Meet the New Cohort

We asked the following questions to the newest members of the sociology graduate student body:

1. Why did you choose to come
to the University of Maryland?

2. Why did you choose to study sociology?

3. What do you hope/expect to do
when you leave the University?

4. What is one thing, outside of earning a PhD, that
you want to accomplish while at the University?

5. Do you have any nicknames
you want us to know about?

6. Do you have any nicknames you
*don’t* want us to know about?

7. Is there anything funny/ weird/ awesome
shameful about you that you think should
be advertised to the whole department?

Here is what they said:

Patrick Liu

1. Had everything I was looking for.
2. Soc is fun!
3. Get on with a career.
4. Brush up on my chemistry.
5. “Latrick Piu”
6. You probably shouldn’t call me Patty Cake. Or PatrickStar.
7. Was able to stand and balance myself on a coke can once.

Sarah Phipps

1. I honestly applied to Maryland without knowing a great deal about
it, but when I visited during the admitted students day, there was
very simply a lot that I liked. The faculty seemed engaged and
interesting, as well as pleasant and approachable; the other students
in the program seemed the same, and they spoke highly of the program
and the department during the Q&A. What ended up attracting me most
was the strength of the military sociology concentration.

2. I fell in love with sociology as the result of taking an intro
course largely on a whim. It offered a fascinating framework for
examining and understanding the world, and I knew I wanted to pursue it as far as I could.

3. The ideal situation is, of course, a tenure-track position at a
good research institution, but we’ll see what the future brings. I’m trying to keep an open mind.

4. I want to take advantage of the opportunities the university offers to become familiar with the current research in the field in greater depth, to form relationships within it and hopefully to make some real contributions to it.
5. Nope.

6. Not telling.

7. My father, who is a professor of geology, wanted to name me “Glacia
Moraine.” At least, this is what he says. I’ve never figured out
whether or not he was kidding.

Dave Paul Strohecker

1. I decided to come to Maryland because of the urgings of my mentor, Joe Feagin. He told me that this would be the place where I would find the most acceptance and freedom to pursue my studies in critical race theory. He advised me that this was one of the most diverse campuses in the U.S., that the department was more tolerant than many, and that it was a state school with a good reputation.

2. I was originally drawn to sociology because of my interest in
feminism. I took an intro class on gender and it immedietely sparked my interest. Feminist theory resonated with me and validated my self-identity. From there, I slowly fell into studies of race/ethnicity. I was hesitant at first, until I became disillusioned with all that I had been taught since I was young. Growing up as a white, middle-class male kept me insulated form seeing much of the injustice all around me. I became disgusted with my own latent prejudices and hatred and began to see social justice as my both mycalling and my obligation.

3. I hope to be a well-versed and competent anti-racist. I expect to
get a job at a research or teaching university and then use my
position as a springboard to teaching future generations about
systemic oppression and conducting research that will improve social

4. I would like to become a proficient speaker of truth; and I would
like to become an inspiration for young people who don’t identify with
the prevailing social order. I want to teach young people to discover
the power of knowledge and how it can be used a tool for solving
social problems.

5. Nope. You can make one up for me.

6. My mom has always called me “Sparky.” I think it sounds like a dog’s name.

7. My entire upper body is covered with tattoos. It’s my guilty/selfish pleasure.

Margaret Austin Smith

1. Because I’d rather be studying.

2. See above.

3. I’d feel very blessed to be able to teach and work on meaningful research.

4. Spend as much time outside as possible.

5. Meg works.

6. My sister calls me Large Marge.

7. I ran track and cross country at the University of North Carolina and have two ACC championship rings. Go heels(!).

Joanna Kling

1. I love the DC area and it’s a great program that matches my interests.

2. I like the perspectives that sociology offers for understanding
society, especially in regards to understanding issues of social

3. I would love to teach at the university level, but I also want to
make sure I do research that is useful for policy makers.

4. I feel like if I don’t say ‘publish’ it means I haven’t been paying
attention for the last few weeks. Outside of that, I want to make it
a priority to attend lectures, presentations, films and discussions from a variety of disciplines that the University brings to campus.

5. None in particular, but few people actually call me Joanna.

6. No

7. I’m addicted to Israeli Dancing and Salsa Dancing.

Mark Gross

1. I chose UMD because it is a big public university with a great
sociology program. I also really like the DC area, so it was a great

2. I chose sociology because I believe that it is one of the most
applicable of the social sciences and certainly the most relevant to the things I care about. And it’s awesome.

