Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Karen Snedker

Associate Professor, Sociology
Seattle Pacific University


CSDE Research Areas:

  • Environments and Populations
  • Health of People and Populations
  • Wellbeing of Families and Households

Karen Snedker’s research and academic training provides a high level of experience and expertise directly related to demographical and ecological studies.  Since the beginning of her career as an NIH post-doctoral fellow at the University of Washington’s School of Nursing, she has worked in interdisciplinary projects and collaborative teams. In her research, she often works with students (both undergraduate and graduate) and other faculty members in a variety of disciplines.  She has been able to maintain an active research agenda despite her professorial position at a teaching university. The majority of her research centered on adolescence, prevention and neighborhood context, including two NIH grants. It generally falls into four main areas: 1) crime and community; 2) urban sociology; 3) adolescence and prevention; and 4) health.  The scope of her published work appears in sociology, geography, demography, public health and crime academic outlets. Her research reflects traditional sociological work as well as interdisciplinary research with direct implications for prevention research and public policy. Her current research program is two-fold. First, she is writing a book on mental health courts (under contract from Plagrave). The book provides a unique mixed methodological study of mental health courts within the framework of the larger trend towards problem-solving courts. Second, in collaboration with Dr. Jennifer McKinney (SPU), she has been researching homelessness and tent cities. Together, they designed an innovative research project while SPU hosted a homeless encampment known as Tent City 3 (TC3).  This project involved new coursework to prepare students to conduct research including interviews with TC3 residents and collecting field data (from the various programs sponsored throughout their stay and local and state events and protests).