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Meet Katie Forrest, Sociology Major

Posted by: tillilied | April 21, 2016 | No Comment |

Forrest, KatieWhy did you choose to attend the College of Charleston?

I chose the College of Charleston because of a previous interest in astrophysics. The College of Charleston is one of a select few colleges that offers a major in astrophysics rather than a minor. After visiting a couple of schools in the southeast, I decided on the College of Charleston because of its liberal arts focus, the majors it offered, and of course the beautiful weather!

What made you decide to be a sociology major?

After my first year as an astrophysics major I realized that I wanted to make more of a difference in our community instead of studying distant objects in our universe. As an astrophysics major, I felt disconnected and without a purpose. Sociology allows me to study groups of people and then, hopefully, help as many people as I can.

How does sociology fit into your life plan?

Sociology, along with my double minor in international studies and women’s and gender studies, provides me with the ultimate combination for my desired career. For the past four years I have been dedicated to survivors of sexual assault. I intend to continue to work with sexual assault survivors after college, especially internationally.

What was your favorite sociology class?

SOCY 272: Making Sense of Social Data, specifically taught by Dr. Dave Morris, was my favorite sociology class. I have always loved numbers. This class was extremely fun for me because I got to learn how to analyze data using SPSS. This class was also essential because it has helped me during my Independent Study that I am currently working on. In the future, I hope to use these skills to benefit the study of sexual assault cases. Dr. Morris made this class fun and it was well structured which was helpful during difficult statistics problems.

Who is your favorite professor and why?

My favorite professor at the College of Charleston is Dr. Von Bakanic. Dr. Bakanic has been on the board for People Against Rape, our local rape crisis center, for many years and has devoted her career to the care of sexual assault survivors. She is an exceptional mentor and has guided me through a full research project for an Independent Study course this semester. Not only is she my favorite professor, but she is a wonderful role model! I could only hope to be as intelligent and caring as her one day.

Do volunteer anywhere?

I have volunteered with People Against Rape since 2012. As a sexual assault advocate, I accompany survivors to the emergency room at the Medical University of South Carolina, provide support over the phone, and give referrals based on the needs of the survivor. My volunteer work eventually progressed to an internship, event coordinating for Take Back the Night and my current independent study with Dr. Bakanic

What are your plans for after graduation?

I plan on staying in Charleston until this coming July and then I plan to move to Asheville, North Carolina to work with a rape crisis organization. After a year of extra experience and obtaining residency in North Carolina, I will be applying for graduate school at the University of North Carolina for a MSW.

What is your most challenging event or greatest accomplishment at the College of Charleston?

The greatest challenge for me at the College of Charleston was switching from astrophysics to sociology. There was a lot of pressure to stay in my previous major from peers and my family. However, after making the switch I could safely and enthusiastically say that I have never made a better decision. The passion I have for working with sexual assault victims is enormous and making that switch has greatly increased my overall happiness and desire to pursue higher education in this field.

 If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Currently, I would love to live in Asheville, North Carolina and I am making progress to work there this coming August. I would also love to travel to India to experience the culture and perhaps do some future work in my field.

under: Student Spotlight, Uncategorized

Meet Heath Hoffmann, Sociology Professor

Posted by: tillilied | April 12, 2016 | No Comment |

How long have you been teaching at CofC?

I started teaching at the College in the fall of 2003, so I am just finishing my 13th academic year here. It’s gone by incredibly fast!

hoffmann-hWhat were you doing before coming to CofC?

I received my Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in 2002 and taught at UGA for a year as an adjunct faculty member before accepting the faculty position at the College of Charleston.

Where did you study and what inspired you to study sociology and become a professor?