3. After leaving here I would like to establish myself in academia butalso spend time working outside of academia and applying my
knowledge/skills to issues of social justice and development.

4. Staying out of the regular labor force for another few years.

5. Gross Face Killah

6. Gross Face Killah

7. In first grade I put a balloon in the pencil sharpener and had to
miss gym class.

William Yagatich

1. The University of Maryland’s reputation in Sociology for the study of theory and place.

2. Sociology is the only thing that has ever made sense to me, and also the only discipline that is diverse enough to keep my interests engaged.

3. Live a full and meaningful life. Enjoy some limit experiences.

4. Learn Chinese.

5. Bill

6. No

7. I just became engaged to my girlfriend, Meghan Martzolff, of three
and a half years at the end of this past July.

Lori Reeder

1. I chose to come to University of Maryland because the Sociology
department is ranked well and the people within the department are
really nice. I felt like I would fit in well and be happy here.

2. The beauty of sociology is that you can study almost anything from
the sociological perspective. I have loved Sociology since I took an
introductory course during my freshman year of undergrad.

3. I hope to acquire a tenure-track position upon leaving the university.

4. I hope to learn how to be a good teacher.

5. Nope, no nicknames.

6. Fortunately, I have no hidden nicknames either. The trick here is to not acquire any while at UMD.

7. As a small child growing up in rural Pennsylvania, I used to think that the first day of deer season was a holiday because we got the day off from school.

Susan Hong

1. I was drawn to the diverse research interests of the faculty, as
well as the friendly atmosphere among the graduate students and

2. The problem-solving aspect of sociology is appealing to me.
Sociological research is fascinating, and it can be practical and
relevant to real-life problems.

3. I hope to continue in academia in research and teaching.

4. Too many to list.

5. My family calls me Sus.

6. I’m ok with whatever.

7. No need to advertise, I’m sure my quirks will be exposed eventually. 🙂

Marek Posard

1. The military Sociology program.

2. I have a Political Science background and found myself more intrigued by the Political Sociology literature.

3. Publish.

4. Swim more.

5. No.

6. No.

7. I am a terrible swimmer.

Crosby Hipes

1. I have lived in DC before and loved it. Also, when I visited in
March I liked the faculty and the other students in the incoming

2. I initially went into sociology for conflict resolution, but that
quickly changed. I danced around the discipline for a year or so, and
soon found out that you can do pretty much anything in sociology,
which I have come to love.

3. I hope to work at a university.

4. Other than getting published, which is highly stressed by all, I
would also like to just feel like I have an expertise in my field.

5. No

6. Yes

7. No

Joseph Waggle

1. When I came to the welcome weekend in March, I got to see how
close-knit and supportive the faculty and the grad students were.
That’s a very different experience to what I’m used to, and it was
refreshing to see.

2. My first sociology class was also my first semester in undergrad.
It started only two weeks before the WTC attacks on 9/11/01. After
that day, the entire campus changed, as did the nation, and my
sociology professor really helped me to understand it all. Since then,
I’ve seen a lot of answers– and some interesting questions– while
studying sociology.

3. I want to apply my studies toward doing research in the field of
medical sociology and stratification.

4. I have very little teaching experience. I hope to become a better
teacher/communicator while I’m here.

5. At Cal I was JoJoBee. At Chicago I was Wag. I’ll pretty much answer
to anything if you say it nicely.

6. There’s only a handful of people who can get away with calling me
Joey. I usually hate that name. Also, my mother likes to call me
Puppy, but I don’t like that to get around too much…

7. I’m pretty boring, actually. But I’m confident that plenty of
interesting stories will come out of my time at the University of

Sidra Montgomery

1. I choose to come to the University of Maryland because of the military sociology specialization area, which was one of my main interests. The incredible caliber of professors at Maryland and the great location of the campus (for military sociology and or personal reasons) is what initially drew me to Maryland. After the visit days, I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the graduate department. It was exactly the kind of supportive, challenging, and passionate department that I was looking for.

2. When I was in college I initially thought that I wanted to study Psychology, but after taking a Psychology course I decided that it was too science based and too focused on a micro-level of analysis. I had always been curious about the bigger picture, and once I took a few Sociology courses…I was hooked, and I never turned back.

3. I hope to have grown both personally and academically, as well as form lasting relationships with my peers and the professors.

4. Attend at least one game or event from every sport. I was deprived of the Division-1 big school sporting games when I was an undergrad because I went to a school of 1,300 and sports were not nearly as exciting as they are at Maryland.

5. Nope.

6. Again, nope.

7. Nope.

-Joseph Waggle


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