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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!!


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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?


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

Meet Dr. Moore Quinn, Anthropology Professor

Posted by: tillilied | December 4, 2015 | No Comment |

How long have you been teaching at CofC?

Since August of 2001.

What were you doing before coming to CofC?

I was an Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Director of Special Projects at Cultural Survival, Inc., which is also located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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

A lifelong love of language inspired me to study Literature, then Folklore, then Anthropology. It took a while to “find my true love,” but once I did, I never looked back. My advanced degrees are in Celtic Languages and Literature (Harvard University) and Anthropology (Brandeis University).

IMG_0968What is your favorite class to teach?

They’re all my favorite!

What was your favorite class when you were in school?

Any classes taught by inspiring teachers were my favorites. I found that professors of Language, Literature, Folklore (especially Irish and Celtic Folklore) and History drew me in, like a moth to a flame.

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

Be willing to open your eyes, ears, and most of all, minds, to other peoples and cultures.

What do you like most about teaching?

My students inspire me every day.

What are you looking forward to this year at CofC?

Having just returned from a year’s sabbatical, I am enjoying settling in to my pedagogical routine again. I enjoy getting to know my new students and having them get to know me.

What do you like to do outside of teaching?

I love to write and research, and that’s how I spend a good deal of my spare time.

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

At present, I am reading about the life and times of the playwright Eugene O’Neill, who wrote “Long Day’s Journey into Night” and many other prize-winning plays.

What is your favorite food?

My tastes are eclectic. I love healthy, well-prepared food. I gravitate towards the cuisines of India and the Mediterranean.

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

It would be an honor to dine with the Dalai Lama. I shook his hand once when he came to Brandeis University; I admire his ideas about compassion.

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

I’m at home anywhere on the island of Ireland.

under: Faculty Spotlight

Meet Mary Stamato, Anthropology Major

Posted by: tillilied | December 1, 2015 | No Comment |

Why did you choose to attend the College of Charleston?

On a family trip to Charleston I stumbled upon the College of Charleston campus. All it took was one look and I knew this was it. It also doesn’t hurt to mention that I am also a native Marylander who was fleeing the cold!

What made you decide to be an anthropology major?

If you don’t believe in love at first sight I’ll bet you never took an anthropology class. I enrolled in an introductory class for anthropology my freshmen year and fell completely in love with everything about it. I was already a declared English major interested in education, so falling in love with another major was not something I anticipated or took lightly. I finally gave in and declared a second major in anthropology because it gave me the opportunity to understand different cultures, peoples, and myself. I thought developing a new world view might be just what I need to introduce positive change to current education systems.

How does anthropology fit into your life plan?Stamato, Mary_credit Dr. Devet

Anthropology made connections between all of my interests; it filled in the gaps. I knew I wanted to go on to work in the education field, but I wasn’t sure how. Anthropology has provided me with the skill set I need to conduct research that will explore current education systems and policies that address the issue of gaps in American education.

What have you learned from your professors?

A lot of wisdom resides in the anthropology/sociology department. I think one of the greatest things I have learned from my professors these past three years is that anthropology is ubiquitous. It isn’t something you practice strictly in the classroom or in a specific situation – it’s everywhere. That may seem like a very cheesy or obvious lesson to be learned, but it is something I think as students we often forget. Our work is important, our work is everywhere, and when you remember that it’s exhilarating.

What was/is your favorite anthropology class?

Previously, my favorite anthropology course was “Applied Anthropology” with Dr. Qirko. It was a great course that challenged students to look for problems within Charleston and how we could use our anthropological backgrounds to work towards solutions. “Popular Culture” with Dr. Roof however, has quickly moved into the number one slot.

Who is your favorite professor and why?

Well, my apologies to all the broken hearts that may ensue, but Dr. Qirko is my absolute favorite professor! Dr. Qirko, perhaps against his will, was/is my self-declared spirit guide through the anthropology department. He is always willing to answer my questions about the major and how I can become more involved in the department. His classes are always fun and interesting from the subjects we discuss to the many ‘sophisticated’ voices he employs to bring even the dullest materials to life.

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

I am! I am working with Dr. Christine Finnan of the anthropology department on a Bachelor’s Essay that tracks public policy through rural public school systems. I am looking specifically at the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 in terms of variation of implementation techniques and methods across different rural schools. My Bachelor’s Essay is over the course of the year rather than semester, so there is still much to be done, but I am really excited to keep moving forward. Stay tuned for a riveting essay from yours truly this spring!

What are you plans for after graduation?

The question that has truly haunted my senior year! As of now, I am in the process of applying to law school in hopes of studying public policy and administration, and I think I’ll leave it at that!

Do you have advice for students deciding on a major?

Keep an open mind! Anthropology was not on my radar upon entering college. I was dead set on studying English in hopes of one day becoming a professor. I would have never found a major that completely reshaped my approach towards education if I did not allow myself to explore outside of the major or the plan I thought was set in stone for me. Take classes that interest you and never be afraid of deviating from the path you forged for yourself before – you are wiser and more experienced than when you first constructed that initial path.

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

I think that my current Bachelor’s Essay is my most challenging event. It requires a lot of self-discipline and dedication, and I had to scout out a lot of professors to find the perfect fit. More than that, it also is my first attempt at working on something that exemplifies the kind of work I hope to do in the future – it’s a terrifyingly beautiful experience to get the opportunity to do something like this in undergrad.