I completed my Bachelors degree at Western Washington University (WWU) in Washington state and, as mentioned above, completed graduate work at the University of Georgia. I started as a psychology major at WWU—I wanted to become a school psychologist. I did not take a sociology class until the first quarter (I think; it was a long time ago) of my Junior year. I avoided the introductory sociology class because it was one of, if not the, largest class offered at WWU with 300-400 students. To this day, I still don’t know why I decided to sign-up for the class…but I did and it changed my life. I remember vividly the day I decided to change my major to sociology. The class was required to read a classic research article titled, “On Staying Sane in Insane Places.” The research involved sending research confederates to psychiatric hospitals who reported hearing the words, “thud,” “empty” and “hollow.” Each person was previously of sound psychological health but, upon reporting hearing these words, was admitted to the psychiatric hospital with a tentative diagnosis of schizophrenia (or some other pretty serious diagnosis). Once admitted to the hospital, the researchers acted “normally.” Yet, every behavior they exhibited in the hospital—taking notes, pacing out of boredom—were framed as evidence of the psychiatric illness by doctors and nurses; it was the other patients in the hospital who expressed suspicion that the research “patients” were journalists or researchers and not really “sick.” This experiment led me to question the validity of psychiatric diagnostic categories and how powerful are the social forces that affect every aspect of our lives, including who we incarcerated, define as ill and what we deem is “normal.”

Are you involved in any research at the moment? If so, what is it about?

I currently have several research projects in various stages of development. I am working with George Dickinson on a paper exploring whether veterinarians experience changes in behavior of animals nearby an animal being euthanized. If so, to what do they attribute those behavior changes?

I am also working with George and two graduate students of social work at Florida State University on a survey of hospice and palliative care programs in prisons. George and I published a paper on this topic 5 years ago so this project will follow-up with those facilities we surveyed then and expand to other prisons that have adopted end-of-life care programs since our initial study.

Finally, I am working with a star student, Shannon Wischusen, on a survey of college students and how they use social media to share images and videos relating to alcohol and other drug use. The bulk of the literature on the topic treats students’ sharing of alcohol and drug content in social media as “pathological”, something that yields negative consequences. Shannon is looking at the topic without judgment, trying to understand from the students’ perspective why they share alcohol and drug content in social media and what meaning it has for them.

What is your favorite class to teach?

I really don’t have a favorite class to teach. I have been teaching a lot of classes online and I like that format for covering topics differently than is possible in a face-to-face class. Whatever class I teach, I enjoy the process of interacting with students and making the content on crime, prisons or alcohol and other drugs relevant to their lives and contemporary society.

What was your favorite class when you were in school?

As an undergraduate, any class that my mentor, Dr. John Richardson, taught was my favorite. He specialized in the sociology of education but I also took several social theory classes that he taught. He was amazing.

Do you have any advice for current or prospective sociology students?

Don’t listen to people who say that you are not already living in the “real world.” College students deal with incredibly challenging life experiences and we do a disservice to them when we imply that they are not experiencing “real world” problems.

Also, no matter what you do in life, strive for happiness and health—life is too short.

What do you like most about teaching and/or CofC?

The best thing about teaching in a college environment is that I always surrounded by young people with their energy, hopes, dreams and life challenges. I learn a lot from students.

George Dickinson is the best thing about CofC.

What do you like to do outside of teaching? Any hobbies/interests?

Wood working–I like to build stuff. It’s a great break from the academic stuff.

What is your favorite book or are you reading anything interesting?

Academic Book: Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces.

Guilty Pleasure Book: I could not put down Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.

Where is your favorite place on earth- vacation spot, writing/reading corner, etc.?

My backyard with my wife and 4 dogs.

under: Faculty Spotlight

Meet Shannon Wischusen, Sociology Major

Posted by: tillilied | March 22, 2016 | No Comment |

Why did you choose to attend the College of Charleston?

Originally, I was running away from the New Jersey winters, but I fell in love with CofC immediately. I always tell people that coming to this school is the best decision that I have ever made in my life.

Wischusen, ShannonWhat made you decide to be a sociology major?

I found myself attracted to the Social Sciences before I really knew what Sociology was. After my Honors intro class with Dr. Burkett freshman year, I was hooked.

How does sociology fit into your life plan?

I am an aspiring professional academic. In two years I hope to enroll in a Ph. D. program for Sociology, and eventually become a college professor (in Soc of course).

What have you learned from your professors?

All of my professors and peers at the College of Charleston have reinforced that this department is exactly where I am supposed to be. My professors at CofC have provided me with an endless system of support, and my peers challenge me and motivate me every day.

What is your favorite sociology class?

I’ve had so many favorite sociology classes in the last 4 years! Right now I am participating in an academic apprenticeship for the Honors Intro to Sociology class where I get to be a TA. This class is really important to me because I love being able to lead class discussions, and at the same time I get to reflect on what kind of professor I aspire to be.

Who is your favorite professor and why?

Heath Hoffmann. I am so fortunate to have him as my mentor at the College. His passion, intelligence and kindness inspire me every day, and he is definitely the reason I want to become a professor.

Are you working on a Bachelor’s Essay? If so, what are you writing it on?

Yes! I am working on my honors Bachelors Essay in Sociology. I am studying how undergraduate college students share drug and alcohol content on social media platforms. I’m really excited about how it’s progressing!

Do volunteer anywhere? If so, what type of work is it?

Currently I volunteer for ABRAZOS, a federally funded program in North Charleston that offers English as a Second Language classes to Spanish-speaking mothers. The program also involves health and nutrition and parenting classes. I mostly volunteer in the program’s childcare center with Spanish-speaking preschoolers and toddlers.

What are you plans for after graduation?

After graduation I am moving back home and starting a new job as an Early Childhood Education Teacher in New York City for Teach for America! I will be a TFA corps member for two years while also enrolling in a Masters program for Early Childhood Education.

Do you have advice for students deciding on a major?

Place less emphasis on the end game. It’s okay if you don’t know “what you want to be when you grow up.” Find something to study that you love and you’ll find a job that you love. College is such an amazing opportunity to immerse yourself in academics; don’t spend all of your time in college worrying about what you are going to do afterwards.

What is your most challenging event or greatest accomplishment at the College of Charleston?

Next year I will be an early childhood educator for Teach for America, so I have started a new job teaching Spanish language preschool programs in Charleston. I absolutely love it, I am having so much fun and getting great experience, but it is definitely the hardest thing I have done while in college. Western Civ seems like nothing compared to a room full of four-year-olds.

What is one surprising fact about you?

I’m a power yoga addict!

under: Student Spotlight

Meet Dave Morris, Sociology Professor

Posted by: tillilied | March 17, 2016 | No Comment |

How long have you been teaching at CofC?Morris, David

This is my third year teaching at the College.

What were you doing before coming to CofC?

I was at the University of Virginia (UVA) as a graduate student before coming to the College. And before that I was a middle school teacher in Cincinnati.

Where did you study and what inspired you to study sociology and become a professor?

I did my undergraduate work at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and my graduate work at UVA. I guess two things inspired me to study sociology and become a professor. First, my parents always encouraged me to think about external forces that impacted the lives of people like amounts of wealth and education, local job opportunities, and cultural expectations (they didn’t use those exact terms when I was a kid, though). I carried this way of thinking into my first job as a middle school teacher in a poor area of Cincinnati. While teaching I saw firsthand how community, family, law enforcement, labor market, and political circumstances affect the opportunity kids have in school and their levels of success in life. It made me curious and I wanted to study these issues in more detail. I realized I could do this and still teach if I became a college professor. So here I am.

Are you involved in any research at the moment? If so, what is it about?

I am involved in a few projects at the moment. One research project looks at whether police, metal detectors, and security cameras reduce crime in school and students’ experiences of mistreatment at the hands of classmates. Another research project looks at how the Internet reduces discrepancies in political awareness and participation between affluent and underprivileged Americans.

What is your favorite class to teach?

Hmmm, that’s a tough one. I like teaching all of my classes since each course offers something really cool and rewarding. But I’m not going to take the easy way out and stop there, so I’ll choose one. I’d have to say that my favorite class to teach is social statistics because I think it provides tangible and invaluable skills and knowledge for students that they can use for the rest of the lives. Plus, I think it is an incredibly interesting subject because of what analysis of numerical information can tell us about the world we live in. It’s fun convincing students of this, too.

