Erica Bender is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at UC San Diego. She holds a bachelor's degree in sociology from Chapman University and a master's degree in sociology from UC San Diego. Bender specializes in gender, culture and military sociology focusing her research on the institutional and cultural forces driving policies and life chances for veterans and active duty women. She is currently completing the collection of original data for her dissertation, "Strategic Action in Veterans Reintegration," which explores the non-profit sector of military/veterans services in San Diego and the extent to which these organizations perceive, shape and respond to the needs of veterans in transition. Bender teaches exclusively in introductory sociology and in courses focusing on institutional inequalities and has been an Extension instructor since 2014.