Adrienne Ramm-Granberg

What do you do professionally?

Adrienne coordinates over 250 interns and volunteers annually in the King County area who work with refugees who have fled persecution in their home countries, such as Somalia, Burma, Iraq and Afghanistan. The IRC provides support to thousands of refugees resettling in 22 U.S. cities each year through housing assistance, case management and referral services, job readiness and placement, English language training, community and cultural orientation, health and wellness programs, immigration services and other community involvement activities. Adrienne is responsible for integrating volunteers into each of these program areas. She also helps connect IRC’s volunteer programs with broader outreach, education and development efforts.

How did your Sociology degree help prepare you for your work?

“I think Sociology helped me develop a critical lens on my community, and also expose me to different communities.  I was introduced to the nongovernmental organization concept in general, and was inspired to explore career paths working with people who might not necessarily have the same privileges as me. More practically, my Sociology classes helped me tremendously with public speaking, and improving my presentation and writing skills. I can’t emphasize enough how helpful that has been to me in my day to day activities.”

Did you have a favorite class in the Sociology Department?

“That is a tough one, but I would have to say Liz Mogford’s Global Health course and the Global Health capstone I also took with Liz were transformative for me. Those classes really brought home the concepts I had learned in other Sociology classes, and outlined for me the real world effects of many of the theories I had been exposed to.”

If you could go back to Sociology at WWU all over again, would you do anything differently?

“I would have invested even more time in social science classes, rather than pursuing a minor I perceived as more ‘practical’ at the time. Otherwise I don’t think I would have changed anything.  Between my classes and research experiences, I was really satisfied with my time in the department and wouldn’t change anything.”

What career advice would you offer for current Sociology majors?

“I would encourage students to volunteer, do internships, and gain exposure to different types of work. Really try to test the waters to find out what you are good at, and also what areas you may need to improve in. I did AmeriCorps for one year after I graduated – also with the IRC – which was a great stepping stone into my career now and changed my outlook on attending graduate school immediately after undergrad. I would also tell students to take advantage of the great resources Sociology faculty offer. I was mentored a lot, and the faculty were so accessible. The relationships I built have been really useful for me long after I left Western.”

What are your favorite ways to spend time when you are not working?

“Living in Seattle, I try to soak up the city as much as possible. I like to take advantage of the museums, the shows, and the parks. I also enjoy reading, both fiction and non-fiction. I am in love with the library system here!”