Spring 2015 Newsletter

Sociology Newsletter

Spring 2015

Sociology Department Scholarships


Exploring the Power of Community - Travel to China Fall 2015!

Change The Way You See The World - Travel to Kenya Winter 2016!

Student and Student-Faculty Research

Faculty Updates

International Sociology Honor Society

Career Preparation

Sociology Department Scholarships

In the past several years, alumni and former WWU faculty and staff have combined to sponsor 4 endowed scholarships! This year the Department of Sociology is pleased to offer more than $8000 in scholarship funds.

  • The DRL-Demography Scholarship has been endowed by the generous donations from demography alumni and other contributors.  This merit-based scholarship is designated for an outstanding student who has demonstrated interest in demography and population studies.  The demography scholarship was established by Lucky Tedrow and first awarded in 1986.  Many former recipients of the award are now donors to the Demography Scholarship Endowment Fund. The 2015-16 scholarship will provide $2000 in funding.


  • The Teresa LaFreniere scholarship was endowed by a former manager of the Sociology Department. The scholarship is awarded to a high achieving female Sociology major. Preference is given for women over 30 or with dependents, and also for those with demonstrated for financial need. The 2015-16 scholarship will provide $1000 in funding.


  • The Joann Blalock scholarship was endowed by a sociology alum who graduated in 1975 and spent most of her career working for the School Employees Credit Union of Washington. The scholarship is to be used to provide financial assistance to a Junior or Senior Sociology major who submits an essay on community service. The 2015-16 scholarship will provide $2000 in funding.


  • The Ingeborg Paulus scholarship was endowed by former WWU Sociology Professor Ingeborg Paulus. Funds from this scholarship are to be awarded to student majoring in Sociology with an excellent academic record. The 2015-16 scholarship will provide $2000 in funding.


The deadline for Sociology Department scholarship applications is April 21st.  Visit this link on the Sociology Website for a link to the application. /sociology



The Sociology Department’s end-of-year celebration is coming up at the end of Spring Quarter.  
Come enjoy light snacks and browse displays of sociology students’ work from this academic year, including their capstone projects and information about their studies abroad.  Awards and scholarships will also be presented.  All are welcome!

Event Details: Friday June 5th, 1:00 PM in the Viking Union Multi-Purpose Room.

Exploring the Power of Community—Travel to China in Fall 2015!

SOC 437: Changing China—Culture, Community, and Citizenship


Professor Baozhen Luo invites you to embark on a journey of learning about the power of local community development in China, one of the oldest civilizations with the fastest economic growth rate in the world.  This course will serve as a window through which the students can experience and understand multifaceted nature of change and continuity in Chinese society today. We will explore how Chinese people survive and thrive as individuals and collectives to respond to many challenges brought upon by these rapid changes.

Students will first spend two-three weeks on campus. We will then spend four weeks in the city of Hangzhou (staying in the international student dorm of Zhejiang University) where students will interact with Chinese college students and visit urban residential committees, grassroots nonprofit organizations, and social enterprises, as well as the villages in Suichang County of Zhejiang Province, where you will interact with organizations and members of rural villages and economic cooperatives, and more. You will gain first-hand experiences on how different forms of community entities operate in China. Then, upon return to WWU campus, seminars and presentations will be held to reflect on the experience together. 

You can take this course an upper-division elective course (15 credits). Or, if you are a Sociology major and have completed your Core Sociology Major requirements, this study abroad trip can count as your Sociology capstone. Professor Luo is accepting applications now, and would be happy to meet with anyone that would like to learn more about this experience.  Please email Professor Luo for further information regarding the application process: Baozhen.Luo@wwu.edu.


Change The Way You See Your World- Travel To Kenya In Winter 2016!

Kenya      Kenya2      Kenya3

Winter Quarter, 2016, Professor Liz Mogford will have honor to take the classroom across the globe with a group of courageous Western students to teach INTL437H, Kenya Field Studies and Collaborative Service Learning. Students will spend three weeks on campus and seven weeks in two rural villages, one in Western Kenya and one near Mt. Kilimanjaro, where they will delve into topics such as international development, gender equality, global citizenship, racism, global health, and more.  Learning will extend beyond the pages of book chapters and journal articles into the cross-cultural context of people’s lives. As you can imagine, this experience is life changing for everyone involved. Also, great news: if you are a Sociology major and have completed your Core Sociology Major requirements, this study abroad trip can count as your Sociology capstone. We are accepting applications now, and Professor Mogford would be happy to meet with anyone that would like to learn more about this experience.  You can read student blogs from past Kenya trips athttps://wwuineastafrica.wordpress.com/. Please go to the Extended Education website to learn more about the program: https://ee.wwu.edu/ or email Professor Mogford:Liz.mogford@wwu.edu.

