Graduate Student Spotlights: Joanna Kling & Lori Reeder

As dear friends and colleagues, Joanna and Lori interviewed each other for this graduate student spotlight section.  First is Lori’s interview with Joanna and then Joanna’s with Lori.  Enjoy!

Joanna Kling

Name: Joanna Kling.

Areas of Focus: Demography and Gender, Work, and Family (Second Year).

Hometown: Silver Spring, MD.

Undergraduate College: Muhlenberg College (A very small college in Allentown, PA).

Pets: None.

First job: Little league umpire (The kids were awesome, the parents were so annoying!).

Siblings: Two sisters, I am in the middle.

Lori: How would you describe the path that brought you to pursuing an academic career in Sociology?
Joanna: I thought taking Sociology classes was a path to being a social worker – which is what I thought I would be coming out of college, but I was wrong.  I kept taking Sociology classes because I liked that the classes were relevant to things I had always been interested in like race and class.  I also like how challenging the professors in the Sociology/Anthropology department were.  After I graduated, I worked at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in DC.  I realized quickly that if I ever wanted to move up in a research organization like that, I would need a Ph.D.  So here I am!

L: How has the transition from working in DC to being a grad school been? J: I thought I was going to be able to keep my 9-5 hours when I came to grad school, but that has failed.  I do miss the idea of leaving work at work, but I really appreciate the flexibility in my day-to-day activities in graduate school.  I can go to the doctor and not have to notify three different bosses of my absence.  I moved out of DC when I started school and I miss living there.  I still do the things in DC that I really enjoyed; it just takes longer to get there.

L: What do you do for fun when you’re not doing something school-related?
J: I think most people already know that I dance- a lot.  I Israeli dance at least once a week and I try to go out and Salsa once or twice a month.

L: How do you de-stress?
J: Besides dancing?  I run away to visit friends in Philly, New Jersey, or New York.  I de-stress on the long drives when I can put on music and sing (badly) really loudly.  I can’t seem to take my mind off work unless I’m out of Maryland.

L: What are your tips for successfully staying on top of the variety of tasks you have to complete on any given day? J: Make lists, lots of lists, so you don’t forget things.  Also, be realistic about when you actually get work done.  For some reason I don’t concentrate well between the hours of 5-7 in the evening, so I usually eat dinner and watch bad TV during this time (unless I’m in class – obviously).

L: How has the transition been from being a 1st Year to a 2nd year? J: In the 1st year it was a gamble (at least in my own head) about whether or not I would be able to get all of the assignments and RA work done.  Coming into this 2nd year, I definitely felt like I could actually do the work.  I guess my confidence has grown a little.  There are many things that are still intimidating though.  I switched from being an RA to a TA this year and that has come with many new challenges, especially managing my time.  But I am glad the initial “learning to navigate” the department and the university is over.

Lori Reeder

Name: Lori Reeder.

Areas of Focus: Demography and Gender, Work, and Family (Second Year).

Hometown: Lock Haven, PA.

Undergraduate College: Penn State University (of course!).

Pets: One cat.  His name is Hans.

First job: Dairy Queen.

Joanna: When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? Lori: First, a lawyer.  Then a forensic psychologist (CSI had an impact on me in middle school).

J: How would you describe the path that brought you to pursuing an academic career in Sociology?
L: As an undergraduate I always felt strongly about social issues and initially thought about majoring in Political Science.  However, my first introductory course to Sociology drew me into it.  I double-majored in Sociology and Criminology thinking that I would pursue a job in social work.  When I graduated from Penn State, I was not ready to go straight into graduate school so I joined AmeriCorps and worked as a caseworker at a homeless shelter for a year.  Within the first couple of months of working in social services I realized that I did want to continue studying Sociology in graduate school.  And now I am here at UMD!

J: How has the transition from rural Pennsylvania to a metropolitan area been?

L: It has been difficult because I much prefer smaller cities to large metropolitan areas.  This area has a ‘constantly busy’ feeling and I hate the traffic.  Living in Philadelphia while working for AmeriCorps helped the transition a little, but I am not accustomed to being so far from home and the large crowds.  Having a great roommate and a great cohort has really eased the transition.

J: What do you do for fun when you’re not doing something school-related?
L: I love to bake and cook, though I find I have little time for either.  I have occasional dinner parties.  I also like to explore new things in DC since there are a myriad of things to do. My roommate has coerced me into training for a 5k with her so I go running in the evenings.

J: How do you de-stress?
L: I find it most relaxing to read a book for pleasure or space-out and watch whatever is on E!.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) I don’t do either of these too often.   Sometimes I shop, but that’s a luxury given my budget.

J: What are your tips for successfully staying on top of the variety of tasks you have to complete on any given day? L: Adhering to a strict schedule.  This includes bed-time and wake-up time and knowing when to stop working for the day.

J: How has the transition been from being a 1st Year to a 2nd year? L: It has been interesting because I feel a lot more motivated this year and I have a clearer sense of what is expected of me and what I need to get done.  I feel like I have a better sense of how to prioritize the various things I need to accomplish.  However, there are new challenges.  The 2nd year paper is particularly daunting, but I know I will get through it.

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