by mariannenavada


Currently, I write and create learning videos for, an online publication dedicated to making research on health and society more accessible. Prior to LiFDB, I taught and designed college and graduate courses. I have written two open source textbooks, Principles of Sociology and Sociology of Marriage and Family.


During my graduate work, I conducted field work in Latin America and was the recipient of the Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies travel grant. My research work in sociology includes the effect of foreign direct investment on technology in Brazil, and the role of digital technology in shaping education.

I was one of the first online course designers and instructors for the San Diego Community College District. I designed and developed social science curriculums, courses, and lectures for higher education institutions in Southern California for more than 10 years.

In my work, I had to create learning videos. It gives me joy to know that institutions such as Cornell University and University of Central Oklahoma still use some of the videos I created.


I received my BA from Columbia University in New York. I have two Master’s Degrees, one from University of California, San Diego in Latin American Studies and one in Sociology at University of California, Irvine (UCI). I am ABD (all but dissertation) for a doctorate in Sociology at UCI. Throughout the years, I’ve started to question the value of formal education, but here’s one thing that hasn’t changed: I’m a firm believer in life-long learning. I continue to teach myself, pursue projects, and take courses online.


I collaborate with my husband to build software applications. Here are a few of the projects we worked on:

Chalktips: a platform where students can use multimedia to create engaging social science assignments. Inspired by my students, I wanted a way for course work to be more interactive and can be shared as part of their portfolio. Here’s a short video of how it works.

Py-Polly: an sms-based polling system with real-time graph generator to show results. There are two reasons why we built this. First, I wanted a way to get a large lecture hall to participate in class without having to buy expensive clickers. Second, cell phones were taking over student attention. Instead of fighting them, I incorporated them.

MagTag: The app lets you take any image online and add tags to images with links for shopping. Our startup eventually got funded, and this experience taught me how to oversee and develop tech projects, work with investors, be part of a team, and collaborate with creatives.

Working on these tech projects have provided me with invaluable skills, the importance of team building, the ability to think holistically when designing projects and features, to always find ventures that put you in uncomfortable territory, and how to problem solve collaboratively.