Kathleen Sexsmith, Ph.D.

Kathleen Sexsmith, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Rural Sociology

Areas of Expertise

  • Farm labor
  • Illegality
  • Gender and Migration
  • International Development
  • Voluntary Sustainability Initiatives in Agriculture
  • Gender and Sustainable Agriculture
  • Global Service-Learning


  • PhD, Development Sociology, Cornell University (2017)
  • MPhil, Development Studies, University of Oxford (2008)
  • B.A., Economics, University of Manitoba (2005)


  • Gender and Development (CED 420, Women in Developing Countries)

Research Interests

My research program looks broadly at gender and rural development, with both domestic and international areas of focus.  In the U.S., I study how gender, legal status, and geographical isolation shape integration among immigrants working in agricultural industries.  In particular, I look at social networks and transnational ways of life in non-traditional rural immigrant destinations.  My international research examines the gender dynamics of sustainable agriculture initiatives, including voluntary certifications, responsible investment, and climate-smart agricultural programming in the Global South.

Outreach Interests

My work has a community outreach and advocacy focus, although I do not have a formal extension appointment.  Here at PSU, I continue to build partnerships with outreach and advocacy organizations that support vulnerable populations in agriculture.