Location: Bowdoin / Sociology and Anthropology / Alumni

Sociology and Anthropology

Alumni Profiles

Stacey M. Jones '00

Major(s): Sociology
Minor (if any): French
Year of graduation: 2000

Where do you live and work? I am currently living in Brunswick and working as the Coordinator of Multicultural Student Programs in the Division of Student Affairs at Bowdoin.

What is your occupation? (above)

What did you do immediately after graduating from Bowdoin? After graduating from Bowdoin I relocated to Chicago, Il. and worked for SCORE! Educational Centers. SCORE! is a supplemental education program for students from the ages of 4 years - 14 years old. We focused on delivering measurable academic progress, the ability to set academic goals, increased self confidence and helping our members develop a love of learning.

What has been your most worthwhile professional experience? Working as a Center Director for SCORE! I was responsible for the daily business operations in addition to meeting the needs of our members and their families. This was an opportunity for me to find my passion, which is education. I gained priceless management skills but more importantly, I was able to see the results of my work in students everyday.

What are the one or two events, courses or people that stand out in your mind from your time at Bowdoin? Please explain. If I ventured to name names, I would leave someone out! So I must say that the academic and social atmospheres each stand out in their own way. The academic preparation was really valuable in my life after Bowdoin and being able to navigate the social atmosphere also proved helpful. In the professional world I often found myself in spaces that resembled the Bowdoin I knew as a student. As a result I was very comfortable with stepping into new groups and claiming space for myself.

Commencement for everyone is a grand event, but the pageantry and the attention to detail was miraculous! I felt as if I was being treated as royalty during the entire week leading up to graduation.

Has studying sociology or anthropology impacted your perspective (personally, professionally or other)? If so, how? Sociological Imagination is the first thing that comes to mind. I have worked with families and students that have lived a reality I will never live. Some of them in comparison to me were wealthy and had strong family connections some lived in near poverty and had no family connections at all. However, using my sociological imagination enabled me to be sensitive to all experiences. In doing so I was better prepared than most to create a learning environment where families could achieve concrete goals for their student(s).

Is there a piece of advice you wish someone had offered you while still an undergraduate student at Bowdoin? Everyone always gives this advice and I'll repeat it. Enjoy each moment for what it is. Don't worry about after school, don't worry about what happened last semester. Take every day one day at a time and appreciate the small things.

John Sousa '89

John Sousa - '89

Major(s): Sociology and History

Where do you live and work? I live and work in Houston, Texas. I moved from Boston to Houston eight years ago and I'm still trying to get accustomed to Texas summers... and springs... and winters... You probably get the idea - it's hot here.

What is your occupation(s)? I'm Vice President of Public & Investor Relations of Dynegy Inc., a public traded energy company with operations around the country. In short, Dynegy generates electricity and processes natural gas and natural gas liquids and provides them to wholesale customers (e.g., your local utility company).

In my role, I direct all facets of Dynegy's external and internal communications, including media relations, employee communications, investor relations, crisis communications, community relations, branding, and customer relationship management. Whether it's a journalist who would like to discuss our business strategy, an investor who would like to understand our financial results or a senior executive who needs to deliver a speech, it's the Public & Investor Group's responsibility to make it happen.

What did you do immediately after graduating from Bowdoin? Since my sophomore year, my plan was to attend graduate school immediately after Bowdoin. While most of my friends were interviewing for jobs, I was studying for the GRE and filling out grad school applications. No sooner did I have my diploma in hand then I was preparing for the fall semester at Boston University College of Communication. I earned an M.S. in Mass Communications in December 1990.

What has been your most worthwhile professional experience? It was the decision I made early in my career to leave one of Boston's top public relations agencies to become the Director of Communications for the U.S. Pro Ski Tour, a skiing company headquartered in Bath, Maine.

My job in Boston was everything I thought public relations should be: I was developing communications programs for clients, participating in brainstorming sessions with colleagues, directing news conferences and editorial briefings, and pulling all-nighters to help clients respond to crisis situations.

I was in Portland visiting friends during the summer of 1992 when I came across an advertisement in the Portland Press-Herald about a public relations opportunity at the U.S. Pro Ski Tour. I was - and still am - a huge sports enthusiast, so I decided to send my resume. The U.S. Pro Ski Tour's office was a converted two-story apartment above a restaurant and bar. Some of the offices were in closets and the files were kept in kitchen cupboards. There were skis stacked in the corner and employees wore T-shirts, shorts and sandals. After the president of the company and I talked over lobster rolls, he jumped on a sailboat for his commute home.

