Hometown: Datong, Shanxi, China

Major/Minor: B.S. Honors Sociology (Sub-Plan: Law, Justice, and Social Change); B.S. Computer Science

Campus Organizations
Chinese Student and Scholar Association, Former President
Michigan China Forum, Former President

Let's get to know Zhuang...

What inspired you to major in Sociology?

My interest in sociology stems originally from my life experience. I was raised in countryside of Datong, Shanxi. I spent the latter half of my youth in Beijing, which was a tremendous culture shock. I experienced a similar transition when I moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan for my undergraduate studies. Having lived in these different places, I observed firsthand the very large gaps in people’s income, level of education, lifestyle. I noticed enormous differences between Beijing and Ann Arbor, but also at least or potentially even more differences between the outskirts of Datong and central Beijing. This motivated me to majoy in sociology to study about social change and its effects, both within and across societies.

What classes have you most enjoyed? Why?

I will have a very long list here because I have enjoyed almost all the sociology classes I have taken. If I have to pick three, I will pick SOC 295 Critical Sociology: Marxism, Neo-Marxism, and Post-Marxism, SOC 304 American Immigration, and SOC 354 Law and Society.

Have you participated in an internship or research experience?

I am working with Dr. Arland Thoronton on his project studying Native Americans. I have worked with Jeffery Swindle on his project on gender and violence in Malawi. I did an internship job at Star Times, a media group in Kenya. I worked as an executive producer in a TV series "Merry to the West".

What advice would you give to students considering a major in Sociology at UM?

Never be afraid of taking courses related to math, science, and engineering. These courses have given me a really different perspective to understand the world. They provide me with useful tools to help understand data. It is also cool to know some lines of code, isn't it?

What do you hope to do after graduating from Michigan?

I have applied for graduate school and hope I could become a Ph.D. student in sociology. I want to take more time to study social change and inequality in both China and America.

Where is the best place in Ann Arbor to get late-night study food?

I don't eat anything after 11:00 p.m., but I would suggest Domino's. My roommates order pizza and wings from them all the time, and it smells so good when I struggle with my empty stomach late at night.