Teja Pristavec

Postdoctoral Associate, Virginia Tech


Curriculum vitae






I received my PhD in Sociology from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in 2018, where I also obtained my master’s degree in 2014. Prior to coming to Rutgers, I completed my bachelor’s degree in Cultural Studies at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and received a Solemn Plaque for Exceptional Study Achievements award for my studies. Beginning this August, I will be a Postdoctoral Associate in the Virginia Tech Biocomplexity Institute Social and Decision Analytics Lab, where I will work on multidisciplinary collaborative projects using quantitative methods to develop evidence-based research and inform effective policy-making.

I am an aging and life course sociologist who employs dyadic data to explore issues of social isolation and engagement, while using advanced quantitative methods to develop theoretically motivated and nuanced measures better suited to understanding phenomena in life course and family studies.

My dissertation, titled Three Essays on the Caregiving Experience: Informal Caregivers’ Perception of Burden and Benefits, the Importance of Coping Resources, and How Caregiver Experience Matters for Care Recipients, examines caregivers’ experiences of caregiving to US older adults. My published work examines the transportation assistance for older adults’ (Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences), the burden and benefits of caregiving (The Gerontologist), and household adult food security (The Intersection of Food and Public Health: Current Policy Challenges and Solutions). My work in progress examines mothers’ and children’s reports of resident father involvement.

I am currently a NIH grant-funded fellow at the Rutgers School of Communication and Information. I was previously an Institute of Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research Excellence Fellow, and a Slovene Human Resources Development and Scholarship Fund Zois Fellow. I also won financial support for my studies through the Rutgers Sociology Department Small Grants Program, the Rutgers Graduate School-New Brunswick Special Study Award competition, and the Rutgers Teaching Assistant and Graduate Assistant Professional Development Fund.

I acted as a graduate teaching and lab assistant for Statistical Methods in Sociology I and II, and an undergraduate teaching assistant for Introduction to Social Research, Development of Sociological Theory, and Contemporary Sociological Theory. I obtained Rutgers’ Teaching Assistant Project Teaching with Technology Certificate and received an honor roll recognition for my teaching effectiveness and overall quality of instruction.

I was a selected and funded participant at Columbia University Population Research Center’s Fragile Families Summer Data Workshop, at the RAND Summer Institute Mini-Medical School for Social Scientists and the Demography, Economics, Psychology, and Epidemiology of Aging workshop, and at the Purdue University Center for Global Food Security’s Summer Institute on Global Food Security. I was also the recipient of ICPSR’s Clifford C. Clogg scholarship to attend a four-week training at its summer program in advanced quantitative methods of social research.

At Rutgers, I helped organize the Global Climate Change and Inequality symposium, the Hazards in Context symposium, the Environmental Health Justice symposium, and the Public Engagement Project.

My research has been covered by Reuters, and my broad audience food writings appear in Contexts Magazine, EverydaySociology Blog, Jezebel, The Pacific Standard, and Sociological Images.

I enjoy learning code, sprouting and watching plants grow, flying, all sorts of physical activity, and good green tea.