Seniors attend ASA conference

The Etownian September 22, 2016 0

This past summer Elizabethtown senior sociology majors Irene Snyder and Philip Ebersole attended the Honors Program of the American Sociological Association (ASA) in Seattle, Washington. Only 35 sociology students internationally have the opportunity to attend the ASA Honors Program, which is held in tandem with the ASA annual meeting.

At this annual meeting, various researchers presented their work to the organization. The ASA is an academically acclaimed organization and has credibility in a number of articles. Researchers from all over the world attend these events and spread their extensive research for the betterment of sociology studies.

In addition to both the ASA Honors Program and the ASA Annual Meeting, the Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honor Society had their strategic planning meeting in the same week.

Meeting the week before classes started at Etown, the academic conference gave the students a broader vision on what a career in the sociology field would be like. They met with sociology scholars and gained insight on what roads to take after their undergraduate schooling is completed.

The students are among only a handful of Etown students who have ever had the opportunity to be accepted into the Honors Program. By applying to the program they had to compete against students in many larger research institutions.

One of the first ever students from Etown to be included in the Honors Program, Barbara Prince stated, “It was a huge deal for Elizabethtown College to be represented among these other schools. The ASA Honors Program was transformative in terms of networking, professional development and academic trajectory so far.” Prince also attended the conference this year and is now a doctoral candidate in sociology at Bowling Green State University.

The members of the program all wear identifying ribbons around their necks to show they are part of the program. This way, many esteemed sociologists at the convention introduce themselves to them and congratulate them on all of their achievements.

The achievements that led Snyder and Ebersole to the Honors program all started here at Etown when they participated in a community-based research project with their class. The students’ partnered with Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD), the International Sociology Society, by conducting a questionnaire on last year’s strategic planning meeting and the thoughts of its members.

Having this research under their belts and working alongside AKD aided in their resumes for the program, but in addition to a solid resume, they needed a faculty recommendation and overall impressive reports including GPAs and personal essays.   

Prince had also attended the program with Associate Professor of Sociology Michele Lee Kozimor-King, who at the time was regional representative of AKD. The contacts that Prince made during her time in the Honors Program have stayed in touch with her, eventually allowing her to become the Graduate Student Representative for AKD today. Kozimor-King has since served as the president-elect of the entire AKD society for two years and was officially inducted into the role of President this year during the ASA program in Seattle.

Overall, Ebersole noticed the conference was very welcoming, and he was able to discuss his own research as well as the work of the scholars’ around him.

“I learned that it is possible to be both scholarly and a political activist. This will help me to better deal with the negative political bureaucracy that is intertwined with higher education. It will also help me to challenge myself on a higher playing field,” Ebersole said, regarding the major influences that the program had on him.

Kozimor-King also noted that attending this conference helped Ebersole decide on his future of attending a graduate school.

Snyder mentioned that she was able to interact with the professionals at the conference about her own research and shared opinions on multiple subjects.

The ASA publishes many sociological journals, their most popular journal being the American Sociological Review.

Research on a number of sociological studies has influenced scholars from all over the world because of the ASA recognition.

Both Ebersole and Snyder presented their research from working alongside AKD to members of the ASA annual meeting as a requirement of the Honors Program. 

This year the ASA conference had many sessions relating to the conference’s theme of “Social Movements: Can Changing the Conversation Change the World.”

Highlights of the program included current ASA president Dr. Ruth Milkman,  who gave a speech on balancing scholarly work and activism, and Dr. Earl Babbie, a leading sociologist in the field, who talked about his research.

Later in the week Snyder and Ebersole attended the AKD President’s dinner. The students sat with past ASA president, Annette Lareau.

Throughout the week, Snyder and Ebersole had many encounters with esteemed sociologists from all over the world. Attending this event was a big honor and gave insight toward the potential future of sociology students.

Snyder received two travel grants to attend the conference, the ASA Travel Award and the Student Forum Travel Award. Because of this, she was also elected to be on the Student Forum Advisory Board for a two-year term.

Snyder and Ebersole were able to experience a part of the ASA and all the impacts its research has had on the world. The ASA Honors Program has allowed them to understand different ways of thinking and has added to their own point of views on sociological issues.

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