Skip Navigation

Meet Sociology Majors

 "Mini-Bios": A glimpse into the passions and pursuits of some current Sociology Majors


Desireé Amboree '18

Why did you choose to become a Sociology major?

I took Introduction to Sociology and fell in love after studying the sociological imagination. I like Sociology because it allows me to understand the world through the intersections of history and biography. I’m interested in the ways that structures impact different people.

What has been your favorite Sociology course? Why? What course are you looking forward to taking in your future at Beloit?

My favorite class was “Social Deviance” with Charles Westerberg because we looked at the concept of deviance and examined who is considered deviant and how the definition of deviance has been constructed over time.

This class was important in my research as a McNair scholar. I presented on the impacts of these definitions and how the constructions of deviance disproportionately impact black males. We looked at how the construction impacts specific bodies for a reason.
I’m looking forward to taking anything with Carla Davis because I haven’t had a class with her yet. I think my Beloit College career would be lacking if I did not have the opportunity to take a class with her before I graduate.

What do you imagine yourself doing with your Sociology major after graduating from Beloit?

I am a double Critical Identity Studies and Sociology major, so I want to utilize my Sociology major after Beloit to understand the way that we structure our society. This will help me understand the construction of institutions and the ways that those institutions disproportionately impact people with certain identities and figure out ways to work within them to lessen that disproportionate impact. I have a lot of interest in researching the circumstances of Black populations in general and Black women in particular. I want to use my degree to study the prison system and how it impacts African-Americans to grasp how the legal system works.

What advice would you give to future Sociology majors?

Don’t constrict yourself to the classroom. There are so many ways that Sociology is obviously happening around us in the communities we exist in, and how we interact with Sociology every day in these communities. Look for Sociology in everyday life. The study of Sociology is so much more meaningful and impactful when we see these things in our lives and connect our learning to our lived experiences.

 


Rita Chang '19

Why did you choose to become a Sociology major?

I started by taking “Introduction to Sociology” because the course description and readings list covered a lot of the topics I was interested in learning more about and the course seemed like a good fit. I decided to try it out and I went on to take more Sociology courses at Beloit after that course.

What has been your favorite Sociology course? Why? What course are you looking forward to taking in your future at Beloit?

“Social Movements” was probably my favorite because it helped to inspire me to do more research about issues in various social movements. For example, we learned about The Dreamers who advocated for issues within the undocumented youth movement, as well as learning about AIDS activism. That course also involved deconstructing the dominant narrative of the civil rights movement that children are taught K-12 in U.S. schools. It was one of my first exposures to thinking that the best way to make change is to advocate outside of the current political system and by demanding directly from the government to make changes.

I’m not quite sure what course I am most looking forward to taking, but I hope that Kendra Schiffman offers her “Educational Policy” course again before I graduate, because I didn’t get a chance to take it and I really want to.

What do you imagine yourself doing with your Sociology major after graduating from Beloit?

 This semester, I am going on the sophomore shadow program over Spring Break hoping to work with a past Sociology major or a Beloit alum to see how their journey has transformed post Beloit life. The sophomore shadow program at Beloit involves second-year students being nominated by faculty and then applying individually for the week-long trip. The location of the program depends on the year. Last year, the sophomores went to Washington, D.C. and New York City. This year the trip is either to Portland or San Francisco, and I am in the Portland group.
After graduation, I can see myself working for a non-profit or going directly into law school.

What advice would you give to future Sociology majors?

People will tell you that you won’t make any money and that your degree does not matter, but Sociology really breaks down the institutional structures that we interact with and live in every day.
If you’re going into a field that isn’t predominantly composed of Sociology majors, your skills will be extremely useful and helpful in that field. Sociology helps you understand how power and privilege work.


Peter Gustafson '19

Why did you choose to become a Sociology major?

I grew up always stealing my sister’s books and she was always reading a lot about feminism and society. I didn’t realize that it was possible to study that. I didn’t realize you could study the ways that people interact in its own separate field. I have wanted to major in Sociology since my sophomore year of high school. I read a lot of Malcolm Gladwell.

What has been your favorite Sociology course? Why?

I took “Sociology of Race and Ethnicity” with Carla Davis last year. It was my first Sociology course at Beloit College because of the classes I took in high school. It was really interesting, and it was a very nice deconstruction and a good dialogue about how race is constructed and also incorporating the very real economic, social, and political consequences of that construction. It was very informative and eye opening.

What do you imagine yourself doing with your Sociology major after graduating from Beloit?

I’ve been planning on using it in combination with my theater degree because those two fields are actually very connected. I want to study the Sociology of theater. This includes information about who is involved in theater, who is watching theater, and who has access to theater.

I am planning on analyzing and working with regional theaters in looking at different demographic breakdowns within the theaters. I want to expand theater to wider audiences, as well as working to make it more accessible to the highest amount of people possible.

What advice would you give to future Sociology majors?

Talk to your professors about your interests. If you have a very specific interest beyond Sociology or intersecting with Sociology, talk to them! They will know things that you could never even begin to imagine. They can provide new ideas and discuss things with you that you’ll be excited about.
I actually found out that my advisors (who are friends) were talking about the theoretical connections between Sociology and theater and how much the ideas cross over. I talked to them about their conversation and it really elucidated some things for me.


