Sociology and Anthropology Alumni News
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What's happened in your lives since you graduated? Got something you'd like to share? Want to keep in touch with the department, hear some news about your fellow grads, and inspire current students? Send us an e-mail, write a letter, or call us, and we will post it on the website in this section. We'd love to hear from you!
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I am a recent Berry College graduate. I graduated from Berry in May 2007 after returning from a semester long internship in Camden, New Jersey. While in Camden, New Jersey, I worked for an organization called Urban Promise Ministries which was founded by Tony Campolo, a professor of Sociology at Eastern University in Pennsylvania. As an intern, I gained valuable experience that helped me learn more about working with children and families in the inner city. This internship assisted me in my transition from Berry College to what many refer to as “the real world”. Because of the support that I received from the Department of Sociology, I was able to break away from what students refer to as the “Berry Bubble” and explore. Through this experience, I was able to take what I learned from Berry and apply it. That is what higher education should be about, infiltrating the world with applicable knowledge through practical experience. I was able to apply Berry’s motto which states, we are not to be ministered unto, but to minister. In addition, I was able to find ways to use my head, heart, and hands to make a difference in the lives of others. Last, but not least, the internship helped me make a smooth transition from Camden, New Jersey to Harlem, New York. Although, the two cities are distinctively different they are similar in that they need people who are willing to serve their communities. One thing that I did learn from Berry is that service is a way of life.
While at Berry, I chose to make the most of my education by exploring several career options. With a background in Sociology, I had an assortment of ideas that I had in mind in terms continuing my education in pursuit of a Master’s degree and in terms of career possibilities. Upon graduation, I had considered applying to graduate school or enrolling in AmeriCorps. However, I applied and was accepted into the New York City Teaching Fellows program which is designed for people who are entering into the field of education through non-traditional means with a desire to work in high need schools and communities. As a result, I am currently a New York City Teaching Fellow.
I was accepted into the New York City Teaching Fellows Program in February 2007 after being selected to interview in the fall of my senior year. In June 2007, I began the New York City Teaching Fellows Program. After an intense seven week pre-service training that is required by the program, passing two required tests, and beginning graduate school at Fordham University, I am now teaching 5th grade at P.S. 92 Mary McLeod Bethune School in Harlem, New York. During the summer of 2007, while participating in the pre-service training I also began a Master’s program at Fordham University in Manhattan.
The New York City Teaching Fellows Program is highly selective. Overall, less than one in eight applicants will become a Fellow. This year there were nearly 20,000 applicants and only 1,700 were selected. Fellows receive a subsidized Master’s Degree through the New York City Board of Education. Fellows also benefit from a regular teacher's salary and benefits, ongoing support at the school level and a network of like-minded professionals committed to educational excellence for New York City's students. So far, I believe that I have made a wise decision in terms of what I have selected to do upon graduating from Berry.
Becoming a Fellow, teaching in New York City, and attending graduate school are only the beginning of my goals and ambitions. It is my goal to graduate from Fordham University and continue serving in the city through teaching for a few years. Afterward, I plan to enter a doctoral program to pursue a Ph.D in Social Work or go to law school for public policy and administration, but I am proud to say that Berry was the foundation of my educational journey.
Kaneshia (Tye) Hamilton, class of 2007
Throughout college, I was uncertain about my major. I chose Anthropology because I enjoyed the Intro course, but I had no idea how much it would positively affect my work after college, as well as my personal philosophy of life, until now, six months after graduation.
I am currently living in a village in Malawi, a small impoverished country in Southern Africa. As a Community Health volunteer for Peace Corps, I work with public health as well as social problems, attempting to mobilize villages to solve problems with local resources and to ensure sustainability of my projects.
Based on my Anthropological background, I know that in order to understand people’s behaviors and thoughts in my village, I must first learn more about the local culture, language, traditions, social structures, religion, history, and economic/ political background of Malawi. Understanding the people of my community is essential to providing them assistance. HIV and AIDS prevention methods, for example, rely heavily upon understanding the local cultural beliefs and practices especially pertaining to sex. In Malawi I have learned that there are several ceremonies, such as girls’ and boys’ initiations and the death of a husband, that involve forced unsafe sex. To learn more about these ceremonies, I am using Ethnographic methods, such as long-term relationships with open-ended interviews and observation, and limited participation. The data I collect through this process will certainly help me to address the sexual issues and HIV/AIDS prevention methods appropriately.
Not only has my background in the Social Sciences helped me in my volunteer work here, I feel that I will continue to benefit from my degree throughout my life, in any endeavor. This is due to the skills I’ve acquired in studying people and their culture, as well as the positive personal characteristics I’ve gained. Because of the emphasis put on thoroughly studying people and understanding cultural beliefs and practices from their perspective, I have become more patient, non-judgmental, observant, appreciative, and interested in cultural differences/similarities when working with people. We are around other people daily and must be able to understand each other and work together in order to achieve most goals. Therefore, I am very satisfied with my choice of Anthropology major, and I am eager to apply my skills to the remainder of my two-year service in Malawi, as well as to any future work.
Rebecca Ament, class of 2007
I was a sociology AND anthropology minor when I graduated from BC in Spring 2005. And now I'm in China. Watch out, or it'll happen to you.
I am with a volunteer organization called WorldTeach, which sends teachers to several different countries in Africa, Asia and South America.
I am teaching ESOL to high schoolers in a town called Chaling, in the south of the Hunan province. I am learning Chinese (slowly but surely) and adapting to Chinese culture and Hunanese food (very spicy!)
I know I'm staying in China at least until the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, but after that I may visit another Asian country for a year or two, or I may go on to graduate school in either psychology or philosophy. I've found that planning one's life 30 years in advance can be an interesting mental exercise, but the likelihood of it happening just as one thought is so slim, so don't invest too much in those plans. So much of college is "What do you want to be and how do you want to get there?", but I find that college works best when you put your career aspirations on hold for awhile and see just how wide your interests span.
I happened to be visiting Berry's new informative website and thought I'd say hello. I graduated in 1998, circa Dr. Bob Geisel. Since then, I received a master's degree in Urban Planning from Florida State University and I am now working for a local government in Florida. I continue to be interested in social issues and enjoy picking up on various "sociological phenomena" in my daily work. I hope to make it back to Berry one day. I still think sociology is one of the best majors in college, as far as providing a basis for understanding how society(ies) work and how we operate within them. It provides great perspective for any profession that one might choose.
Thank you to the Sociology department for helping to give me a foundation of knowledge that I hope to build on throughout my life.
Sociology and Anthropology Department
Berry College P.O. Box Number 5010
Mount Berry, GA 30149-5010
Phone: (706) 236-2222
Berry College: (706) 232-5374
Fax: (706) 236-2205
Dr. Sarah Allred