March 31, 2015 at 2:05 pm

Sociology Alumni Find Passions in Business, Non-Profits, Education

By Amber Damiani ’15

Sociology alumni returned to campus in March to talk to current students with stories about finding their passions and applying their skillsets in the business and non-profit worlds.

At the Sociology Alumni Panel on March 13, two one-hour panels featured Bobcat Alumni who graduated with degrees in Sociology, Sociology-Criminology, or Sociology Pre-Law sharing their stories and experiences.

The second panel consisted of Sociology, Sociology-Criminology and Sociology Pre-Law Majors who have careers in a broad range of fields: Jen Atkins ’13, Jenny Hall-Jones ’95, ’97M, ’11Ph.D., Marley Rave ’04, and Beth Robeson ’88. See the first panel on “Sociology-Criminology Alumni Discuss Their Criminal Justice Careers.”

‘Make the Most of the Time You Have Here’

Hall-Jones, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Ohio University, was a Sociology-Criminology major at Ohio University. When she began her journey at Ohio University, she was very interested in criminal justice, but her job as a Residential Assistant while an undergraduate student showed her that her true passion was working with students. She loved Athens and Ohio University so much she went on to get her Master of Education in College Student Personnel, then her Ph.D. in Higher Education.

Jenny Hall-Jones

Jenny Hall-Jones

Hall-Jones said her education from her degree in Sociology-Criminology is priceless.

“Social-justice issues are one of the hallmarks of the profession” for those working with college students, she said. The knowledge she gained about diversity, social justice and understanding the relationship between groups of people has helped her immensely in her job today.

“Make the most of the time you have here. There are so many resources and great people at your disposal,” she said. Get to know them and gain knowledge, access job or internship opportunities and building relationships for the future.

Class with Thorne Changed Her Perspective

Rave, Executive Director of Autism SpeaksNational Capital Area Chapter, was a Sociology major at Ohio University. She went on to earn a Master of Public Administration with a focus in non-profit management from American University in Washington, D.C. Since then, she has worked in a variety of capacities for non-profit organizations, such as Meals On Wheels Association of America and National Foundation to End Senior Hunger.

Marley Rave

Marley Rave

Taking a sociology class about consumerism with Dr. Deborah Thorne changed her perspective and outlook on the world, Rave said. And it guided her passion to want to work in the non-profit sector.

Discussing applying for internships and jobs, Rave stressed to be sure a resume is free of errors and highlights the strengths of the applicant. A cover letter, she said, should respond directly to the job description and the company’s goals. In order to be successful in an interview, “students need to be able to articulate the skill set they have and how that can contribute to the company” and help them in the position for which they are applying.

Alumna Established Her Own Business

Robeson, Principal and Co-Owner of Robeson Marketing & Design, was a Sociology and Psychology double major at Ohio University. She went on to establish her own business with her husband, building a company that specializes in strategic planning, public relations, social media, photography and design.

Beth Robeson

Beth Robeson

Robeson shared her belief that “sociology and psychology should be required” for everyone. At OHIO, she said, she gained people skills and knowledge about how to study people and understand cultural and social factors in both group and individual settings. Now her company helps their clients by enhancing their business’s ability to reach out to people, build strong relationships, and communicate effectively with their target audiences. Students entering the job market, she said, “should always understand you have to take the good with the bad” and not let any negative aspects of a job discourage from them work that they love and are passionate about.

Sociology Alumni Can ‘Do Anything’

Students can “do anything” with a degree in sociology, the panelists agreed. The possibilities are endless for where a sociologist’s knowledge and skill set can be applied. Students should figure out what professions play to their strengths, what their passions are, and what they enjoy doing. This happens by talking to people, getting a feel for what a normal day for them is like, and trying to gain as much applied experience as possible

The panelists offered to continue providing information and mentoring the students. To talk with alumni about networking opportunities, students should contact Dr. Deborah Thorne, Associate Professor of Sociology.

When interviewed after the Alumni Panels, student Tara Smith said, “I really like this event. I really liked how we were all able to have an open discussion and ask questions about their jobs and the steps they took to get there. Not many years ago, they were in our shoes looking for jobs and getting to learn from them was incredibly useful. I would definitely encourage students to go to events like these in the future.”

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