Let's get to know Rebecca...
Hometown: Los Altos, California
Major/Minor: Sociology and Social Work; Minor in Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences
What inspired you to major in Sociology?
I thought that the Sociology major would provide me with the necessary skills and experiences to learn how to create social change from a macroscopic perspective. I liked the freedom and flexibility with this major and think that its structure provides a good balance of both soft and tactical skills as well as a broad perspective into social issues and the relationship between individuals and social systems.
What classes have you most enjoyed?
Sociology 354 with Dr. Sandra Levitsky was one of my favorite classes I've taken at U-M! It was incredibly engaging to be in dialogue about public health, inequality issues, marriage rights, equity, pop culture, etc in relation to the legal system and how the law is an actor in all of our lives. This class inspired me in the way I learned about the legal system's capacity to catalyze social change and I encourage anyone interested in law to take it! Sociology 225 with Dr. Rebecca Christensen was also another favorite class of mine. It was a holistic combination of discussion, lecture, and experience that taught cultural humility with regard to service-learning. I loved being able to go to Washtenaw County Jail every week and this class was definitely one of my favorite memories at U-M
What do you hope to do after graduating from Michigan?
I hope to attend the Michigan School of Social Work and then return to law school after a few years working. My ultimate goal is working against human trafficking and I want to impact court reform to have trauma-informed support systems.
Have you participated in an internship or research experience?
My freshman year, I was in UROP and worked in the Gender and Psychology Lab on the project 'Identity Negotiations with Syrian Refugees Resettled in Southeast Michigan' with Ozge Savas. My sophomore year, I got to work in the Sandra Graham-Bermann Laboratory with the Kids Empowerment Program where I facilitated group sessions with children to build resilience and emotional wellness. This fall, I was in SURO and worked on Minority Representation in K-12 Education with Kim Hess. In past summers, I have been a research intern at Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking and have interned at Bay Area Anti Trafficking Coalition. I am currently working with Dr. Denise Saint Arnault with MiStory, an international laboratory team studying multicultural trauma recovery in a cultural context.
How has Sociology helped you to understand pandemics the U.S. is currently facing: COVID-19 and/or systemic racism?
Every social issue is a function of another, meaning all social issues are interconnected. It is impossible to enact social change in a vacuum and by understanding the relationships between social disparities, we are more effective in counteracting systems of oppression.
Do you have advice for prospective Soc majors in this moment?
Try any and everything that interests you and don't pigeonhole yourself! Academic creativity is very often interdisciplinary, so don't limit yourself to any preconceived plans you might have.