Let's get to know Alex...
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Major/Minor: Sociology – Law, Justice, and Social Change
What inspired you to major in Sociology?
During my first sociology course, Soc 102: Urban Inequality, I knew the major was for me. Sociology analyzes inequality in our country and beyond, teaching not only the history but the implications that it has on our present world. Sociology is now the groundwork for the rest of my life as I plan to dedicate it to activism and the pursuit of social justice.
What classes have you most enjoyed?
My favorite courses have been Soc 335 Urban Inequality and Soc 495 Future of the city with Professor Sarah Zelner. These courses analyzed urban sociology to explain and contextualize why urban cities look the way they do and how they have produced such harsh inequality for various communities. I also enjoyed Soc 225, which was a great course that tied together different methods of teaching including lectures, discussion, and experiential service learning. This course stood out to me because it let me be a service learner at a school from my area in Detroit, where I was able to work with children of similar identities to mine.
What do you hope to do after graduating from Michigan?
A sociology degree gives me a lot of freedom in what potential careers or fields I could dive into after graduation. I hope after this semester, which is my last at Umich, to be working in cities contributing toward the fight to improve the lives of communities that are constantly under attack of systematic hate in this country. I am also excited to be able to explore the world and have fun in my after college life.
Have you participated in an internship or research experience?
I am currently in my second year of working as a research assistant for Kim Hess, where we are analyzing American states social studies standards. We are researching these standards in order to identify what social identities are being represented in US school systems and equally as important, how they are being represented. It has been really interesting seeing yet another form of inequality within our education system and how it shapes students perceptions of the world.
How has Sociology helped you to understand pandemics the U.S. is currently facing: COVID-19 and/or systemic racism?
The COVID-19 pandemic has exemplified what we learn in sociology, that systematic racism creates severe inequality, that leaves Black communities and communities of color susceptible to attacks by the government and now a virus. COVID does not exist within a vacuum, but builds off of the already existing systematic inequality which has disproportionately affected Black American and Latinx communities within the US.
Do you have advice for prospective Soc majors in this moment?
Don't be scared to try different classes. Look into classes that interests you but also take classes that you have never thought about taking. Sociology is a wide and interesting field that can open your eyes to a lot about society. I highly recommend Soc especially in our individualistic society because it teaches empathy toward other human beings.