Hometown: Muskegon, Michigan
Major: Sociology and History
President of First Generation College Students @ Michigan; Research Assistant at the University of Michigan Law School Program in Refugee and Asylum Law; LEAD Team of Michigan Active Citizens: Alternative Spring Break; Peer Advisor for the Center for Global and Intercultural Study; Undergraduate Research Fellow at the Nam Center for Korean Studies; Peer Facilitator for the Global Scholars Program
What inspired you to major in Sociology?
Originally coming to the University of Michigan, I was drawn to STEM research and was intending to pursue something in Cell and Molecular Biology. During the summer of my freshman year while working as a research assistant in the Department of Pathology, I decided to take a class on comparative literature, centered on the Mediterranean region. This was honestly one of those life changing moments; the subject of the class was on odysseys/travel and transformation of literature across time and space. Naturally, our class read both fiction and nonfiction surrounding the migration journey; we tackled with issues like transforming identities and the issue of homecoming. The more I studied migration, the more I studied my own life. Consequently, sociology was one of the best fields to study the issue of migration and integration.
What classes have you most enjoyed? Why?
Some of the best classes I've taken so far at the University of Michigan has been SOC 295: International Migration and SOC 504: American Immigration. Prof. Jaeeun Kim and Prof. Silvia Pedraza, respectively, are both world class professors who made the study of migration so fascinating. In SOC 295, I was able to learn many sociological theories in regards to migration as well as learn the myriad of different types of migration. It was so fascinating to bring in the issue of globalization and the issue of who deserves membership. In SOC 504, Prof. Pedraza helped deconstruct the history of American immigration and demonstrate how migration is both selective and constructed. Additionally, I was able to design my own research prospectus in the field of migration studies.
What do you hope to do after graduating from Michigan?
To be completely, honest, I'm really not sure; but I know I will be continuing my education. If I stopped going to school, I would feel so unfulfilled in life. I would love to get a Master's Degree in Migration Studies or Sociology and consider a career in the Foreign Service. Going abroad for graduate school seems like such a compelling option for me right now; I'd really like to get a new perspective and history on my field of study.
Have you participated in an internship or research experience?
I've had not had any Sociology-related research experience; however, I've worked as a research assistant for the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good as well as the University of Michigan Law School Program in Refugee and Asylum Law. As I'm writing this, I'm two hours away from boarding a plane to Bosnia and Herzegovina where I'll be interning at the Post-Conflict Research Center. Later this summer, I am expecting to intern at the Department of State's Office of International Migration. I couldn't imagine going to school without these experiences, and they help offer me a glimpse to different facets of migration. Also, everyone working at these places are just so cool!
What advice would you give to students considering a major in Sociology at UM?
Use your liberal arts education to your advantage. If you can, take classes in subjects that may have no relevance to your degree program but draw your attention. You will never know which class unlocks your passions until you take it. It might be a class in sociology, in comparative literature, in calculus, in anything. College is one of the best moments to find your calling in life; you are never stuck on a certain path. You never "have to become a doctor" or "have to take economics." This might be ironic given that I'm majoring in sociology, but you ultimately choose your path in life. Chase your passions no matter what anyone says.
Where is the best place in Ann Arbor to get late-night study food?
As much as I resent the establishment and hate to admit it, I secretly admit that I love getting Buffalo Wild Wings. Fried chicken is my weakness. I long time ago, I tried to be a vegetarian and then my dad brought home BWW and broke me after a month.