Last week I had the opportunity to attend Professor McDonnell’s Senior Sociology Capstone class. I was inspired by the diverse group of eleven students who, it turns out, include only four Sociology majors. The rest of the students, I learned, are from a variety of majors (Accounting, Marketing, Finance, Management & Sports Studies) and have added Sociology as a minor or concentration. So why, I asked these students, did you choose to study Sociology and how do you think it will enhance your career or graduate school path?
The overwhelming theme of what I heard was how Sociology is happening “ everywhere all the time” and because of that fact, studying Sociology gives these students a broader way of thinking about the world as well as a relevance to the outside world that other courses did not provide. This surprised me! In this stereotypical “me-focused” generation, I was excited to learn how students enjoyed being able to choose research topics that had relevance to the “real world” about topics they really cared about.
Paige has a job lined up in the field of Human Resources. She spoke passionately about how her Sociology classes enabled her to see the business world in a different light. Casey, an Accounting major and Sports Studies concentrator, pointed out that Sociology helped him improve his relationship building skills. Stephan, an Accounting major, recalled how he was able to set himself apart in job interviews talking about his Sociology research. Lauren emphasized her critical thinking skills and the fact that Sociology has given her the chance to look at the big picture before solving a problem. As a first-year student, Mallory felt pressured to major in Business because she thought that was where “all the jobs” were. While taking Sociology courses, Mallory began to enjoy her studies more and discovered that she could apply to many different positions with her major and skill set.
Molly and Katie agree that the teaching style and engaging Sociology faculty influenced them to take extra classes in Sociology, above and beyond what they actually needed to graduate. Katie loves the open classroom discussion and she took the Capstone just so she could embrace a research topic that she really cares about. Paige described one of her Sociology classes as applying a Socratic style where students were free to express their views, not just told what is right and wrong.
Sariga feels that her career goals were shaped through her Sociology courses. As a Finance/Accounting major she never realized that she could apply her skills to the nonprofit sector. Through her service learning courses, she became fascinated with the idea of social entrepreneurship and has been able to focus her internships in that direction. Molly also attributes a faculty member for encouraging her to explore her passionate interests through a directed study.
In my opinion these students demonstrate the essence of what Bryant, and perhaps higher education as a whole, is all about – small class sizes and engaging faculty where students are able to discuss, research and explore their interests as they relate to everyday life. Studying an Arts & Sciences discipline, such as Sociology, and pairing it with a Business major or minor enables Bryant students to discover themselves, refine their interests and build the skills they need to move onto their post-graduate path. Thank you to Professor McDonnell and her Senior Capstone class for setting, yet another example, of the rich curriculum Bryant has to offer. And, to all students who are exploring the idea of studying Sociology, these Capstone Seniors have one word for you: YES!
written by Amy Weinstein, Assistant Director, Amica Center for Career Education
Amy has been assisting liberal arts and business majors with career advising for over 15 years. At Bryant, Amy is the Amica CareerCenter liaison to the College of Arts & Sciences. She assists students with all career-related topics including: choosing a major, finding an internship, applying to graduate school and more… firstname.lastname@example.org