What was your favorite class when you were in school?

My three favorite classes when I was in school were social studies (shocking, right?), science, and art classes.

Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?

I’m surprised by how many of my students think that they need to figure out what they want to do with the rest of their lives while they’re in college, and that if they choose a certain path now that it will dictate the rest of their future and they won’t be able to change course. This just isn’t true. Follow your instincts, think about what you value, don’t be afraid, and pick a path. If it ends up not being the right path, then change what you do. There will be plenty of opportunities to do so as your life unfolds. Nobody knows what they want to do with the rest of their lives when they’re in college. And that’s okay.

What do you like most about CofC?

A lot of things, but it’s definitely the people that I like the most. Who you work with and teach matters so much, and my colleagues and students are great, down-to-earth, good people. I think there’s something in the water in Charleston.

What do you like to do outside of teaching? Any hobbies/interests?

I like to run, watch movies, and read mysteries. And go to good restaurants when my wallet allows for it. Oh, and the beach, anything to do with the beach.

What is your favorite book or are you reading anything interesting?

To Kill a Mockingbird. I also love reading a good mystery novel. I’m currently working my way through the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly.

What is your favorite food?

A perfectly cooked steak with a glass of sturdy red wine.

If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be?

My mother.

Where is your favorite place on earth- vacation spot, writing/reading corner, etc.?

Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.

under: Faculty Spotlight

Meet Sociology Alumna, Ashley Brooks

Posted by: tillilied | March 15, 2016 | No Comment |

What have you been doing since you graduated?

Since I graduated from CofC I have been living in Washington DC and attending graduate school at George Washington University. I will be graduating with my Master of Arts in Sociology in May, and I can’t wait to move back to Charleston to open a cat café called Ponce Cat Café!99 problems

How did you decide to open a cat café?

I was inspired to bring a cat café to Charleston after working at one in DC for the past 8 months. It was the best job I have EVER had, but I didn’t want to stay in DC after graduation. So I thought that I should just start my own! From there I started brainstorming with a few people in Charleston, and everyone thought it would be a huge hit. And now here we are! Not to mention I’ve ALWAYS been a huge fan of cats.

What will the menu be like?

As of now our menu will consist of local coffee and tea, beer from a local brewery (the deal isn’t finalized yet so I can’t say who…but they are making us a house brew called Hoppy Cat!), and various types of wine. We will also have baked goods that will be delivered fresh every morning from a local bakery…so think croissants, muffins, cookies, cakes, and other yummy treats.

Where will Pounce Cat Café be located?

We haven’t found a space just yet, but we will likely be in the Elliotborough/Cannonborough neighborhood. We are super interested in a few places around Spring and Bogard Streets.

When is the grand opening planned for?

The grand opening is planned for Monday, August 8- which also just so happens to be World Cat Day!

Can the cats be adopted?

Yes! We just recently confirmed our partnership with Charleston Animal Society! We are so excited to be working with them, and they will be providing us with 15-20 cats AND kittens at any given time.

What has been the most challenging part of this experience?

So far the most challenging part has definitely been getting people on board with the concept. Many people either don’t know what a cat café is or they think the concept is completely gross. So it takes a while for people to come around to the idea of paying money to drink coffee next to adorable and adoptable cats.

What has been the most rewarding part of this experience?

The most rewarding part so far has just been knowing that I am going to be starting a business that not only helps animals in need but also benefits the community as a whole. Cat cafés help shelter cats get out of cages and into their furrever homes, but they also act as great places for people who can’t have pets in their apartment buildings, dorms, etc. to get some fuzzy therapy. :)

Can the community help in any way?

