Youth Civic Engagement Project

The Triangle Youth Civic Engagement Project is a multi-method study of youth civic associations in the Raleigh-Durham-Cary metropolitan statistical area. The study included a survey of the population of youth-serving organizations (n=246). A summary of findings from the survey portion of the project can be found online at Thank you to all participating organizations. Data from the fieldwork and interview portions of the project are available by request. For more information please email

Mobilizing Ideas

I write for Mobilizing Ideas at The Center for the Study of Social Movements at the University of Notre Dame. Primarily, my writing the Daily Disruption blog and covers current events and new research. You can read my posts at: