Dr. Cross is a problem-solving sociologist, working with community partners to build science-based solutions, develop effective programs, and create transformational change. For the past 20 years, she has used Community-Based Social Marketing to help schools reduce bullying and high-risk drinking behaviors, businesses and university campuses to improve recycling and sustainability, and commercial buildings improve their energy conservation and employee engagement. She regularly speaks to cities, non-profits, and professional organizations about steps they can take to increase community engagement, foster new behaviors, and achieve their sustainability goals. Her Ted talk, 3 Myths of Behavior Change, has been viewed over a million times and is used across the world in college classes in both environmental and social sciences. Her current research projects involve working with local governments and non-profits to develop new programs and tools to improve community health and vitality, design for urban regeneration, and build resilience to climate change. Her research has been funded by the US Department of Education, Environmental Protection Agency, National Institute of Health, National Institute of Justice, and the National Science Foundation as well as many local, state, and community agencies.
Dr. Cross teaches courses on social research methods, community development, social constructionism, and applied social change. She has developed innovative courses that engage students in Community Based Research, where the students work with community partners to conduct sociological research that solve community problems, enhance organizational capacity, or develop programs for social change. She earned a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Davis.