Sociology Alumni

Welcome Sociology Alumni,

Department of Sociology would like to keep in touch with you and highlight all your accomplishments on this page. Please send us updates as you see fit and update your latest contact information at the bottom of this page. We are also starting to collect some data from our Alumni by a survey every few years so be on the lookout for an email from us soon. 

We are proud of your successes and wish you much happiness. 

 

Scroll down for Alumni Surveys, Student Feedback, and to update your contact information or provide feedback for us.

 

Sociology Alumni Profiles

We will highlight some of our graduates on this page (in no particular order). Please send us current info and feedback to include here. There are many of you who are doing great things after graduation, hence we may put these wonderful bios into some rotation. Thank you for keeping in touch with us.

 

Rachel Wintz (2013) received the 2014 Discovery Award from the UAA's Honors College. She was one of the two winners of the American Democracy Project's video competition andRachel Wintz  presented at the national conference (2013 American Democracy Project and the Democracy Commitment National Meeting) in Denver (June 6-8) - theme: "21st Century Citizens: Building Bridges, Solving Problems". She also received the ISER Policy Research Award in 2013. See the Green &Gold feature on Rachel in April. She was the 2012 recipient of the Second Bridge Scholarship given by the Center for Community Engagement and Learning which took her to Guatemala. She is also an ENGAGE liaison with the CCEL. She spent 6 months in Colombia, teaching English. She has been invited to apply for the prestigious 2 year fellowship with the Institute of Current World Affairs this year. She recently spoke at the ENGAGE week (Nov 4, 2014) "Oh, the Places You Will Go: A Second Bridge Scholarship Experience." She was invited to apply by the Institute of Current World Affairs, for the two year long fellowship competition. Her project is on sustainable fashion.

David Weaver AlumniDavid Weaver, 2003

As an undergraduate Sociology student, David was involved in community-based service learning projects with the Mountain View Boys and Girls Club. He also participated in both AKD (Alpha Kappa Delta – Sociology Honor Society) and the Sociology Club.  After graduation, he joined the Peace Corps and served as an educator at a small public university in rural Albania. The areas of his teaching responsibility included HIV/AIDS prevention, human rights, principles of gerontology, and grant writing. After two years with the Peace Corps, David accepted a graduate fellowship at the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University and completed his Master’s Degree in Economics there in 2008. In 2008, David returned to UAA to work primarily with first generation college students to improve their success at UAA. David is currently the MAP-Works Project Coordinator with the Office of Student Affairs. The MAP-Works (Making Achievement Possible) Project is a comprehensive retention and success program for first-year students. The MAP-Works Team, under David’s leadership, won the 2011 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Large Team Collaboration. David notes in his biographical information that “Second only to the support of my family, the education and guidance I received as an undergraduate sociology student at UAA was the foundation from which I discovered and began achieving my life’s vision.” 

Kent Spiers, 2012 Kent-Spiers

While on campus, Kent served on the UAA's National Coalition Building Institute Leadership Team as well as working as a researcher at the Institute for Social & Economic Research, leading up the International Student Association and was involved in the Sociology Club. Kent was selected as the commencement speaker in 2012. See Northern Light Q&A with the commencement speaker here. He received both the Seawolf Leadership award as well as the Seawolf Community Award along with another Sociology major Kyle Yan in Spring 2011. See Green & Gold article featuring Kent as one of the "I am UAA" stories here. He left to complete a masters degree at Lakehead University in Canada, working on community wellbeing models in the Arctic. He is now a PhD candidate at the University of Calgary and is a research associate at the Arctic Institute of North America.

Alex FosterAlex Foster, 2012

A recent Sociology graduate found success in applying to the University of Washington School of Medicine’s WWAMI program here at UAA! Alex Foster (class of 2012) says his Bachelors of Science in Sociology from the University of Alaska Anchorage has helped to prepare him for his career as a physician. “I think sociology majors have challenging courses taught by caring professors. I have no regrets in my decision to study sociology. I feel very capable in my skills of conducting primary research, designing research projects, completing literature reviews, understanding and applying statistics, and moreover- I have a greater understanding and respect for the intricate workings of our social world. I know as a physician, I will be able to use the skills I learned while attaining my sociology degree and for that I am really grateful.”

