It is with great sadness that we share the news of WFRN member Sinikka Elliott’s passing. Sinikka’s light, spirit, energy, generosity, and insight had a profound impact on her family, students, colleagues, and friends.  Below, her dear friends and co-authors, Sarah Bowen and Joslyn Brenton, graciously share their remembrance of her remarkable life with our community as we come together in both grief and celebration of a life lost too soon:


Sinikka Elliott was a deep thinker and a brilliant sociologist. She was incredibly generous with her time and feedback, an excellent listener, and a compassionate keeper of people’s stories. With Annie Hardison-Moody, another colleague at NC State, we ran a large longitudinal research project together, and we wrote many articles and a book (with Joslyn Brenton) together. Sinikka was a gifted writer who cared about getting people’s stories right and representing their creativity and resilience as well as their struggles. She taught me so much of what I know about conducting qualitative research, writing, and mentoring, and she pushed everyone on our team to practice a feminist model of doing research and writing about our work. Sinikka was a gentle person who cared deeply about the world and about so many people in it. Her spirit lives on in her work and in the lives of all the students and colleagues who were lucky enough to work with her.  -Sarah Bowen

Sinikka Elliott brought me up, so to speak, in the academic world. She was my dissertation adviser and a compassionate and dedicated mentor. Sinikka taught me how to become a qualitative researcher with integrity, how to think critically, and how to write in a way that is accessible and that does justice to others’ stories. In graduate school I worked closely with Sinikka and Sarah Bowen as their research assistant on a large multi-year research project. As I wrote my dissertation, Sinikka’s door was always open. And I walked through it for years asking my questions, which Sinikka answered with patience and expertise. After receiving my PhD from North Carolina State University, Sinikka and I became colleagues and friends. We continued to write together, publishing a book with Sarah Bowen in 2019. Sinikka and I emailed daily during those years. We met up at conferences and caught up with each other for hours over coffee. When I needed advice, I would ask Sinikka. I owe much of what I know and who I am, as a sociologist to Sinikka Elliott. This is a profound loss for all whose lives she touched. I will carry her with me forever.  Joslyn Brenton


The WFRN will devote a session at our next conference, June 23-25, 2022 in New York City, to remember and honor Sinikka’s life and contributions.



Melissa Milkie, WFRN President