I am pursuing graduate education in an interdisciplinary department, and I draw on methods and theories from a variety of disciplines across social-science. I am trained in ethnographic methods and linguistic anthropology, as well as statistics, social network analysis, and computational modeling.



Miklin, S., Mueller, A. & Abrutyn, S. (2019) “What does it mean to be exposed to suicide?: Suicide Exposure, Suicide Risk and the Importance of Meaning-making”  Social Science and Medicine — Manuscript

Current Projects:

Ph.D. Dissertation Research:      Suicidology and the Production of Knowledge About Suicide 

Despite decades of research, the field of suicidology is not meeting its goals of suicide prediction and prevention. Scholars and other stakeholders are increasingly critiquing current approaches, while professional and lay groups are struggling to integrate their assumptions and commitments. Focusing on the US, my dissertation explores the multiple levels of this landscape, from individual to organizational, through a mixed-methods approach. I take suicide research as a case study, as ask broader questions about scientific and social practice: How do different contexts shape scientific research? How does a research community move through a potential scientific crisis? How does knowledge production succeed in crossing boundaries of disciplines and expertise, and where does it fail?


Side Project:    Suicide Attempt Survivor Narratives

I am currently analyzing over 200 interviews with suicide attempt survivors collected through three distinct online projects. I am specifically interested in the genre of the suicide attempt narrative, as well as meanings of suicide that emerge through the survivors’ words.


Project Manager:     Social Worlds and Youth Wellbeing Study

I am currently assisting my advisor, Prof. Anna Mueller, and her collaborators with a new study that seeks to better understand the social roots of youth suicide and, more broadly, elaborate on the structural and cultural factors that come to shape the lives and well being of adolescents.


Previous Projects

M.A. Thesis:      Friends vs. Little Babies: Conflict and Its Management at a Croatian Preschool

Based on two months of participant observation at a preschool, I  show how particular linguistic tokens, specifically ‘friend’ and ‘little baby’ are used by teachers to encourage peaceful social conduct, but are then incorporated into children’s exchanges in ways that actually reinforce the ‘bad conduct’ that is being modified.



B.A. Thesis:   Cujo in the Family: Experiences of Owners of Aggressive Dogs in the Contemporary U.S

Based on a dozen interviews with dog owners whose dogs exhibit aggressive behavior, I explore the practical and ideological struggles of owning not just a dangerous, but an ‘unexpected kind of a dog.’ I show how cultural ideas of what dogs are like, and what kinds of dogs are aggressive, can have very real consequences that can make individual lives of both dogs and humans quite challenging.