Let's get to know Sydney...
Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina
Major/Minor: Sociology major, History minor
What inspired you to major in Sociology?
I stumbled upon my first Sociology course by accident, enrolling in it as a way to fulfill some of my core requirements. However, little did I know that this introductory class would end up changing the course of my academic journey. From the very first lecture, I found myself captivated by the subject matter, and my interest only grew with each passing week. Over the course of the semester, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Sociology was not just about abstract theories and hypothetical principles, but rather a way to connect the information in the world that had previously seemed unrelated to me. The Sociology curriculum had an alluring and pervasive quality that extended beyond the confines of the classroom, permeating my daily life and providing me with a new lens through which to view the world. In many ways, my passion for Sociology has become a driving force in my academic pursuits. It has taught me to think critically about the world, and to look beyond the surface level of things in order to gain a deeper understanding of the social forces that shape our lives.
What classes have you most enjoyed?
SOC 354: Law and Society with Professor Levitsky. Additionally, I have enjoyed SOC 497: Proposal Writing, which is the first class in the three course sequence for the Senior Thesis + Sociology Honors Program.
Have you participated in undergraduate research, fieldwork, or an internship experience?
As a part of the Sociology Honors Program, I am currently in the process of conducting my own research for my Senior Thesis, which will focus on the institutional barriers and challenges faced by community college students in their upward academic mobility.
In addition to my Honors Thesis, I will working as a temporary employee at the Washtenaw Prosecutors Office this summer. In this role, I will be conducting complainant interviews to investigate reported crimes of wage theft, labor trafficking and labor misclassification. Given my passion for promoting educational equity, I am eager to help complainants understand their rights, the law, and how to file a formal report with the appropriate law enforcement agency.
How has Sociology helped you to understand the pandemics the U.S. is currently facing: COVID-19 and/or systemic racism?
Through a sociological lens, we can analyze the social structures and systems that contribute to the spread and impact of COVID-19 and systemic racism. For example, in the case of COVID-19, sociology helps us understand how factors such as race, class, and gender intersect to create disparities in infection rates, access to healthcare, and economic impacts. We can also examine how government policies, media representation, and public opinion shape public responses to the pandemic. By applying sociological perspectives and methods to these issues, we can develop a more nuanced understanding of their complexities and root causes. This understanding can inform policy and action to address these pandemics and create a more equitable society.
What do you hope to do after graduating from the University of Michigan?
After graduating from Michigan, I hope to pursue a career in public policy. I envision my future career path as one that will enable me to use my skills and knowledge to uplift marginalized communities by advocating for educational policy incentives. Through this work, I aim to address issues such as access to quality education, disparities in academic achievement, and the achievement gap. I am also considering pursuing further education, such law school, to refine my analytical and strategic thinking skills.
Do you have advice for prospective Soc majors in this moment?
I wholeheartedly encourage you to take advantage of the vast array of courses offered at the University of Michigan. Take as many classes as you can! Each course presents a unique opportunity to broaden your intellectual horizons, expand your skill set, and deepen your understanding of the world around you. By immersing yourself in diverse subjects, you will not only gain new insights and perspectives but also develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills that are essential for success in today's complex and interconnected world.