Meet Our Peer Advisors for
2013-2014

Our peer advisors are Sociology students who can answer your questions and share their experiences regarding the Sociology major, coterm program, sociology courses and sociological interests.

Katie Murray

E-mail: kemurray@stanford.edu

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Year expecting to graduate: MA in Sociology, June 2014

 


Why I am majoring in Sociology:
The family unit and its varying shape and form is a societal institution I have been fascinated by for some time, initially in the context of my own family situation. Growing up in a unique family model, with parents who divorced early and retained equal joint custody, I have always been curious as to how my conceptions of family and its structure differed from the more conventional nuclear family models experienced by most of my peers and within society in general. For me, my initial intellectual fascination stuck, and upon entering my undergraduate career at Stanford I found the opportunity to study the family systems within the context of academia unprecedented, and thus quickly gravitated to the societal explanations of it's evolution that Sociology offered me.

What I like best about Sociology:

The aspect I love most about my Undergraduate study in Sociology, is the academic overlap across courses. With my initial interest in Sociology sparked by Professor Rosenfeld’s Changing American Family Course and my subsequent involvement in his research project, I have come to observe how converging influences of ethnic, racial, and gendered social systems work together to apply pressure and evolve the family system within American society.
Additionally, the intimacy of this department at Stanford, has allowed me to connect with world class researchers in a way I never thought possible. For the last two summers, I have had the privilege of assisting my faculty advisor, Professor Michael Rosenfeld, with his research project surveilling and evaluating the rise of the alternative family in modern society. My experience within this project allowed me to discover the interworkings of academic exploration in the discipline of Sociology with the family and it allowed me to see real life case studies of alternative family interactions and relationships framed by an analytic structure and conceptual framework provided by Professor Rosenfeld and background from my curriculum in the Sociology department.

Favorite Class/ Professor (and why):
SOC 155: The Changing American Family with Professor Michael Rosenfeld was the first Sociology course I enrolled in at Stanford. I credit this course with jump-starting my interest in this field of study. The subject matter exciting me in a way I had never before experienced academically. Professor Rosenfeld is an inspiring lecturer and the course's structure and reading material was engaging from start to finish. Professor Rosenfeld has served as an incredible peer advisor and mentor. I attribute my role in his research project with cultivating my interest in becoming an academic researcher.

Favorite book (and why):
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. This book was on the required reading list the summer before my Freshmen year at Stanford. I gravitated to the book's explanation of the factors that contribute to high levels of success. Through it's explanation, I came to understand how an individual's culture, family, their generation, and other idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing contribute, and ultimately shape their ability to become outliers within a society. Through it's explanation, I came to understand how these factors ultimately contributed to my own success, and allowed me to attend the elite undergraduate institution, Stanford University.

Career goal / Future plans:

Over the course of my undergraduate career with this department, I have illuminated a strong interest in pursuing an academic career as a Sociologist, with the intent of pursuing a Ph.D with a possible concentration in this topic of the American family system, or an alternative outgrowth from my work as an undergraduate. My first hand experience assisting Professor Rosenfeld on his research project surveilling and evaluating the rise of the alternative family in modern society has exposed me to a process of study I hope to conduct as an academic one day.

Extracurriculars:
Intern at the Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness
Member of Los Salseros Dance Team
Harpist


Joy Obayemi

E-mail: jobayemi@stanford.edu

Hometown:

Year expecting to graduate:


Favorite Class / Professor (and why):
Developmental Neurobiology taught by Professor Susan McConnell. Although I am fascinated by all things related to biology, this was the first class that blended current research with known background information in a way that was so captivating. I found myself really understanding the material and developed a deep appreciation for how each new paper, each new little discovery, brought us one step closer to understanding all of the complexity behind the brain and its activity. For the first time at Stanford, I felt like I was being taught to think like a scientist and I honestly enjoyed every minute of it.

Favorite book (and why):
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. To me, this is the ultimate story of love, loss, and sacrifice. Not only do I love the ornate writing of Dickens, but I also love the troubled characters that he creates and how he describes scenes with such great imagery. I'm also slightly obsessed with anything having to do with the French Revolution, so that may be another reason why I love this book so much.

Career goal / Future plans:

In the future, I hope to utilize my background in sociology as a tool to help me further understand others and their experiences as it pertains to medicine. After I graduate from Stanford, I hope to spend a year abroad volunteering before returning to the United States to attend medical school. Although my specific interests may shift, I currently aspire to become a cardiothoracic surgeon and to work in the United States while spending a significant amount of time administering healthcare abroad.


Elise Racine

E-mail: eeracine@stanford.edu

Hometown:

Year expecting to graduate:

 


Favorite Class/ Professor (and why):
There's too many to choose!  But if I had to pick one I would probably have to say the very class that introduced me to Sociology - Professor Susan Olzak's freshman introsem "The Roots of Social Protest."  Applied to and then taken on a whim (I thought the subject matter looked fascinating!), this class convinced me to keep taking Sociology classes and eventually switch my major.  Furthermore, the class got me involved with Professor Olzak's research project and she has been a wonderful mentor to work with over the years!

Favorite book (and why):
I would probably have to say The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.  I just loved how the book explores not only history's role in society, but also how this role is communicated and transformed through literature.  The tale specifically deals with the folklore surrounding Vlad Tepes and his fictional equivalent Count Dracula; yet it does not come across as a horror novel.  Rather it examines the presence of good and evil throughout history.  Furthermore, the book is a wonderful blend of several genres, including Gothic novel, adventure novel, detective novel, postmodern historical novel, amongst others.

Career goal / Future plans:

Currently I'm considering several different possibilities.  But after my research in India this summer for my Honors Thesis, I am especially interested in pursuing a PhD in Sociology.

Extracurriculars:
Stanford Association for International Relations (SAID) Co-President, Research Assistant for Professor Susan Olzak, ZAP Kitchen Manager, Kappa Kappa Gamma (member and a part of Chapter Council), Teach for America Campus Campaign Coordinator, and Sunday School Teacher at MPPC

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