Katie Johnson,  2004 

Katie is currently a visiting Assistant professor at Tulane University.

"Sociology at UAA was a great start to my higher education. The faculty were highly invested in students' learning and engaging in projects. Without support and encouragement from my undergraduate profs I wouldn't have gone on for graduate school. Now I'm an assistant prof and hope to "pay it forward" through my own teaching and mentoring."


Erica MitchellErica N. Mitchell, 2012

Erica is a Research Associate at the Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies (ICHS). 

"I came in to Sociology after changing my undergraduate major from political science, to economics, to pre-nursing (just narrowly escaping underwater basket weaving, minor in synchronized swimming). Many of the problems I was interested in addressing, I later discovered, were based on how people interacted. During a high school internship, I was exposed to the congressional constituency for southern Colorado.  Many of the people I encountered were facing severe difficulties obtaining healthcare. I followed the trail - was it political? Here I was, in all of my 18 years, in a Congressman's office. Surely, he would fix this disparity. But... what was politics all about anyway? What dictated certain political choices? Economics? So this was a class issue.... oh wait, access to healthcare you say? Eventually, I learned it was all of these reasons. Sociological theory was an education in societal structure, race theory, class struggle, gender issues - the basis of these fundamental questions I had been asking myself. My insatiable "why" has followed me from my high school internship, through university courses and has eventually led me to pursue a career in public health research. I regularly ask myself those same questions, but am now armed with the theoretical knowledge and resources from my education in sociology to build a basis for change. I believe we should leave the world a better place than we found it. We're all in this society thing together, right?"

GloriaONeill_1_1


Gloria O'Neill, 1996

Gloria O’Neill has served as the President and CEO of Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc. for the past twelve years, having started employment with CITC since 1992. Ms. O’Neill received her Master degree in Business Administration from APU and graduated from UAA with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Business Administration.  She is active in the community and currently serves as Chair of the Anchorage Museum Association Board of Directors, Board member of the Anchorage Community Land Trust, the Alaska Federation of Natives, Cook Inlet Housing Authority Commissioner, and Bureau of Indian Affairs/National Tribal Budget Advisory Council. In 2004, Ms. O’Neill received the Woman of Achievement award (presented by BP and YWCA), 2001 Athena Society Member from the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, and was recognized in 1998 as one of the “Top Forty Under 40” by the Alaska Journal of Commerce just to name a few. - See more at: http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/chancellor/organization/board/gloria-oneill.cfm#sthash.3sOSTMxF.dpuf

University of Alaska, Chancellor's Board of Advisors

Gloria O’Neill has served as the President and CEO of Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc. for the past twelve years, having started employment with CITC since 1992. Ms. O’Neill received her Master degree in Business Administration from APU and graduated from UAA with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Business Administration.  She is active in the community and currently serves as Chair of the Anchorage Museum Association Board of Directors, Board member of the Anchorage Community Land Trust, the Alaska Federation of Natives, Cook Inlet Housing Authority Commissioner, and Bureau of Indian Affairs/National Tribal Budget Advisory Council. In 2004, Ms. O’Neill received the Woman of Achievement award (presented by BP and YWCA), 2001 Athena Society Member from the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, and was recognized in 1998 as one of the “Top Forty Under 40” by the Alaska Journal of Commerce just to name a few.

Gloria O’Neill has served as the President and CEO of Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc. for the past twelve years, having started employment with CITC since 1992. Ms. O’Neill received her Master degree in Business Administration from APU and graduated from UAA with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Business Administration.  She is active in the community and currently serves as Chair of the Anchorage Museum Association Board of Directors, Board member of the Anchorage Community Land Trust, the Alaska Federation of Natives, Cook Inlet Housing Authority Commissioner, and Bureau of Indian Affairs/National Tribal Budget Advisory Council. In 2004, Ms. O’Neill received the Woman of Achievement award (presented by BP and YWCA), 2001 Athena Society Member from the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, and was recognized in 1998 as one of the “Top Forty Under 40” by the Alaska Journal of Commerce just to name a few. - See more at: http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/chancellor/organization/board/gloria-oneill.cfm#sthash.3sOSTMxF.dpuf

 

 

Katie Website Pic

Katie Marquette, 2010

"The critical thinking skills I learned as a sociology student have proven to be invaluable both in my personal and my professional life. Understanding how different groups interact, and recognizing the complexities of social problems, has allowed me to approach issues with a more balanced mindset. As Communications Director for the Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP), I am responsible for building and delivering messages about the benefits of clean energy. By knowing my audience and understanding their role in our community, I can shape my message to better resonate with them." Currently Katie works as the Marketing Director at the UAA Business Services Department.