Ryan Jacquemet '19

Why did you choose to become a Sociology major?

I think it was a mixture between wanting to be able to explain what’s going on in the world, as well as being interested after taking Introduction to Sociology with Carla Davis. After taking that class, it was something I was interested in and also something I felt I could be good at studying. I knew I would never get bored, especially with everything that is going on. I like that Sociology combines, political, historical, and science related aspects.

What has been your favorite Sociology course? Why? What course are you looking forward to taking in your future at Beloit?

I can’t decide, but it’s between Sociology of Race and Ethnicity with Carla Davis, or Health, Work and Family Policy with Kendra Schiffman. I liked Health, Work, and Family Policy because I am interested in going into public safety, so the things we learned play a large part in that field. I liked Sociology of Race and Ethnicity because we read a lot of different studies that opened my eyes to a variety of things. I’m from a privileged white background, so it’s important to see what marginalized groups are experiencing in our society.

I have not taken a class with Kate Linnenberg, so I would really like to do that. I have heard a lot of great things about her, so I’m looking forward to that.

What do you imagine yourself doing with your Sociology major after graduating from Beloit?

I am planning on going into public safety, specifically with the fire service. A large part of that work involves public perception in dealing with families, forming better connections, and finding better support networks with them. The fire service does a lot of community service work, so they help families in a variety of contexts and circumstances.
Also, most firefighters have schedules set up in a way that allows them to get another part-time job, so I would like to find a part-time job that I can incorporate with that work.

What advice would you give to future Sociology majors?

I would say to take a risk in choosing classes. For example, this semester I really wanted to take global family issues and my schedule didn’t allow for it. Instead, I decided to take Social Stratification with Charles Westerberg and it’s a really amazing class.
We have learned about things like race, class, and gender. Also, we have talked about a lot of other variables and identities like class consciousness and prestige and how those things affect a person’s position in society, in terms of whether they are socially mobile. We have learned about the historical trends of stratification. The wage gap is getting larger. Our society puts a large emphasis on the middle class, but that’s shrinking and creating large divide between elites and the working class.

Overall, consistently strive to apply what you’ve learned in the classroom to everyday life.


Teresa Mendoza '18

Why did you choose to become a Sociology major?

I took Sociology in high school and I really liked it, so I decided to take it again in college, but it wasn’t until my education class that I realized how much I loved it and realized what I could do with it as a major.

What has been your favorite Sociology course? Why? What course are you looking forward to taking in your future at Beloit?

My favorite class was my education class entitled “Education: Inequality, Institutions, and Policy.”  The course required students to get involved in the Beloit community. We learned a lot about the local community school system. We completed twenty hours of school meetings, including meetings centered around equality, parent-teacher association meetings, and board of education meetings. We also completed twenty hours inside the schools. I worked with students at Hackett Elementary. My role was in the dual-language program, working as a teacher’s assistant in the classrooms. I have already taken a lot of the Sociology courses for the major, but I guess I am looking forward to taking “Sociological Theory.”

 

What do you imagine yourself doing with your Sociology major after graduating from Beloit?

I plan on going to graduate school for social work. I would like to help people and I’ve always been interested in combining community work with my education.

What advice would you give to future Sociology majors?

Do the Duffy. Beloit is a really amazing community and I think it’s important to apply the knowledge we’re gaining at Beloit College to the surrounding area. It helps you see the sociological aspects of community by working with people directly impacted by it and it helped me integrate my other classes as well. I took “Health, Work and Family Policy” while I was taking the Duffy and was able to connect the readings about family and childcare policy disparities to my work with the local Head Start organization. I still work with Head Start twice a week.


Shiori Nishimura '18

Why did you choose to become a Sociology major?

I chose Sociology because I wanted to see different problems through a sociological frame. If I can learn about social problems, then I could use that knowledge to help people through difficult experiences. That is something I want to do.

What has been your favorite Sociology course? Why? What course are you looking forward to taking in your future at Beloit?

I really like Global Family Issues. I like the professor, Kate Linnenberg. Last semester I took another statistics course with Kate and she inspired me to continue taking Sociology classes. The readings are very interesting and I like discussion based classes.
I would like to take courses about gender in the future.

What do you imagine yourself doing with your Sociology major after graduating from Beloit?

I am not sure, but I am thinking of going back to Japan to use the knowledge that I gained here at Beloit College to use it effectively in Japan. I think I will get a job right away but I’m not exactly sure what it will be.

What advice would you give to future Sociology majors?

This is really difficult. I think Sociology majors see things that not everyone is able to find from other perspectives. It gives them a unique view of things and allows them to be critical and look broadly at many things.


Sophia Rogers-Davidson '19

Why did you choose to become a Sociology major?

Looking back, I think I had always thought like a sociologist in terms of considering both personal and structural factors, but no one had ever told me that that’s what Sociology is all about. Someone pointed out to me that I might like it, and that I should look into studying it, so I took “Introduction to Sociology” with Carla Davis and my mind was blown on the very first day. I declared the major two weeks later.

