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Sociology Opportunities for Undergraduate Leaders (SOUL)

SOUL is the first department-level leadership program for first-generation college students at the University of Michigan.  In Sociology, we recognize that first-generation college students at the University of Michigan face unusual social, academic, and financial challenges.  But we also find that such students possess a unique set of qualifications and capabilities:  curiosity, conscientiousness, persistence, risk-taking – in a word, grit.  These are the characteristics of leaders.  The Department of Sociology has created a program designed to cultivate and support our first-generation leaders in Sociology.

Members of the next SOUL cohort will receive the following opportunities:

  •  A position as a Research Assistant for the Barger Leadership Institute (BLI) and Department of Sociology ($15/hr). Conduct research on the needs of our first-generation majors—and help design solutions that respond to those needs.
  • Paid attendance at the BLI’s seven-week Leadership Lab (a hands-on, interactive workshop specially designed to help students interested in developing leadership skills) and all BLI special events. 
  • Access to BLI’s Capstone Experience - $10,000 plus alumni advice in developing and implementing a fresh idea.
  • Access to funding for summer opportunities, such as internships and summer abroad experiences.
  • A 2-credit Sociology class open only to SOUL participants designed to discuss issues of class stratification and social mobility, as well as hone professionalization skills.
  • Up to two hours a week of personalized tutoring for any required Sociology class.
  • A peer mentor (a first-generation graduate student) who can help navigate the challenges of balancing university and family life.

Who is eligible for SOUL?

To apply, you must:

1. Be a Sociology major OR declare by March 1st, 2019.

2. Be a first-generation college student (meaning that neither one of your parents has a four-year college degree)

Why should you join SOUL?

This is a unique resume-building opportunity, a potentially transformative personal experience, and a chance to participate in the formation of an innovative new program for first-generation college students at the University of Michigan. 

This is a rare opportunity and The Department of Sociology encourages you in the strongest possible terms to seize it.

How do you apply?

There is no application for the SOUL program. All first-generation Sociology majors are automatically considered for SOUL.

We are not looking for students with the highest grades or students who have joined the most student organizations.  We do not require letters of recommendation.  We are looking for students who want to be leaders in their communities, who view themselves as trailblazers, and/or who believe they have qualities that set them apart in some important way from most students at the University of Michigan. 

Students selected for the 2019-2020 cohort will be notified by March 15th, 2019. 

If you have questions, please contact:

Matthew Sullivan (Director of SOUL) -
Rebecca Russell (Undergraduation Program Coordinator) -