Career Preparedness & Civic Mindedness

I believe that a rigorous sociological education provides students with the fundamentals needed for academic and career success (e.g., reading comprehension, analytic techniques, and communication skills), while also encouraging them to engage critically and empathetically with the world around them.  My goal is to prepare young scholars to question their assumptions, identify structures of power and inequality, and challenge injustice in any career path they choose.

My various teaching experiences reflect both my commitment to core disciplinary curriculum and the value I place on extra-curricular learning through student research and study abroad experiences.

Integrating Scholarship and Teaching: I believe that students learn to be sociologists by conducting their own research. Whether I am coaching first and second-year graduate students through developing successful NSF-GRFP proposals and Master’s Theses, helping seniors finish their capstone projects, or introducing undergraduate Research Methods students to the process of social inquiry, my focus is on teaching them to articulat their sociological interests in a rigorous, scientific way. I am eager to further integrate scholarship and teaching by training students as research assistants and collaborating with them onresearch. By improving their analytic and communication skills through actual research experience, my students will be better prepared for any post-graduation plans.

Experiential Learning: More generally, I believe students learn best when they feel that course material is relevant to them. This is why I emphasize experiential learning through community engagement. Students in my  Social Movements classes, for example, work with political or cultural groups on campus or in the community and practice connecting course concepts to their experiences. In addition to a deeper understanding of course concepts, through these experiences students gain concrete work experience.

Through travel classes–like the three-week Gender and Society in India class that I helped lead for Pacific University–my students fully immerse themselves in the core sociological task of learning to see the familiar in the strange and to see the strange in the familiar. In so doing, they also learn to see themselves as citizens of the world. I believe that such courses allow students who are unable to participate in a traditional study abroad semester to benefit from the study abroad experience. I know the value of these classes first-hand because I used just such a class to develop a successful Fulbright Student Research Grant proposal my senior year of college.