Sociology alumni Courtney Cross has recently begun a new position as the Community Impact Coordinator for Homeless Initiatives at the United Way of Denton County. Congratulations Courtney! READ MORE
Originally Posted: February 1, 2016
Sociology visiting professor Brita Andercheck‘s teaching resource, Education and Conflict Perspective: A College Admissions Committee Activity is among the top 10 most downloaded teaching resources of 2015.
The resource can be found in the TRAILS database on the American Sociological Association (ASA) website.
Originally Posted: January 28, 2016
Failing Families, Failing Science
Work-Family Conflict in Academic Science
Work life in academia might sound like a dream: summers off, year-long sabbaticals, the opportunity to switch between classroom teaching and research. Yet, when it comes to the sciences, life at the top U.S. research universities is hardly idyllic. Based on surveys of over 2,000 junior and senior scientists, both male and female, as well as in-depth interviews, Failing Families, Failing Science examines how the rigors of a career in academic science makes it especially difficult to balance family and work.
Ecklund and Lincoln paint a nuanced picture that illuminates how gender, individual choices, and university and science infrastructures all play a role in shaping science careers, and how science careers, in turn, shape family life. They argue that both men and women face difficulties, though differently, in managing career and family. While women are hit harder by the pressures of elite academic science, the institution of science—and academic science, in particular—is not accommodating, possibly not even compatible, for either women or men who want to raise families. Perhaps most importantly, their research reveals that early career academic scientists struggle considerably with balancing their work and family lives. This struggle may prevent these young scientists from pursuing positions at top research universities—or further pursuing academic science at all— a circumstance that comes at great cost to our national science infrastructure. In an era when advanced scientific research and education is more important than ever, Failing Families, Failing Science presents a compelling inside look at the world of the university scientists who make it possible—and what universities and national science bodies can do to make a difference in their lives. READ MORE
Originally Posted: January Issue
By JIM O’DONNELL | Photography by MINESH BACRANIA
IN THE WINTER of 2010, more than 200 inches of snow dumped on Taos Ski Valley, and Kyle Hawari and Brooks Thostenson, twentysomething buddies from Texas, didn’t waste a flake: They rocked an impressive 90 days on the slopes that season.
“We worked as night janitors at the gym so we could ski all day,” says Hawari, a towering former All-Ivy lineman at Yale. “It was an awesome year. But by spring we wondered: What do we want to do with our lives? We’d experienced the ski-bum life. We wanted to build something deeper.”
In the next year, they launched Taos Mountain Energy Bars, and success started coming as fast and steep as the slopes that inspired them. By 2015 they were selling 100,000 bars a month and racking up more than $3 million in sales in more than 1,500 locations nationwide. When the company opens a new production facility in Questa this spring, it will mark another landmark step. It will allow them to add another 15 employees to their operation, for a total of 30, and set their sights on annual sales of up to $50 million. That’s a lot of energy bars.
Friends since third grade, Thostenson and Hawari had discussed starting a business together as kids, but they went their separate ways after high school. Thostenson graduated from Southern Methodist University and cut his teeth selling life insurance in Dallas. Hawari’s career at Yale was interrupted by a severe knee injury his sophomore year; his search for a place to mend landed him in Taos, working at a coffee shop, biking, and taking physical therapy. Back at Yale a year later, Taos was still on his mind. He returned during the winter of 2009–10 and invited Thostenson to join him. They resumed their childhood conversation.
“Living in Taos, we saw this opening for food for an outdoor-lifestyle-oriented demographic,” says Hawari. “You know, something local, organic, that tastes good and appeals to people on the go.”
They envisioned a product that could meet the needs of a serious mountaineer like the legendary Everest guide and Taos ski patroller Dave Hahn. He says that when an athlete is under serious physical exertion in high, cold places, the appetite for dull food evaporates into the frigid wind. It’s hard to eat, yet you need to put fuel into your body.
“That’s what we wanted,” says Hawari: “a fundamentally different snack for outdoor athletes, inspired by the outdoors. It had to be created in a kitchen, not concocted in a lab. It had to taste good, provide a lot of energy, and reflect that ethos we found in Taos, both for quality ingredients and creativity.
“It took a lot of trial and error, but we got there.” READ MORE
Originally Posted: December 2015
Sharon Alderton, 34, avoids her kids’ playroom. That’s because it’s already packed with toys for her two young boys — many that they don’t play with much — and with the holidays and one son’s Christmas Eve birthday quickly approaching, the Prosper mom knows the stuff is just going to multiply. “It’s too much of a good thing,” she confesses. Alderton is grateful for the generosity of others but wishes they wouldn’t give so much. “I don’t want my boys to be ungrateful, take it all for granted or think that getting toys is what matters most in life.”
Like many parents, Alderton struggles to find balance between wanting her children to have what friends have and keeping them from becoming materialistic.
Gifts Gone Wrong
Alderton isn’t alone. Associate Professor Sheri Kunovich is the head of the sociology department at Southern Methodist University. In her class Wealth and Consumption, she compares global patterns of consumerism and says the United States is unique in our spending habits.
In 2013, the United States had a total annual average expenditure of $371 per child on toys, the second highest amount per child after the United Kingdom, Kunovich explains. READ MORE
Originally Posted: November 18, 2015
Along with a panel of local professionals and professors, Lucas Kirkpatrick, an assistant sociology professor at Southern Methodist University, discussed the launch of his new book “Reinventing Detroit: The Politics of Possibility” on Tuesday.
Edited by Kirkpatrick and Michael Peter Smith, a professor of community studies at University of California, Davis, the book comprises chapters written by various experts in urban policy, including professors from the University. The compilation aims to discuss the challenges Detroit faces and the methods currently being employed to overcome them.
In July 2013, Detroit declared bankruptcy and was placed under the control of an emergency manager. In December 2014, the city announced its exit from bankruptcy and control of the city was fully returned to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. The city has also struggled to cope with blight, crime, political corruption and a job loss. READ MORE
In “Failing Families, Failing Science,” Ecklund and Lincoln paint a nuanced picture that illuminates how gender, individual choices, and university and science infrastructures play a role in shaping science careers, and how science careers, shape family life. Their research reveals that early career scientists struggle with balancing work and family lives. This struggle may prevent young scientists from pursuing positions at top research universities—or further pursuing academic science at all— a circumstance that comes at great cost to our national science infrastructure.
Sociology Department: Spring Enrollment Event
Wednesday, October 21st
11:00am- Noon and 3:00 pm- 4:00 pm in the Department Lobby, 3rd Floor Hyer Hall
Drop into a causal spring enrollment event to meet Faculty members (including three new faculty members), learn about course offerings for Spring 2016 and pick up a snack! Have questions about the major or classes? Our Undergraduate Advisor Professor DeArman will be there to answer your questions. Interested in Sociology, but not sure if adding a second major or a minor is feasible? Come talk to our Advisor and learn how many students have loved their second major.
RSVP to this Event by emailing Brita Andercheck at Bandercheck@smu.edu
Department of Sociology: Internship Development Seminar
Wednesday, October 14th
4:30-5:30pm in Hyer Hall 104
Internships are key toward gaining relevant experience to land a job after graduation. Come to this seminar to learn about the Department’s plan to launch a semester long and summer version of a for credit internship class. Learn about previous internship placements and how to get started targeting a successful internship placement.
RSVP to this Event by emailing Brita Andercheck at Bandercheck@smu.edu