What is one surprising fact about you?

Like the Charles Darwin, I too have taken a ride on the back of a great tortoise (although, I was in a zoo not the Galapagos).

*Photo taken by Dr. Devet

under: Student Spotlight, Uncategorized

I decided to be a part of the Center for Civic Engagement’s Alternative Break because I felt a need to be more involved with the College and the greater community. Also, it just seemed fun to go somewhere I have never been before and do something productive over my fall break. This specific trip to Beaufort, SC intrigued me because we would be learning about the migrant farm workers, which honestly I did not know that much about. Our trip was not only about the migrant workers but also their children who are greatly affected by the work their parents do. For me, working with children is such a rewarding experience so that aspect of the trip really sold me, and I knew I had to become involved.Padilla, Ashley

Upon arriving in Beaufort we went bowling with some of the children. It was so fun because these kids do not always get the chance to just be kids, and it was great to see them all enjoying themselves so much. The next day we visited one of the camps (that is what the housing areas for the migrant workers are called) where many of the children live and we spent the day and evening hanging out and playing. We were also able to sit down with someone from the South Carolina Department of Education who works to create change for the children of migrant workers that are in the U.S. education system. These children are often unable to finish high school as they are continuously moving. The rest of our trip entailed going on tours of the different camps and learning firsthand about the many difficult issues migrants and their families endure while living there. But we also learned that it was not all bad. The workers often develop a deep sense of community by living and working together on the farms. And there are people in the community who work hard to provide services for them.

My favorite part of the trip, though, was on our last evening when we sat down with Angel, Violeta and their two daughters. Over dinner they shared their stories about coming to the U.S. for work but also about their hopes for the future. Violeta’s story really exemplified how resilient people who immigrate to this country are when they do not even know the language or anyone living here. Violeta came to the U.S. from Guatemala at a young age with no knowledge of either English or Spanish, having only spoken an indigenous Mayan language in her town. It is so remarkable to hear that someone who could not even communicate with those she worked with was capable of eventually learning two languages while working so hard to provide for her children. Even though she had to single-handedly support her four children on the little amount of money she made, she regarded living in the U.S. as a great freedom because she could do this for her children and for herself. Violeta has so many dreams for the future to help other women who are in need and she knows that her situation, although not horrible, will not last forever and her desire to help is so inspirational.

AB Fall Trip_2015The trip was all around a wonderful experience but some aspects were challenging because it can seem like our time there was in vain. My biggest challenge was the language barrier because I wish I were more capable of speaking Spanish with those so willing to speak with us. Their stories were so eye-opening, and I aspire to have the language to communicate my gratitude to them. There is also the added challenge of leaving Beaufort with so much information and feeling a sense of helplessness, which can be really overwhelming. To help with this I find myself just re-telling all the information I learned and the stories I heard. To me, it is a cathartic experience, and it is indirectly beneficial to the migrant workers in its own way.

As a Sociology major I believe we have an obligation to look at society with a fine eye but also to go beyond the society we are faced with every day. That is why the Alternative Break program can be so valuable to majors because it forces you to look outside the bubble that college often creates. The trips focus on a community in need and work to be as helpful as possible and to do little harm to those we are working with. Sociology entails looking at society and the systems that shape the way it works and participating in Alternative Break allows us to go beyond the theoretical of a classroom and requires us to put into practice what we have learned.

If you are interested in participating in an Alternative Break trip, check out the Center for Civic Engagement. Applications for the MLK Jr. Weekend trip, spring break and Maymester are due Monday, November 16th.

under: Student Spotlight

Meet Dr. Dee Dee Joyce, Anthropology Professor

Posted by: tillilied | November 9, 2015 | No Comment |

How long have you been teaching at CofC?Joyce_2

I have been teaching here for 27 years!

What were you doing before coming to CofC?

I taught for three years at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina.

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

I received my B.A. in History from Catawba College. I then went on to get my M.A. in Anthropology from University of Arkansas and my PhD from SUNY-Binghamton.  I was inspired by my first introductory course in Anthropology and my first field school. I didn’t plan to become a professor—I thought I would be a field archaeologist and have my own archaeological contract firm. My first teaching job thirty years ago was meant to be a one year contract to fill in for a professor who was ill. But from that first experience I knew teaching was the right fit and have been doing it ever since!

Are you involved in any research at the moment?

Yes, I am interested in the how people maintain social space along race, class and ethnic lines when that social space is confined or limited. My approach is to investigate how social space was shared and/or divided in Charleston’s 19th century boarding house.

What is your favorite class to teach?

I love teaching Introduction to Anthropology.

What was your favorite class when you were in school?

Intro to Anthropology- because I got a taste of everything anthropology had to offer.

Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?

I would say that is it important to not only perform well in your classes but also take advantage of all the extras like internships, study abroad, clubs, etc.

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

The students! They are bright, inquisitive, well-mannered and a joy to be around.

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

I love outdoor activities– cycling, snorkeling, tennis, walking the streets of our beautiful historic city.

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

I usually have several books going at once–most are anthropology-related but if I want to relax and put my brain on the shelf I read murder mysteries.

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

Barack Obama

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

Anyplace with white sand, tropical waters and a barrier reef.

under: Faculty Spotlight

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