Katie graduated cum laude with UAA Leadership Honors and was selected as the commencement speaker in 2010. See the Green & Gold article about her selection here and the Northern Light interview with her here. Katie was a featured delegate at the COYA -Conference of Young Alaskans- (the North is the Future- Our Place in Alaska; Alaska's Place in the World, Jan 2012, Juneau)

BritSBrit Szymoniak, 2010

Brit graduated cum laude (University Honors Scholar). Her undergraduate research achievements were so exemplary that ISER eventually hired her as a research analyst. A 2011 graduate of Leadership Anchorage, Brit serves on the board of directors for the Institute of the North and as vice-president of the Federation  of Community Councils. She recently was awarded a Young Leaders Fellowship from the Northeast Asia Economic Forum. In November 2012, she was appointed by
the mayor to be Special Assistant to the Director of the Port of Anchorage

JasmineFJasmine Fledderjohann, 2004 

Jasmine Fledderjohann was raised in Anchorage. She graduated from East  Anchorage High School in 2000, and began her undergraduate work at the University of Alaska in the fall. During her time as a Sociology major,  she appeared on the Dean's List and Chancellor's list, and she  participated in several research projects in the Anchorage community.  She graduated in 2004 with numerous awards and recognitions, including  university, departmental, Alpha Kappa Delta, Golden Key, and student  leadership honors. In 2005 began her graduate work at the Pennsylvania  State University, where she earned an MA in Sociology and Demography in  2007, and Ph.D. in 2011. Jasmine has conducted primary data collection  in Ghana, West Africa, and her work has appeared in several  peer-reviewed journal articles. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Oxford University (UK), studying the social epidemiology of India.

Of her experience as a student in the Department of Sociology at UAA,  Jasmine said "I feel that there were a lot of unique research  opportunities available to me, due in part to the small size of the  department. All of the faculty knew me well, and I was able to obtain a  lot of undergraduate research experience, which was valuable both for getting into a good graduate program and for ensuring my success in the  program."

 
Laura Orange de GafforyLaura Orenga de Gaffory (2013) was featured as one of the I am UAA stories. She received an Undergraduate Research Grant to learn about gender and racial implications of restaurant hiring practices in Anchorage. She gave a commemorative speech about her grandmother at the Alaska Native Oratory Society's 10th year anniversary, titled "In the Words of my Grandmother." She interned with the NANA Development Corporation. She currently works for NANA as the Corporate Communications Specialist.

Daniel Pulu (2010) is an Educational Opportunity Specialist at UAA.

Carolyn Tix (2012) is a PhD student (with scholarship) at the University of Hawaii Manoa, Department of Sociology.

Diana Hudson (1992) has worked as a Health Communications Specialist in Alaska, working for the CDC and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. After completing her Master of Public Health, she received her doctorate degree in Health Sciences from Karolinska Institute in Sweden (in 2005) working on projects by the World Health Organization. See page 4 in this 2002 newsletter for an excerpt about her. She published in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health and Journal of Travel Medicine as well as Accident Analysis and Prevention.

Samantha Stevenson (2010)  is the Billing Coordinator at Ilanka Community Health Center in Cordova, Alaska.

Melissa Bradley (2010) is a Marketing Consultant at GreatLander Publications in Anchorage.

Grant Varvil (2010) is a supervisor at Hope Community Resources in Anchorage.

Leigh Coppola (2010), after completing her Masters at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, works as a Social and Behavioral Researcher at AOC Marketing Research in Houston, TX.

Irina Ikatova (2010) is the Medical Assistance Administrator with the Division of Health and Social Services in Anchorage, and manages the Medicaid Pharmacy subsystem.

Michelle Heun (2010) is a Grants Administrator III with the State of Alaska.