We just recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the initial stages of opening the cafe, and we only have two weeks to go! If we don’t raise enough money to reach our goal by the end of the month, we lose all $7,000+ we have raised so far. We can’t do it without the help of everyone in the Charleston community, so if you’d like to see a cat café come to Charleston (or if you’d like to support a female entrepreneur and recent CofC grad!), please consider donating to our Kickstarter campaign! Every dollar helps make this dream a reality. Thank you!!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1447884799/pounce-cat-cafe-wine-bar-the-souths-first-cat-cafe

intro photo

under: Alumni Spotlight

Meet Dr. John Rashford, Anthropology Professor

Posted by: tillilied | February 9, 2016 | No Comment |

Rashford_BoababHow long have you been teaching at CofC?

I have been teaching at the College of Charleston since 1982.

What were you doing before coming to CofC?

Before that I was a graduate student at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and I taught at Queens College, Lehman College and Rutgers University.

What inspired you to study anthropology and become a professor?

As an undergraduate I traveled a lot and this made me curious to learn more about the world. When I started my graduate studies there was intense interest in the nature of rural agricultural populations and this led me in the direction of wanting to learn more about people and plants from an anthropological perspective.

Are you involved in any research at the moment? If so, what is it about?

I have been studying the history and cultural significance of the African baobab in the Americas and currently I am documenting the location and history of the oldest trees in the region which occur in Brazil and the Caribbean.Baobab

What is your favorite class to teach?

My favorite classes to teach are the origins of agriculture which I regard as one of the most important topics for understanding the making of our present world system and a class on the anthropology of time which has been especially interesting to me in terms of the impact of seasonality on human adaptation.

What was your favorite class when you were in school?

My favorite class when I was an undergraduate was the history of anthropological theory, especially in terms of the materialist traditions that have been concerned with human adaptations from a variety of perspectives.

Do you have any advice for current or prospective anthropology students?

The College of Charleston’s Center for International Education is excellent and I encourage students, especially anthropology majors, to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities to study abroad in an area of the world in which they are especially interested and where they have a chance to learn a language in which they are particularly interested.

What do you like most about CofC?

I can say without hesitation that the College of Charleston is a wonderful institution and I feel privileged to be a part of it.

What do you like to do outside of teaching? Any hobbies/interests?

I have always enjoyed playing music and playing drums for the College of Charleston’s African Dance Class has been an especially enjoyable experience.

What is your favorite book or are you reading anything interesting?

My favorite anthropology book is Eric Wolf’s Europe and the People Without History which presents an anthropological perspective on the making of our present world system.

SaltfishWhat is your favorite food?Ackee

My favorite food – the national dish of Jamaicans – is ‘ackee and saltfish’. The ackee is a native fruit tree of West Africa that is generally considered deadly poisonous by most people of the Caribbean but is a favorite of Jamaicans.

If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be?

My choice for a dinner partner would be Thelonious Monk, one of my favorite composers and pianists.

Where is your favorite place on earth- vacation spot, writing/reading corner, etc.?

My favorite place on earth is wherever I happen to be whenever I am asked this question!

under: Faculty Spotlight

Meet Mallory McGoff, Anthropology Major

Posted by: tillilied | February 4, 2016 | No Comment |

Why did you choose to attend the College of Charleston?

I’ve been asked this question so many times over the past four years, but I have yet to come up with an answer that adequately qualifies my love for this place. I visited so many colleges and felt entirely underwhelmed until I visited the College of Charleston, to which, I might add, I had no intention of applying. It was different here—the people, the atmosphere—in a way I still can’t explain. I started my application the moment I got home.

What made you decide to be an anthropology major?

When I came to the College, I had long been broadly interested in people and culture, but never considered how these interests might be synthesized within a single academic pursuit. I took Dr. Burkett’s Intro to Sociology class as an elective my first semester and quickly knew I would be part of the department. I declared a major in anthropology before the end of the year!

McGoff, MalloryHow does anthropology fit into your life plan?

Anthropology is a path to developing a relevant and informed worldview and cultivating intercultural understanding: two concepts that are increasingly critical to our globalized lives. In this way, it is a fantastic background for a multitude of modern fields. Anthropology caters to my curiosity in diverse areas, which include language, world cultures, education, advocacy, international affairs, the arts, human performance, and the list goes on.

