Getting to Know the 2011-2012 Cohort

LUOMAN BAO

What’s sociology good for? (in other words, what burning questions do you have that sociology helps you get at?)  Sociology is helpful for me to understand the society that I live in. It helps me to answer questions that I have about the society.

What are you liking most about living in the D.C. metro area?  It is convenient, so I like it.

Besides getting a PhD, what are you hoping to do in the next half-decade or so that you’re here in Maryland?  I hope to travel around the U.S.

JOEY BROWN

What’s sociology good for? (in other words, what burning questions do you have that sociology helps you get at?)  Sociology is good for investigating different aspects of society, especially those so often taken for granted.  I’ve always been interested in the power of belief, why and how inequalities persist in society, race, influences on people’s financial thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and how public opinion operates in society.  Sociology equips me with a set of tools to help guide my inquiries.

What are you liking most about living in the D.C. metro area?  Coming from a rural area, I am enjoying the access that the D.C. metro area provides to different resources.  There’s so much to explore.  I enjoy observing and learning about the area and culture as well as experiencing the many things this place has to offer.

Give us your (grossly abbreviated) essential reading list (both sociology and non-sociology suggestions welcome!)  In Sociology, I suggest reading broadly to get a sense of everything the discipline has to offer and to figure out what appeals to you.  Outside of sociology, I recommend A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. edited by James M. Washington and various works by Ernest Gaines, Toni Morrison, Kurt Vonnegut, and Langston Hughes.

If you were stuck in the data dungeon (aka the department computer lab) for hours on end with your whole month’s worth of Pandora access spent, what one song would you sing to yourself over and over and over again while you worked?  I would sing T.I.’s “Motivation.”

Besides getting a PhD, what are you hoping to do in the next half-decade or so that you’re here in Maryland?  Besides getting a PhD, I’m hoping to get involved in the community, working with the youth.  I have some hobbies that I would like to enhance my skills in. Also, I want to embrace the diversity here and step outside of my comfort zone to have some new experiences, learn from them, and grow on a personal level.

SHANNA BREWTON-TIAYON

What’s sociology good for? (in other words, what burning questions do you have that sociology helps you get at?)  For me sociology is a constructive platform to channel my concerns about the world; using my research as a conduit to produce what I hope will be useful solutions. For example, I am interested in issues related to mental health as it applies to African Americans and immigrant communities. More specifically, self-awareness, how mental health is framed in society and its impact on families and communities.

What are you liking most about living in the D.C. metro area?  I love the international vibe of the DC metro area. Having lived abroad for awhile living in a homogeneous environment just doesn’t feel natural to me anymore. I love having neighbors from all over the globe and being able to learn about different cultures.

Give us your (grossly abbreviated) essential reading list (both sociology and non-sociology suggestions welcome!)  I am a huge Malcolm Gladwell fan, so I would highly recommend reading his books – Blink, The Tipping Point, Outliers.  I also like Allan Horowitz’s book Creating Mental Illness, it gives you a new perspective on mental illness in the U.S.

If you were stuck in the data dungeon (aka the department computer lab) for hours on end with your whole month’s worth of Pandora access spent, what one song would you sing to yourself over and over and over again while you worked?  I would have to create another email account and profile to register for Pandora under another name. When I am working I like to listen to New Age music like Enya, Libera, Kitaro, etc. There is no way I could replicate that kind of music with my own voice, nor would anyone care to hear me try.

Besides getting a PhD, what are you hoping to do in the next half-decade or so that you’re here in Maryland?  I hope to explore the DC Metro area more. There are so many cool places to go and explore. We have been in the DC Metro area for two years now (we were on the VA side) and just have not found a lot of time to branch out and explore, so definitely looking forward to squeezing a little bit of it in over the next five or six years.

Free for all! Insert and answer your own question here.  I don’t have a nickname, but when I was in middle school I was desperate for one so I crafted one together with my initials S.A.B. then I told people to start calling me Sab. I learned two important lessons from that experience 1. Never ever give adolescents fuel to call you something that could either be pronounced like a car (Saab) or an icky crusty thing that appears after a wound (scab) and 2. Being called Shanna is just fine for me.

ANN HORWITZ

What’s sociology good for? (in other words, what burning questions do you have that sociology helps you get at?)  Sociology helps me to grapple with and understand the components that make up our identities, and why we tend to react strongly when we feel our identities challenged or threatened

What are you liking most about living in the D.C. metro area?  I grew up in the area but haven’t lived here for a while, so it’s nice to be back where many of my friends and family are. D.C. is cast in the American psyche as a pit of political jostling and cynicism (and there’s plenty of that to go around, especially these days), but the city doesn’t get due credit for the strength of its cultural, culinary, and artistic offerings.

Give us your (grossly abbreviated) essential reading list (both sociology and non-sociology suggestions welcome!)  Most of my essential reading is non-sociology related. Anything by Kurt Vonnegut, J.D. Salinger, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Voltaire, and Patricia Highsmith is essential to me (I know, all except one of them is a white male…the shame!). As for sociology-related reading (though the writers are not necessarily sociologists by training), Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson has had a considerable impact on my thinking, as has the work of Kenneth D. Bush & Diana Saltarelli. I am also very fond of anything written by my undergraduate sociology professors, especially Reconstituting Whiteness: The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission by Jenny Irons, States of Passion: Law, Identity, and Social Construction of Desire by Yvonne Zylan, and Beyond Caring: Hospitals, Nurses, and the Social Organization of Ethics by Dan Chambliss. These three amazing people have had a bigger intellectual influence on me than any other teacher, and they are the reason I want to become a sociologist.

