Degree/Year: Ph.D., Sociology, 2011
Current Employer: Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis
Title: Assistant Professor of Public Health
I was attracted to the discipline of sociology because of its ability to make visible the complex processes that underlay everyday social actions. I really enjoy being able to apply sociological methods to help communities solve social problems that are affecting them.
The mentorship that I received in my last two years of my undergraduate education was the most beneficial experience I had at Bradley. It gave me the confidence to become actively involved in the discipline and apply to graduate schools. On top of that, I have felt continuously supported by the faculty in the sociology department. Conversations I have had with them since leaving Bradley have helped me keep the perspective necessary to develop and meet my career goals.
The best thing you can do as an undergraduate is to get to know your professors and become involved in your department and the larger field. Working alongside experts and presenting at professional meetings are the best ways to prepare yourself for a future in sociology.
Degree/Year: Sociology and History, 2002
Current Employer: Human Service Center, Peoria
Title: Team Leader of Outpatient Mental Health
What attracted me to the field of sociology was my interest in learning about how society functions and interacts between all the various groups. I was drawn to it by the amazing web of society that we are all a part of and I wanted to learn more about those connections, both positive and negative.
I was attracted to the mental health field due to the amount of stigma and misinformation that exists in society about people diagnosed with mental illness. I felt that I could be an advocate and help to educate about the prevalence of mental illness and how people diagnosed with mental illness are no different than people diagnosed with heart disease or diabetes. I enjoy seeing people overcome their diagnosis and not letting it define who they are.
I feel that the education I received at Bradley has helped me as an advocate. The number one lesson I learned is that things should be looked at critically and one should not be afraid to voice an opinion to challenge the status quo. I found that the critical thinking skills that Bradley taught me helped me to excel during my graduate studies at the University of Illinois.
Recently, I have been employing and working with interns from Bradley in the mental health field. I find that they come out with a good knowledge of new techniques and approaches and have gained educational experiences from them.
My advice for current students considering a degree in sociology would be to remember the value of this degree. Everyone is involved in society and connected to everyone else by the structures in society. Be a part of that system, but don’t accept that system as perfection. Use your knowledge to make it better.