Student and Student-Faculty Research

Chelsi Brown completed a senior thesis last quarter entitled "Escaping Life: The Function of Yoga in our Social World" under the supervision of Professor Kristin Anderson.  For the project, Chelsi conducted in-depth interviews with 9 individuals involved with yoga on a regular basis.  She also participated in yoga classes and events.   She found that although yoga is often defined as a spiritual practice in the East, her Pacific Northwest respondents participate in yoga for physical and mental reasons.  Interviewees reported that yoga serves as a means of escape from the chaos of daily life and as a way to focus on the self. 

Jasmine Strode-Elfant (Winter 2015; Double Major in Sociology and Art) completed her Honors Senior Thesis last quarter. The paper was entitled "'Expertly Crafted with the Finest Ingredients': Authenticity and Social Class in Food Advertisements." Under the supervision of Professor Mick Cunningham, Jasmine conducted a content analysis study of authenticity cues within food advertisements targeted at different social classes. She found five main authenticity themes within these advertisements: authenticity of process, authenticity of location, pure authenticity, historic authenticity, and authenticity of expertise. She also conducted a quantitative analysis of authenticity themes in four magazines, coding the use and type of authenticity. The quantitative analyses showed that advertisements targeted at upper class individuals use authenticity themes more frequently than advertisements targeted at middle class individuals, and this was especially true for themes emphasizing authenticity of expertise.

Jay Teachman, Lucky Tedrow and Carter Anderson have a forthcoming publication in Sociological Perspectives entitled “The Relationship between Military Service and Childbearing for Men and Women”.

Currently over 200,000 women serve on active duty in the military and female service members have become a vital component of national security.  Yet, we know very little about the consequences of military service for the life course outcomes of women who serve.  There is a growing literature on the consequences of service for men (Kelty, Kleykamp, and Segal 2010; MacLean and Elder 2007; Wilmoth and London 2013) that is not matched for women (but see Segal 2005; Kelty, Kleykamp, and Segal 2010).  In this article, we address one component of the consequences of military service for women that may be particularly salient -- childbearing.  We assess whether the effect of military service on childbearing for women is different than for men.  We find that current active duty service, as well as being a veteran, reduces the likelihood of having a child, although the negative effects of being a veteran decline over time.  We also find that the negative effects of military service on childbearing are stronger for women than for men.

Faculty Updates

Kristin Anderson published a study entitled "Victims’ Voices and Victims’ Choices" in the journalViolence Against Women.   The data come from her observations of three different courts that she made when working as volunteer legal advocate for two prosecutors' offices.   Findings indicate that the courts treat survivors of domestic violence differently; victims were offered a voice and a degree of choice about their legal cases in only one of the three courts studied.   The article proposes that voice and choice are distinct aspects of victim empowerment, and that the provision of voice may have benefits to IPV victims that are distinct from the benefits of choice.

Mick Cunningham published a journal article with Sociology alum Kelley Skillingstead in the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage. The paper is entitled “Narratives of Socialization: Perceptions of Parental Influence after Childhood Divorce.” The study analyzed qualitative peer-interviews with young adults whose parents had divorced when they were growing up. They identified four narrative strategies used by young adults to make sense of parental influences on their own relationships. These narratives included (a) fear of unintentional modeling, (b) absence of effective modeling, (c) determination to avoid parental mistakes, and (d) fear of self-change or partner change. For the first three types, young adults linked perceptions of relationship socialization to a specific parental trait or relationship pattern. The fourth narrative type reflected generalized conclusions about human change over the life course.

Ron Helms published a paper with Ricky Gutierrez and Debra Reeves-Gutierrez in The International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminologyhttp://ijo.sagepub.com/content/early/recent. Their paper studies mental health resources in county jails in the U.S. The authors find that while strong church networks, urban areas, and ties to the manufacturing sector are associated with enhanced jail mental health resourcing, areas with conservative political environments and strong community mental health networks exhibit reduced mental health resourcing.

International Sociology Honor Society

15 students have been accepted into Alpha Kappa Delta (The International Sociology Honor Society) this year.  Congratulations! 

“Alpha Kappa Delta seeks to acknowledge and promote excellence in scholarship in the study of sociology, the research of social problems, and such other social and intellectual activities as 
will lead to improvement in the human condition.”  For more information about AKD, visithttp://www.alphakappadelta.org/

Career Preparation

Visit the Career Services Center website for a variety of resources as you prepare for graduation.  Whether you are graduating in three months, or three years, it is never too soon to start developing a plan for your next steps.

In addition to resources regarding resumes, networking and job search tools, the Career Services Center website includes a variety of online resources and tips about how to manage your online presence.  For example:

  • Learn how to start and manage your LinkedIn profile.
  • Build an online resume
  • Connect with Alum in your field through the ASK! Network


Visit the Career Services Center online http://www.wwu.edu/careers/index.shtml or in person (Old Main 280) to start preparing today!