some of us are brave


Tressie McMillan Cottom bio headshotTressie McMillan Cottom is a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Broadly Tressie organizations, inequality, and education. Specifically, her doctoral research is a comparative study of the expansion of for-profit colleges (like the University of Phoenix) in the 1990s. The project examines the socio-economic conditions under which 2.5 million students enrolled in the most expensive, most contested sector of U.S. higher education. She is particularly interested in what these interactions means for social mobility and labor outcomes across and within national contexts.


Tressie lectures and publishes widely. Her regular column, Counter Narratives, at Slate brings context and research to bear on the public discourse around higher education and culture. She has been invited to speak on issues of education, race, gender, social movements and inequality at MIT, the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia, Duke, UGA, GSU, UC-Irvine as well as national and international public policy agencies in Canada, New Zealand and across the U.S.  Her public writing has appeared in Inside Higher Education, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Slate, and The Atlantic and has appeared on NPR and Dan Rather Reports. Her academic work has appeared in Contexts and her admissions study of for-profit college enrollment is under review. She is former research fellow at the Center for Poverty Research at UC-Davis. As a fellow, she wrote a public policy whitepaper that examines the link between 1996 changes that purported to “end welfare as we know it” and the rise in for-profit workforce credentials among poor women.  She is the lead editor of “Profit U: The Rise of For-Profit Higher Education”, forthcoming from AERA books. Her book on inequality and for-profit higher education is under contract.


She can be found at and @tressiemcphd.


7 comments on “About

  1. Pingback: Privilege | Walking Contradiction

  2. lindaleea
    February 9, 2014

    Look at Full Sail… great example of marketing to and accepting students (with loans) .

  3. Nisha Vida
    November 7, 2013

    you are amazing!!!

  4. Kaethe
    October 30, 2013

    I got here from John Scalzi. I’m just loving all your posts. Thanks for introducing me to “swirling”.

  5. Pingback: Insanely Well-Capitalized Nonprofit Institution Closes Non-Revenue-Generating Core Divisions « Gerry Canavan

  6. Walter Hamilton
    May 1, 2012

    I’m a reporter at the LA Times writing about student loans. I loved your tweet. I want to interview you for my story. Please get in touch at

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