Year in Review: Sociology

Posted by Amy Sorensen
Highlighting Sociology successes in 2018-2019

The end of the academic year has finally arrived. Students are geared up for that final push to get through final projects and exams. It has been a busy year in the Sociology department.

Our students have been busy with various research projects throughout the year. Kaelee Belletto and Shayla DiTolla both successfully defended Honors’ theses this semester. Victoria Poku has been working with Dr. Sorensen on the foundational stage of a research project focusing on the opioid epidemic. She is busy completing a systematic review that will be submitted for publication. Chloe Yates and Shayla DiTolla presented their research projects at the Southern Sociological Society’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta in April. Numerous sociology students presented at this year’s Ampersand Day event. 

You may have met many of our seniors through the Student Spotlight series this year. While many of our students are embarking on exciting new adventures, we will mention a few specifically here. Megan Stitzer and Kaelee Belletto have accepted graduate school offers from Radford University and Vanderbilt University (respectively). Others, like Jada Penn and Chloe Harris, are busy with job interviews in community-based work where their expertise in Sociology will support services to families in our region and beyond. Craig Cook is planning to work as a police officer and stay in the region of central Virginia.

Sam Page is completing an Interdisciplinary degree in Theater for Social Change, combining coursework from Sociology, Theater, and Civic Innovation. Sam has also been awarded a prestigious Honeycomb Fellowship for Virginian artist-activists to study in Richmond in July.

Anne Saville (Class of 2012) has completed her PhD from the University of Florida. Her work has been largely interdisciplinary – tying together Sociology and Environmental Studies. Her dissertation uses an intersectional perspective to analyze African American women farmworkers’ experiences with environmental injustice, environmental health outcomes and the contestation of the source of their illnesses, and the social movement tactics the African American women farmworkers used to raise awareness.  This connection between environment and the social world is a promising one for E&H students.

The faculty of the Sociology Department have also been very busy. Dr. Shelley Koch celebrated the publication of her new book, “Gender and Food: A Critical Look at the Food System.” Dr.’s Koch and Sorensen are working on new ideas to keep the sociology program invigorating and challenging to meet the ever-expanding interests and needs of our students.

  • Sociology 2019

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