Elaine Howard Ecklund, Ph.D., is a Baker Institute Rice scholar and an associate professor of sociology at Rice University, where she is also director of graduate studies in the Department of Sociology. In addition, she is director of the Religion and Public Life Program in the Social Sciences Research Institute. Ecklund studies how individuals develop cognitive schema — ways of interpreting the world — that are at odds with institutions that constrain them, and how individuals use such frameworks to change these larger institutions. Her research addresses the areas of religion, immigration, science and gender. Ecklund is the author of two books, 27 peer-reviewed research articles and numerous op-eds. She has received $4 million in grants and awards, and her book “Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think” was named a Book of the Year on religion by the Huffington Post. Her research has been featured in national and international media.
Over the next few years, Ecklund will examine how scientists around the world understand religion and ethics (with Baker Institute fellows Kirstin Matthews and Steven Lewis). In addition, through a cooperative project with the American Association for the Advancement of Science Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion program, she is the principal investigator on a study of how four different U.S. religious groups understand science. She is writing a book (with Anne Lincoln) tentatively titled “Beyond the Ideal Scientist,” which examines how academic scientists at elite research universities balance career and family life. Ecklund teaches classes on immigration, sociology of science, classical sociological theory and sociology of religion, and in 2011, she was named among the top junior faculty teachers at Rice. She received a Ph.D. in 2004 from Cornell University, where she was the recipient of the Class of 2004 Graduate Student Baccalaureate Award for Academic Excellence and Community Service.