What you are currently doing for work and what was your path?
As a Research Associate at the Crimes Against Children Research Center (CCRC) at UNH, I work on projects about child sex trafficking and online victimization of children. I first worked at CCRC as a research assistant when I was an undergrad. This glimpse into research inspired me to apply to UNH's Sociology M.A. program. After graduating in 2016, I worked at a nonprofit in Virginia helping at-risk fathers and their families. Then, I spent a few years working at a data visualization software company helping provide technical support to clients. Both experiences helped strengthen my skills in very different ways, but my heart has always been in sociological research. When I heard there was an opportunity at CCRC, it felt right to apply and I'm so glad to be back now, doing what I love!
How did your education in your major(s) and COLA prepare you for life after college?
Classes like Soc. Stats and Research Methods show the value of understanding the basics of research and scientific methods, especially as they pertain to more abstract topics like those we study in sociology. We see and hear about statistics and research everywhere, so it's important to know how to interpret the data of our everyday lives. Plus, having programs like Qualtrics, SPSS or Stata on your resume will look attractive to many different types of organizations/businesses!
What person or course most influenced you while at UNH?
I was such a sociology nerd that I thoroughly enjoyed all of my classes! I was fortunate to get to know so many faculty members, all of whom gave me trust and encouragement to do things that I never believed I could. Some of my most valuable experiences included gaining real teaching experience as a teaching assistant for Prof. Moran's classes (especially stats!), learning the rigor required for qualitative research from Dean Dillon who was my M.A. thesis advisor and co-authoring a journal article about public perceptions of climate change with Prof. Hamilton. All of these experiences were admittedly intimidating at first, but the support of these and other faculty members pushed me through and helped me gain not just academic skills, but also confidence in my work and abilities.
What advice do you have for students interested in your field?
Don't be afraid to branch out into other fields. You may be surprised by the ways you can apply the skills you learn in sociology to all sorts of different areas, and if you don't know exactly what you want to do, there's no harm in trying different things along your career path. Also, reach out to faculty to build relationships and learn about opportunities, especially if you're struggling with a certain class or concept. You never know where the networking you do while in college will take you later!