Why did you choose sociology as your major?
I took psychology and sociology to fulfill requirements at UWGB during my freshman year. The sociology class really stood out to me. It made me think in a different way and made me want to pursue a profession that emphasized social/environmental justice and achieve equity because I thought it was extremely unfair that some individuals/groups are systematically advantaged or disadvantaged. At the time, I was transferring to UWO for kinesiology in the hopes of being a physical therapist. After being in the program for a while, I knew being a PT was not in the direction that I wanted to go because although I would be helping people, it was not in the magnitude that I wanted (I wanted to create social change and create fair, accessible opportunities for all). I started looking at post-graduate programs including medical school, law school, and public health and found that all of them strongly encouraged applicants with social science backgrounds to apply. After that, I shortly made the change to sociology given the recommendation from the schools, and that it seemed like the best avenue to create large-scale change.
What are some of the key things you have gotten out of your major?
The influence of society and the historical social, cultural, political, and economic conditions are enormous on individual/group behaviors and outcomes, but these conditions are often shaped to benefit and reflect the values and power of the dominant group. Social identities (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status) shape the power, resources, and privilege a certain individual or group can access and this is often the cause of patternable, inequitable outcomes. Although sociology may seem like an abstract concept, its discipline is used in many real-world, applied scenarios including public health/medicine, environmental studies, government, law, and research among many others.
What did you do following your graduation from UWO?
Following graduation, I worked with Dr. Bohr to get our manuscript published (the one I worked on during my senior year) and started graduate school at UW-Milwaukee for public health. Once the pandemic began, I first worked as a contact tracer and later a data analysis assistant for the Greenfield Health Department. I now work for the Ho-Chunk Nation as their epidemiologist.
What are some of your other interests?
Academically, I really enjoy learning about the influence of space and place on groups. I always try to incorporate a place-based analysis into my work, and I have considered going back to school for a PhD in geography. During my free time, I enjoy being outdoors and being with my pets. I would love to have horses and a farm in a couple of years.
What are you up to now?
I am finishing up my last semester at UW-Milwaukee and I am working on my capstone project which investigates the influence of SES and other social identities on COVID risk perceptions. In a few months, I will be moving out to Black River Falls and I am currently planning our wedding for this October