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Graduate Student Research in Sociology

Katelyn Savage

Katelyn Savage, Sociology graduate student

Faculty Apprentice Opportunities

The Sociology faculty are active scholars, and students have the opportunity to apprentice with faculty in several ways.

Students on assistantships are assigned to help faculty with their research for 6 to 20 hours per week. Faculty often have ongoing research projects (both funded and unfunded) that students work on and use for their thesis data. Recently students have worked on such projects as:

  • College Underage Drinking Project
  • Rural Prostitution
  • Prison Culture
  • Violence Against Women
  • Rural Welfare Reform Project

There have been several journals housed in the department (Rural Sociology, Sociological Focus, Criminal Justice, American Review of China Studies) providing opportunities for students to learn about publishing. Another way in which students apprentice with faculty is through original M.A. thesis research.

Recent Graduate Student Research & Scholarly Accomplishments

  • Holly Ningard and Lauren Wright (Sociology graduate students) worked on the Serial Violence research project with Tom Vander Ven which resulted with presenting papers at the annual meetings of the North Central Sociological Association: Holly Ningard, "Going Viral: The mythology of victim worthiness in Steubenville, Ohio"
  • Lauren Wright, working with Tom Vander Ven, "American Serial Rape in Historical Context." She also presented her paper at the annual meetings of the American Society for Criminology.
  • Holly Ningard presented a paper that resulted from work on a research project with Kelly Faust at the annual meetings of the American Society for Criminology, "Tumblr: Incorporating Social Media as a Learning and Professional Development Tool."
  • Staci Vaughan has been and continues to work with Cindy Anderson on her ongoing research of rural low wage women workers and presented at the annual meetings of the Southern Sociological Society, "Low-Wage Service Work: How Education Status Affects Economic Well-Being in Rural Communities."
  • Sociology graduate student Kenneth Cornwell, supported by the department's Wagner Fund, worked with Larry Burmeister on a research project exploring the South Korean business and government profile in accessing foreign agriculture land through purchase or lease agreements.

Noteworthy Student Achievements

  • Heather Dumas, Sociology M.A. Thesis: "Playing Pirates: Construction of Shared Fantasy and Identity Performance in the Renaissance Festival Subculture." Director: Christine Mattley
  • Julie Amber Carvey Cohara, Sociology M.A. Thesis: "Material Hardships among Bankrupt Seniors: Data from the 2007 Consumer Bankruptcy Project" Director: Deborah Thorne
  • Breanna Stewart, Sociology M.A. Thesis: "The Social Construction of the Prescription Drug Use Problem Among America's Youth." Director: Thomas Vander Ven
  • Breanna Stewart: College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award 2013
  • Heather Dumas: Department of Sociology and Anthropology Excellence in Research Award