Sara Lucey (2010) is the Manager at American Diabetes Association, Fairbanks Area in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Caitlin Ulrich (sociology minor) is a nurse. While in nursing school, she worked as the Research Assistant for the School of Nursing, working on an ongoing project at Alaska Native Medical Center to reduce fall rate among inpatients.

Sharon Wallingford (1985) is the editor of Fort Bend Business Journal, a monthly publication in Texas- Fort Bend County, that examines business trends, profits and loss, and salutes business people for their accomplishments.

 

Surveys

In March-April 2013, Department of Sociology administered its first online Alumni Survey to collect feedback from our graduates. We will share results on this page as soon as the analysis is completed. Two lucky winners (Irina Ikatova and Sara Schroeder) were drawn randomly among those who completed the survey and each received a $35 amazon.gift card. 

Alumni database for sociology majors included 467 names. Since we chose to do an online survey this time, we were able to locate only 196 valid email addresses. That has become our sample for the 1st UAA sociology alumni survey. With the incomplete data (only six surveys were started but not submitted), we had a 39% response rate.

A very preliminary analysis revealed these results:
  • Majority of the sociology alumni is employed full time.       
  • More than half already had jobs lined up by graduation and majority found a job in less than 9 months.
  • 38% works in areas related to their training.
  • Most report using skills acquired in their sociology training at their current jobs (analysis, collecting data, writing reports etc.).
  • Majority are satisfied with their jobs.
  • 44% pursued more education and certification after graduation.
  • Overall alumni are pretty satisfied with their degree and would recommend it to others.
  • Most agree that sociology faculty were knowledgeable, fair, respectful, mentored students etc.
  • 61% carried out their own research while here and 51% worked on projects in the community.
  • Suggested Improvements: wider selection of courses, improved advising (especially career, job market related advising and internships).
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In 2000, Department of Sociology administered a survey among sociology seniors (majors and minors, N= 15) about student satisfaction and program effectiveness. Though this is a very small sample and rather old data, below are some noteworthy results to share.

How effective has the UAA Sociology curriculum been in helping students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills?  Students generally respond very positively to these items.  Particular departmental strengths were identified by 100% of the respondents (very effective or effective) in the areas of: analysis of written arguments, appreciation of other cultures, broadening intellectual interests, reasoning empirically, and respecting different points of view. 

How effective has the UAA Sociology curriculum been in helping students develop an appreciation of social diversity?
Over 90% of respondents indicated very effective of effective development in this area.

How effective has the UAA Sociology curriculum been in helping students develop familiarity with social structures and processes100% of respondents indicated very effective or effective development in this area.

How effective has the UAA Sociology curriculum been in helping students develop theoretical understanding in sociology? Over 90% of respondents indicated very effective or effective development in this area.

 

How effective has the UAA Sociology curriculum been in helping students develop methodological competence in sociology? Over 90% of respondents indicated very effective or effective development in this area.

How effective has the UAA Sociology curriculum been in helping students develop personal commitment to social justice, and scientific and scholarly integrity?
Over 90% of respondents indicated very effective or effective development in this area.

How do you rate your satisfaction with the following aspects of your Sociology education at UAA?

Responsiveness to student concerns 
87% Very satisfied or satisfied
Quality of major core courses 100% Very satisfied or satisfied
Quality of major elective courses87% Very satisfied or satisfied
Availability of major core courses67% Dissatisfied or very dissatisfied
Availability of major elective courses40% Dissatisfied or very dissatisfied
Quality of instruction by faculty in major core courses100% Very satisfied or satisfied
Quality of instruction by faculty in major elective courses80% Very satisfied or satisfied
Quality of preparation for employment  
67% Very satisfied or satisfied
Quality of preparation for graduate or professional school
74% Very satisfied or satisfied
Quality of academic advising74% Very satisfied or satisfied
Accessibility of advisors   
67% Very satisfied or satisfied
Quality of career advising
54% Dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, or did not use

                                                           

                                                           

   
 

Alumni Contact

Alumni databases are not always up to date. We would like to keep in touch with you. Please take a moment to update your email information (only for Departmental use). Let us know if you have suggestions, feedback, or questions for us as well.

Thank you.