What have you learned from your professors and/or other students?

I learn that anthropology and sociology are more than academic endeavors; they are important approaches to innovation, policy, social reform, and global and personal relationships, and a way to advance tangible solutions for complex problems. Every anthropology or sociology major I meet has a distinct set of interests, goals, career plans, etc. This speaks not only to the diversity of the field itself but also to its pertinence across disciplines, its adaptability and absolute necessity. But all these people study people with intent; we study ourselves (humans) to of course understand and preserve ourselves, but also to make positive changes to the traditions, ideas, and institutions that we create and propagate. We study anthropology and sociology with purpose.

What is your favorite anthropology class?

Anthropological Thought, which surprised me, as I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the required class. I got the chance to pick the brains of the most influential anthropologists in our history, delve into the key tenants of the discipline, laugh at some of the more “antiquated” ethnographies, and a get a little metaphysical, which is always fun.

Who is your favorite professor and why?

I have enjoyed working with so many of our department’s wonderful faculty! But my favorite professor would have to be Dr. Qirko. Not only is he an excellent professor, but also an invested advisor. He consistently goes out of his way to support and encourage students in the department so likewise his guidance has been key to my success in my internship, bachelor’s essay, and beyond.

Are you working on a Bachelor’s Essay? If so, what are you writing it on?

I have the opportunity to take part in a major interdisciplinary research endeavor alongside faculty in the anthropology and education departments through the WINGS project. This study, ongoing for more than five years now, aims to evaluate the efficacy of the WINGS for Kids child development program in downtown Charleston. My small slice of the pie consists of collecting and analyzing interviews and other data pertaining to Spanish-speaking families involved in the study. I hope to gain an understanding of their experiences both in the school system and in the home.

What are you plans for after graduation?

I plan to continue my education in culture, language, and pedagogy by teaching in a Spanish-speaking country. I am working on applications for a variety of programs, including the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Program, the Spanish Ministry of Education’s Auxiliar Initiative, and Peace Corps. I look forward to things to come!

Do you have advice for students deciding on a major?

It is common to receive questions or criticism on your choice(s) in majors, especially if that choice doesn’t seem immediately lucrative or immediately applicable to a specific and highly visible career path. But the critics have little imagination. Anthropology has taught me that the paths are infinite and we make them up along the way. So pursue you interests—all of them! It’s an opportunity for innovation.

What is your most challenging event or greatest accomplishment at the College of Charleston?

One of the absolute best things I’ve done during my time at the College was study abroad. Through one of the College’s many programs, I spent a summer semester in a small town in Spain. There I cohabited with a Spanish family, studied in a converted 15th century monastery, and traveled the Iberian Peninsula. My experience not only greatly increased my confidence in the language and interest in the culture, but also inspired me to declare a major in Spanish, apply to the Global Scholars program, and serve as a peer teacher to other Spanish students at the College.

under: Student Spotlight

Meet Sociology Professor, Dr. George Dickinson

Posted by: tillilied | January 18, 2016 | No Comment |

How long have you been teaching at CofC?

I have been at the College for 30 years.

What were you doing before coming to CofC?

I taught at a liberal arts college in Pennsylvania for two years, then went back to graduate school to earn my Ph.D. degree. After graduate school, I taught at another liberal arts college in Minnesota for nine years, then at a university in Kentucky for seven years.George Dickinson2

Where did you study and what inspired you to study Sociology and become a professor?

Received the B.A. degree in Biology and M.A. from Baylor University. My Ph. D. degree from Louisiana State University was in Sociology with a minor in Anthropology. I was a pre-med student in undergraduate school but soon discovered that I have issues with blood! Not good, if one wishes to be a medical doctor! I had minored in Sociology, as I thought it sounded like an interesting topic back in high school in Texas, though I knew little about it. At the end of my college career, the Chair of Sociology encountered me one day on campus and literally offered me an assistantship if I would come over to Sociology and obtain an M.A. degree in Sociology. With no real options as to what I thought I would do, as a run at medical school was no longer an option (with the “blood problem”), I went for it. Never looked back!!!! I love what I do, though when I was younger I never thought about being a teacher.

