Our M.A. graduates have been diverse in their career directions, including academic careers, human services, research, marketing and other business positions.
A few examples in each of these areas are profiled here.
Dr. Sirry Alang (MA 2008) received her PhD in Health Services Research, Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota, 2015, and is now back at Lehigh as an Assistant Professor in Sociology & Anthropology and Health, Medicine & Society. She is teaching Intro to Public Health, AIDS & Society, and Epidemiology, while also researching social disparities and mental health.
“In Lehigh’s M.A. program, I had the opportunity to be involved in several exciting local and international projects. These experiences enabled me to select a wonderful career path. When I later enrolled in the school of public health, I already had the skills to critically reflect on and participate in research about factors affecting health and the provision of health services. This preparation was invaluable.”
Alessandra Bazo Vienrich (MA 2014) is currently a PhD student at U Mass Boston. Her MA thesis looked at the educational trajectories of undocumented students in North Carolina; currently, her research draws from social identity theory and theories of racial and ethnic threat to explore how Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics differ in their level of opposition to immigration. Most recently she co-wrote a public opinion piece on immigration and the anti-immigrant rhetoric popularized by Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“The faculty at Lehigh were instrumental in developing my knowledge about theory and methods. (Also) extremely helpful was getting the Strohl Grant for Summer research. Without that funding I could not have begun what will more than likely be my dissertation now. Last, taking the comprehensive exam (believe it or not!) was an experience that I am grateful to have had at Lehigh. Having knowledge of how to study, what a comprehensive exam is trying to measure, and just having had that experience at Lehigh, really helped me do well in my PhD comprehensive exam.”
Maggie Hagerman is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Mississippi State University, having earned her PhD at Emory after her MA at Lehigh in 2006. She studies how children produce ideas about race, racism, inequality, and privilege and how these ideas relate to the social reproduction or reworking of racial ideology. This is an extension of the research she began while at Lehigh.
“I miss Lehigh so much and am constantly grateful for the top-notch education I received there.”
Krittiya Kantachote (MA 2013) came to Lehigh from Thailand and is now a PhD student at University of Southern California. Her current research interests focus on labor and immigration, specifically a study of Thai entrepreneurs in Los Angeles and Spain.
“The Lehigh Master’s program is invaluable; there I received a strong training in research and in the fundamental knowledge of sociological theories.”
Claire Yue Liu (MA 2013) is Co-Founder & Administrator of Tribal Wisdom Academy in California, which designs experiential camping programs for children, both during summers and the school year.
“I learned so much during my days in Lehigh. I found my true passion (experiential education) that I'd like to start as the first chapter of my adult life; I learned how to be a generous and supportive person from faculty, and I made lifelong friends at Lehigh. So much good memory in this school that makes me look back fondly and move forward with excitement!"
Molly Harper (MA 2012) is Consulting Administrator at The Astle-Alpaugh Family Foundation, a private grant making foundation that supports educational and cultural projects and programming in Central New Jersey.
“The Community Fellows program was instrumental in jumpstarting my postgraduate/professional network. It connected me with peers with similar goals, other nonprofit professionals, and community members, many of whom I am still in contact with. I also loved moving through the program with a small, tightly knit group of other students. It was a truly collaborative learning experience.”
Samantha Knappenberger (MA 2010) is Research and Planning Officer at Merritt College, Oakland CA.
“The rigor of the coursework and expectations of the professors were intimidating at first, but only now do I see the value in the high standard that was set out for me as a student in that program. I feel that the critical thinking, analytical skills, and knowledge of research methods I gained from the program have helped me tremendously in my career in institutional research and educational assessment. The foundation I received gave me enough competence to succeed and refine the necessary skills for that particular job. I am designing surveys, helping to evaluate academic programs and courses, measuring learning outcomes, and conducting studies in student retention and satisfaction, things I feel prepared and qualified to do because of the degree earned at Lehigh.”
Dan Larson (MA 2011) is Director of Institutional Research at Delaware Technical and Community College.
“I am forever grateful for my time with the Department. It was amazing.”
Jordann Markowitz Cholst (MA 2013) is data management assistant at Westat, a major research organization, where she is working on the Medical Expenditure Panel Study. Part of her job involves teleform design software, creating the look of the survey, which she describes as “a lot of fun”.
“The (Lehigh sociology) program enabled me to work with engaging professors on their research while supporting me in my own.”
Zahir Carrington (MA 2012) is Medical Device Sales Representative at Olympus.
“The Applied Sociology Masters Program was tremendously valuable because it helped to prepare me to work with both clinically-based medical professionals and Community Based Health Organizations and programs. The experience of working with both types of health professionals has provided me with the skills to be able to do business with both, and provide healthcare solutions that are efficient and impactful.”
Katie Benisz came to Lehigh from the University of Virginia and earned her MA in Sociology in 2012. She worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission as a contractor for several years, and is starting a new position an eDiscovery Operations Analyst for JPMorgan Chase. It's a mix of project management, process improvement and business analytics in their technology/legal compliance division. Katie says it will be a good opportunity to use the skills she gained in graduate school.
“If I had to name one stand out takeaway from my time at Lehigh, it would be the opportunities I had to put the skills I was developing into practice -- both in the classroom as a student and teaching assistant, and in the greater community during my Practicum. The applied nature of the degree was a major factor in what attracted me to the Lehigh Sociology program, and these experiences have proven to be incredibly valuable as I continue to advance professionally.”