Let's get to know Celia...


Hometown: Detroit, Michigan

Major/Minor: Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies Double Major 


What inspired you to major in Sociology?

Initially, when I entered Michigan I was set on becoming an immigrant right lawyer. However, after learning about the numerous opportunities and the loving staff in the Department of Sociology, I became a Sociology major! Faculty within the department were always attentive about my education and other needs, and I always felt like it was a major that empowered me to learn and grow as a person.The department had amazing courses relating to topics that addressed issues I cared about, as well professor Terence McGinn was always caring and compassionate about his students and the material he covered. On top of the broader and social issues I cared about, Sociology seemed to have classes that attended to more broader and international sectors of Sociology. Global social issues are a bit more of my interest, and so with Sociology, I always found myself being able to apply the theories and Sociological lens to regional and area studies courses in East Asia.


What classes have you most enjoyed?

SOC 346 (Soc of Body) with Professor PJ McGann
SOC 495 (Gender and Family in East Asia) with Professor Yun Zhou
SOC 458 (Soc of Education) with Professor David Schoem


How has Sociology helped you to understand the pandemics the U.S. is currently facing: COVID-19 and/or systemic racism?

Sociology enables us to observe social issues through a political, social, and economic lens. Especially in the United States where structures are at major disadvantage for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), Sociology supplies a lens where inequities are heightened and BIPOC are centered in midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Americans were at a major risk of contracting COVID-19 due to making a large percentage of the working class. Where the U.S. was not supplying rapid emergency relief funds, high COVID-19 rates within the African American were reflected in the continuity of their work ethic in trying to financially support for their families. The low rates at which the African American community was being treated revealed the lack of investment towards researching the intersections of social issues and systemic racism. Therefore, majors like Sociology contribute a more equitable and well rounded foundation to research issues related to race and socioeconomic status.


Have you participated in undergraduate research, fieldwork, or an internship experience?

For about a year, I was in the SURO program working with Chelle Jones looking at lesbian, bi/pansexual, and queer women, and transgender migrants who lived in South Korea. The experience was absolutely amazing, and as a result, I will be pursuing a research fellow at the Nam Center for Korean Studies during the 2022-2023 academic year.


What do you hope to do after graduating from the University of Michigan?

After Michigan, I would love to receive the Fullbright English Teaching Assistantship grant to go to South Korea. If not, I plan to pursue a masters degree in either East Asian Studies or Sociology to eventually pursue a Ph.D.


Do you have advice for prospective Soc majors in this moment?

Come in with an open mind. At the beginning, Sociology can be perceived as very broad but as you explore more courses you will find your passion within the area of study. Also, do not be afraid to try new things. I ended up discovering my passion for research after joining SURO.