Are you involved in any research at the moment? If so, what is it about?

My current research involves veterinarians and their clients, having to do with end-of-life issues, especially euthanasia. Just completed my 9th survey, at five-year intervals going back to 1975, of the 130 US medical schools to ascertain their offerings on end-of-life issues. I am working on the 15th edition of my anthology on dying, death and bereavement, published by McGraw-Hill.

What is your favorite class to teach?

I really enjoy all the classes I teach, though I routinely teach Death and Dying, Medical Sociology, and Development of Social Thought. I especially enjoy teaching Death and Dying in the Honors College.

What was your favorite class when you were in school?

Probably because of the professor, but I particularly enjoyed theory classes from my professor in graduate school. He was blinded in WWII when he stepped on a landmine. He was a real inspiration to me and was absolutely brilliant.

Do you have any advice for current or prospective Sociology students?

Do your best with any task you undertake. Go with your intuition and major in the field you like best, then take courses related to that major. College is a real life-changing experience, so take advantage of it. Don’t let your social life overtake the academic experience, yet life is short, so enjoy!

What do you like most about CofC?

CofC is the only college/university where I have taught that I did not after a few years seek another position somewhere. Social psychologist W.I. Thomas discussed four wishes in life, one of which was a “new experience.” I guess a “new experience” is what I sought in life, thus changed jobs perhaps more than most. I was happy with each of my teaching experiences, yet, after a while, wanted something “different.” CofC is in an ideal setting, being in Charleston–a beautiful campus/city and students who seem happy to be here. Thus, no “new experience” sought, after coming here. I really like my colleagues and find it a real honor to have the opportunity to work with them.

What do you like to do outside of teaching?

I like to travel, especially to Europe, having been there over 20 times. It is such a fun experience to be in another culture to see how individuals live, somewhat different from us, yet with a lot of similarities. My last three sabbaticals have been to England. I also taught in CofC’s program in Trujillo, Spain.

What is your favorite food?

Sweets!!

If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be?

It would not be one person but three: The Dali Lama, Father Divine, and George Herbert Mead.

under: Faculty Spotlight, Uncategorized

Alumni Spotlight: Clay Scott (SOCY ’15)

Posted by: tillilied | January 12, 2016 | No Comment |

What have you been doing since you graduated?
Since graduation in May 2015, I have been in the process of launching my own nonprofit organization, Anchor 180°. Anchor 180° is a nonprofit organization built around helping those who battle mental illness.  Our goal is to be a direct link to finding help by raising awareness, breaking the stigma, and providing resources and outreach.  So much in today’s generation is readily available online somewhere and easily accessible.  However, mental illness is stigmatized and we are told not to discuss it publicly.  Anchor 180° is breaking that normality and choosing to redefine what society perceives as ‘normal’ about mental health. Feel free to check out our website: www.anchor180.com for more information on what we do.

Scott, ClayWhat is your current position?
I am the owner/founder of Anchor 180°.

What advice would you offer to new students at the College of Charleston who are thinking of declaring a major in Sociology?
Sociology is a great gateway into the real world. Sociology teaches you necessary topics and ideas that will be applicable to any job you will have throughout your life. This major does not “slot” you for one career track, but rather is broad enough to provide knowledge to endless opportunities.

What advice would you offer to students graduating from the College of Charleston with a degree in Sociology?
I would advise any graduating student to the same quote that got me to where I am today, only seven months after my own graduation: “Find what you love and let it kill you”. When you find a career path that jives with your passions, you will always feel the motivation and love for working. Too many young people in our generation, and younger, feel this sense of entitlement. However, the reality is that life doesn’t owe us anything. Get out there, find what you have a passion for (what you really care about and believe will make a difference in our world, and the go full force after it. If something slows you down, understand that it doesn’t mean that is the end of the road — It just means that you have to travel a road that is unpaved for a while.