What has been your favorite Sociology course? Why? What course are you looking forward to taking in your future at Beloit?

I know it’s a required course, but I really enjoyed taking “Sociological Theory” with Kieran Bezila. We had a large mix of people in the class, and a wide variety of viewpoints, which made the class dynamic and interesting. We talked about micro-, meso-, and macrosociology. I had never heard a micro sociological framework for Sociology, and it opened my eyes to the ways in which Sociology is truly endless.

That class made it clear to me why Sociology cannot be explained by a single theory, because of the complicated nature of the science of how people act.
I am excited to take “The Sociology of Stratification”. I have friends who are currently in that class, and they liked the variety of things they are learning. I also want to take “Global Family Issues” with Kate Linnenberg. This class sounds interesting because I want to study health and family policies. I wanted to take that course this semester but it unfortunately didn’t work out.

What do you imagine yourself doing with your Sociology major after graduating from Beloit?

After Beloit, I would like to work in hospitals as a health administrator. I am also interested in possibly being a lawyer for undocumented immigrants. I would like to fight for access to healthcare for these families. I’m from California and also fluent in Spanish, so that is a huge issue to which I have been exposed.

I would also like to go to graduate school after Beloit, but if that doesn’t happen then I would like to be a teacher. Both of my parents are professors.

What advice would you give to future Sociology majors?

I would suggest to take as many classes as you can. I have actually already finished the Sociology major as a second year, but I think it is important to continue to expand your knowledge. Take everything you possibly can.
Being a Sociology major allows you to be the most interesting person at the dinner table. It provides you with the ability to talk about a wide variety of things. The school offers more courses than are required because they want you to expand your knowledge.


Marisol Rubio '19

Why did you choose to become a Sociology major?

It just naturally happened. I came into Beloit thinking I was going to do a physics program for engineering. Kate Linnenberg was my FYI (first year initiatives) advisor. I took my first Sociology course, and then kept taking classes and slowly realized how much I liked it.

What has been your favorite Sociology course? Why?

My favorite Sociology course is a course I’m taking right now called Education Policy with Kendra Schiffman. I like it because I am an education and Sociology double major, so it works really well. We are learning a lot about the Beloit education system. I am currently doing field work for forty hours over the semester. Fifteen hours will be spent doing board meetings and NAACP meetings. Twenty-five hours are spent actually in the school doing field work working with kindergartners.

What do you imagine yourself doing with your Sociology major after graduating from Beloit?

 I want to do human resources. Not just in schools, but working in hospitals to conduct research. I want to work with nurses to see how they treat patients in comparison with how doctors treat patients. I am learning about how patients actually get very minimal time, usually only five minutes, with doctors while they receive much more one on one attention with their nurses. Doctors are much more difficult to contact and schedule appointments with.

What advice would you give to future Sociology majors?

Take a class with Kate Linnenberg. She’s an amazing person and has been like a mother to me. She keeps me on top of my work and helps to keep me organized. She really cares and has shown me my potential even when I have been really hard on myself.


Natalie Wareham '19

Why did you choose to become a Sociology major?

The first thing that comes to my mind is that it’s important. There are issues that are greatly affecting people both in the Beloit community and the entire country. I care a lot about those issues and being invested in the communities I live in. Sociology provides me with a good way to facilitate that. We learn a lot of things about how different levels within society work and it’s helpful, especially in using that knowledge through outreach and activism.

What has been your favorite Sociology course? Why? What course are you looking forward to taking in your future at Beloit?

My favorite has been The Sociology of Race and Ethnicity with Carla Davis. I liked it because it gave me the tools to critique systems of power. It allowed me to think more critically about how race and ethnicity were shaped and how that plays out today. It’s also important to learn about the hierarchies in society and Sociology allows you to analyze your position within those hierarchies and what that means for me. I have learned about the real issues facing people in this country and that gives me the lens to think about it structurally rather than just generally knowing that there are problems in the world. It gives me the framework for understanding the problems historically, but it also gives me possible solutions and ways to work within those hierarchies. Also, my advisor Carla has been great. The way she teaches has opened my eyes to a lot of things that I couldn’t look at or recognize before. In Intro to Sociology, you go over the broad issues and get a general framework but upper level Sociology classes allow you to dig in deeper.

I can’t decide on one course, but I think I would like to take either Families in Transition, Global Family Issues, or Women, Race, and Class.

What do you imagine yourself doing with your Sociology major after graduating from Beloit?

I would like to think that I could go into activism or work for a non-profit within the local community, whether that is in Beloit or elsewhere. I have a lot of interests and I’m not exactly sure what I want to do yet. I am interested in working with children or families.

I think my double major in anthropology and Sociology gives me a unique perspective, but the two majors also blend together and the disciplines play off of each other.

What advice would you give to future Sociology majors?

The first thing that I can think of is to take the required courses sooner to get a good foundation in Sociology, but it also opens up opportunities to do things like studying abroad.
Take electives that interest you and choose from a wide range of topics to find your niche in Sociology. Intro doesn’t cover it all.  Also, take classes from a variety of professors.