Although the West Virginia University Division of Sociology and Anthropology has come to expect its graduate students to prepare papers and present research at regional and national conferences, the level of participation this year has been notable. All 13 graduate students in the program, and five WVU graduate and undergraduate students in other disciplines, gave presentations at the North Central Sociological Association’s annual meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa., in April.
“At a time when many sociology master’s programs are moving to alternative graduation requirements such as comprehensive exams and coursework-only programs, WVU’s sociology program has recommitted itself to teaching research and requiring students to demonstrate their ability to design a research project, collect and analyze data, as well as to write and present their findings to the scientific community and the general public,” said Joshua Woods, assistant professor of sociology and director of graduate studies for the division.
The presentations covered a number of prominent areas within the social sciences, including crime and deviance, social inequality, media and communication studies, presidential rhetoric, social attitudes and perception and environmental sociology. Two students also spoke in sessions on teaching sociology. The specific topics ranged widely and included a study of attitudes toward corporate social responsibility, an examination of digital piracy, an analysis of political violence and two studies on regional environmental issues.
WVU Professor Lawrence Nichols, president of the association, gave a special address, “Renewing Sociology: Integral Science, Solidarity and Loving Kindness.”
The conference presenters included Frank Annie of Charleston, W.Va., Damien Arthur of Huntington, of W.Va., Debra Blaacker of Covington, Ky., Katherine Burns of Parkersburg, W.Va., Kelsie Conner of Kearneysville, W.Va., Christopher Davies of Vienna, W.Va., Mary Dwyer of Jacobstown, N.J., Maisie Fraley of Reedsville, W.Va., Reinmar Freis-Beattie of Morgantown, W.Va., Lindsey Gordon of Van Wert, Ohio, Jacob Matz of Martinsburg, WV, Sharad Patel of Galloway, N.J., Jeannette Sanchez of North Bergen, N.J., Marshall Schmidt of Allison Park, Pa., Clara Simmons of Moundsville, W.Va., Ryan Sommerkorn of Long Valley, N.J., Rebecca Stevens of Kearneysville, W.Va., and Anastasiia Kucher of Kiev, Ukraine.
Anastasiia Kucher’s master’s thesis will be published in the Spring 2012 edition of Commune Bonum: The Public Good. The publication is a peer-reviewed academic journal, affiliated with the WVU Division of Public Administration.
Travel to the conference was made possible with the generous financial support of the Eberly College of Arts and Science Alpha Kappa Delta, the international sociology honors society and WVU’s Student Government Association.
For more information, contact Joshua Woods, director of graduate studies in sociology, at 304-293-8843 or Joshua.Woods@mail.wvu.edu.
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