If you were stuck in the data dungeon (aka the department computer lab) for hours on end with your whole month’s worth of Pandora access spent, what one song would you sing to yourself over and over and over again while you worked?  This is probably the most perplexing, vexing, and significant question I’ve ever been asked. Seriously, I don’t know how to answer it. I cannot overstate my dependence on music for the maintenance of what meager shred of sanity I have left. In fact, I’ve often fantasized about starting all over, going to school to study music theory, and becoming a philharmonic conductor. Well, that, or just becoming a roadie for the Stones.

Besides getting a PhD, what are you hoping to do in the next half-decade or so that you’re here in Maryland?  Settling down and starting a family would be nice.

Free for all! Insert and answer your own question here.  Besides the D.C. area, where have you lived? New York City, Central NY State, Northern Ireland, Indonesia, New Hampshire, Cambridge, MA, and France.

LUCIA LYKKE

What’s sociology good for?  Sociology is good for helping me answer the burning question, why does the restaurant Hooters exist? … and all other issues that question implies.

What do I like about the DC metro area?  Food.  Restaurants.  Lebanese food, Ethiopian food, Vietnamese food, sushi, tapas… I like it all, and having most of it readily available within walking distance.

My grossly abbreviated reading list:  Harry Potter 1 – 7 (yes, this really is the first item on my list), The Second Wave: A Reader in Feminist Theory, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, Sula by Toni Morrison

What song would I sing to myself over and over?  Eric Whitacre’s Lux aurumque or the Flower Duet from Lakme.

What do I hope to do in the next half decade that I’m at Maryland?  Figure out how to eat at all my favorite restaurants on a grad student’s budget.  I would also like a dog at some point in the near-ish future.

Fun Facts about me?  I like to sing, I do not like to cook despite my obvious obsession with food, I consider Hermione Granger to be an alter ego of sorts, and I was once interviewed on Honduran television.

TYLER MYRONIUK

What’s sociology good for? (in other words, what burning questions do you have that sociology helps you get at?)  Sociological research allows me to delve into real issues that affect real people.  In my previous work, I needed to understand how highly educated Malawians evaluated their nation’s public health efforts to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS.  No one had ever asked Malawians who are quite versed in international public health initiatives and their own government’s policies regarding HIV/AIDS.  So I went to Malawi and interviewed such individuals because I felt that they might be able to provide a unique perspective on things.  The research was enlightening.  Now I’m trying to define the next big burning question that will occupy me for some time and hopefully turn it into something practically applicable.

What are you liking most about living in the D.C. metro area?  I really like being close to The Mall and in a good sports town—Redskins, Nationals, and Capitals mainly.  I also like that the campus is a little ways away and how College Park is beautiful in its own right.  The combination of the two settings will allow me to thrive.

Give us your (grossly abbreviated) essential reading list (both sociology and non-sociology suggestions welcome!)  The Essential Foucault—Rabinow and Rose, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life—Goffman, Uncertain Honor: Modern Motherhood in an African Crisis—Johnson-Hanks, Selecting Immigrants: National Identity and South Africa’s Immigration Policies 1910-2008—Peberdy, and “ ‘Teach a Man to Fish’: The Sustainability Doctrine and its Social Consequences”—Swidler and Watkins.

If you were stuck in the data dungeon (aka the department computer lab) for hours on end with your whole month’s worth of Pandora access spent, what one song would you sing to yourself over and over and over again while you worked?  One by U2—undoubtedly. I pretty much do this already.

Besides getting a PhD, what are you hoping to do in the next half-decade or so that you’re here in Maryland?  I hope to get some grants, conduct several research trips to sub-Saharan Africa, meet a lot of new people, make some great friends, and catch some football and hockey games.

Free for all! Insert and answer your own question here.  As for other random facts…I used to play volleyball at the University of Alberta in Canada.  We won back to back Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) National Championships in 2008 and 2009.  Along the way we routinely beat NCAA Div. 1 champions and runners up (along with virtually every other Div. 1 team we played) in exhibition matches.  As I alluded to above, I spent three months in Malawi for my master’s degree fieldwork.  That was quite interesting considering I’d never travelled outside of North America prior to my time in one of the world’s poorest countries.  Other than that, I’m sure you will get to know some of my quirks along the way! I look forwarding to getting to know the faculty, staff, and my fellow grad students.

RACHEL SHATTUCK

What’s sociology good for?  One of the main things that I find so appealing about sociology is that it’s good for answering a really broad array of questions.  Our current first-year methods course is helping me to think through lots of issues, to come up with new questions, and to conceive of old questions in new ways.

Living in the DC area … I’m excited to be living in a new place, and doing new and different things.  I’m especially looking forward to trying lots of new restaurants!

If you were stuck in the data dungeon (aka the department computer lab) for hours on end with your whole month’s worth of Pandora access spent, what one song would you sing to yourself over and over and over again while you worked?  I am partial these days to Rye Rye’s “Sunshine.”

_________________________

CARRIE CLARADY

NICOLE DELOATCH

JINGYUAN XIE

** Not pictured, MATTHIAS WASSSER

 

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