What was your most memorable learning experience in Sociology?
Senior Seminar – This was a very interesting process for me as we learned about qualitative methods of research and autoethnography. I enjoyed meeting with each person for my interviews and really enjoyed the project as a whole as well.

What unexpected benefits have you derived from a degree in Sociology?
The biggest unexpected benefit from my degree actually has nothing to do with the education I obtained at the College of Charleston, but rather the networking. During my time at CofC, I was so consumed with the “schooling” side of the education that I was completely unaware of what was being constructed behind the scenes. I had no idea that each professor and classmate would later be where my networking began and that networking has led me further than I could have ever imagined.

What class did you most enjoy while earning your degree at the College of Charleston?
I really enjoyed Child Welfare and Abnormal Psychology (my minor was Psychology). I felt that those were the two classes that hit home for me and drove me toward finding what I wanted to do with my life.

What class was the most applicable to your everyday life now that you’ve graduated? 
There were several classes that I still use daily for Anchor 180°. Some of these are Cognitive Psychology, Child Welfare, and Abnormal Psychology, Sociology of the Family, Sociology of Peace, and Senior Seminar. I use the Psychology courses to understand people on an individual level. I use Child Welfare to understand the legal system in our society about children (minors – under age 18). I use Sociology of the Family to watch for trends among families and the way in which some mental illnesses impact each generation of a family. I use my experience with Senior Seminar to mold and construct each step of what I do with my company now. I mostly use this course experience to conduct my interviews for various roles regarding Anchor 180°.

What made you choose the College of Charleston over other schools?
I had always enjoyed the location and the city. I have family in Charleston, as well. I was accepted to every college/university that I had applied to but chose to come here because it was smaller and provided more of the opportunities that I desired for my life after college. If I could go back in time and do it all again, I would not change a single thing about being a Cougar!

under: Uncategorized

Why did you choose to attend the College of Charleston? 

The Sociology department has a lot of brilliant and dedicated professors, who often make themselves available to discuss topics further in detail, and that’s what I look for in a professor and have found time and time again at CofC.

What made you decide to be a sociology major?

It was when I first took a Cultural Anthropology course that I realized I wanted to address problems at the societal level, as opposed to the problems of an individual.

How does sociology fit into your life plan?

I’m attending graduate school after CofC and plan on pursuing a doctorate in Sociology. I know I’d like to end up teaching down the road, but I’d be happiest just doing research, and writing and speaking about my findings in the meantime.

What have you learned from your professors and/or other students?Platte, Al

The most important things I’ve learned while at the College are to always keep an open mind, question everything you know, question everything you’re being taught, and try to be fair when you’re debating something.

What was/is your favorite sociology class?

So far, my favorite course has been Dr. David Morris’ class on Social Inequality. It covers theories, explanations, and effects of inequality in contemporary American society. So if you like that sort of stuff, you should check it out.

Who is your favorite professor and why?

Dr. Donald Nielsen is my favorite for sure. He’s a super smart and funny guy, he’s always interested in the material he’s presenting, and he always offers new and interesting ways of looking at things.

Are you working on a Bachelor’s Essay? If so, what are you writing it on? 

I’m looking at the social conditions impacting cooperative and competitive behavior in human civilizations.

What are you plans for after graduation?

I’m thinking of moving back home to California for grad school, they have a lot of great Sociology programs out there… But a part of me just wants to wander around South America too.

Do you have advice for students deciding on a major?

Only the best advice ever- do what you love. If you’re not excited about what you’re studying, change it. I was a business major before I switched to psychology, then to sociology, and I love my major now and everything else I’ve learned along the way.

What is one surprising fact about you?

I’m in a Sociology club on campus that aims to improve the conditions of the Charleston community. Check out the College of Charleston Sociology Network on Facebook for more information.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

The Galápagos Islands.

under: Student Spotlight

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