Everything about the company and the job was the complete opposite of the corporate public relations world I had known. It was the last place I thought I wanted to be. My instincts told me to stick with a "safe" career path, but my heart told me to take a chance. I took the position and it was the best professional experience of my career. It was a small company, so I had the opportunity to run a department, manage a budget, direct outside public relations agencies, and serve as the editor of a weekly newspaper that we published on event results. The U.S. Pro Ski Tour put on events around the world, so I also had a chance to travel extensively and build relationships with national and international journalists - many of whom I still work with today.

The point of this story is when it comes to career opportunities, don't be afraid to follow your heart. Chances are it will lead you in the right direction.

What are the one or two events, courses or people that stand out in your mind from your time at Bowdoin? Please explain. The stock market crash of 1987 was the event that stands out most in my mind. The impact the crash had on the business world, publicly traded companies and individual investors was profound. This event sparked my interest in business and, in particular, the role of financial markets in our economy. In terms of people, there were two professors in the history department, Sarah McMahon and Allen Wells, who had a significant influence on me. Professors McMahon and Wells showed me that the true measure of a college experience is not what you learn in the classroom; it's what you learn about yourself.

Is there a piece of advice you wish someone had offered you while still an undergraduate student in Brunswick? There are three pieces of advice:

  • Relax more and worry less. There will come a time when you realize that your four years at Bowdoin were among the best of your life. Enjoy it while it lasts.
  • Experience Maine. It's an incredible state with plenty to explore. Take a day and drive someplace new. You won't be disappointed.
  • Take courses that develop your writing abilities. Strong writing skills are important in business, regardless of your career path. In public relations, they are an absolute must.

Quote that has most influenced, impacted or shaped your life: "Actions speak louder than words."

I'm not sure who made this phrase famous, but my mother says it to me all the time, so I'll give her full credit.


Erich Buschmann '01

Erich

Major(s): Sociology

Minor(if any): Economics

Where do you live and work? I live in Lisbon, ME and work out of two offices. One office is located in Lewiston and the other in Bath.

What is your occupation(s)? I am the Assistant Director of Mid-Maine Juvenile Services with Volunteers of America Northern New England. I provide case management services for youth in both the Androscoggin and Sagadahoc Counties. I work with youth who have been identified by law enforcement or probation officers as at-risk youth. Our philosophy is to hold youth accountable and responsible for their actions while providing supervision in the community. This is achieved through three separate but similar programs known as Juvenile Intensive Supervision Services (JISS), Juvenile Intervention Program (JIP), and a Day Reporting Center (DRC).

What did you do immediately after graduating from Bowdoin? I painted my parent's house and searched for a job. I was looking in both the public sector and in the admissions field. I finally found the job I was looking for five months after graduation. I am working for the same organization but I started as a Case Manager in the JIP program. This past summer I was promoted to the Assistant Director's position. I was able to combine my passion to work with youth and my experiences in Sociology that steered my interests into the non-profit field.

What has been your most worthwhile professional experience? My most worthwhile experience has been meeting the youth in our programs and hearing their amazing stories. The contrast of their lives and my personal life growing up in a middle class environment and attending Bowdoin College is a life lesson by itself. These youth face the struggles of peer pressure, economic hardship, unstable families, and a general lack of support everyday. These obstacles provide them with a self-determination that we can all learn from. All of the youth I have worked with are amazing human beings that have been placed in difficult situations. The ability of their spirit to overcome these obstacles and still succeed in life can only be attributed to God. I have often told people that I get paid in thank you's, handshakes, and smiles. Nothing can replace for me the feeling of helping a fellow human being who is reaching out for help; help they need to start believing in themselves and their future. My job is not a nine to five experience but more of a lifestyle choice. The rewards are truly inspiring.

What are the one or two events, courses or people that stand out in your mind from your time at Bowdoin? Please explain. I have three. The first would be meeting my freshman roommate Ricardo Del Cid. I only began to realize how blessed this individual was towards the end of my college career and since graduating. He has an unbelievable spirit and heart and he will accomplish great things in life by caring for other people. He is just one of the many individuals at Bowdoin who will blow you away. Get to know as many people as you can; you do not always know what hides within certain people's minds and hearts.

Second, would be a combination of taking Sociology 101 and joining the African American Society on campus. These two events coincided and have altered, for the best, my future goals. The experiences and knowledge I gained through meeting the individuals associated with both groups have opened my mind and heart. It has shaped my life long desire to giving what I can to make an impact on this society and improve it in any way that God wishes me too.

The third would be taking Sociology 211 and Sociology 310 my senior year with Professor DeAndrade. She took my mind and eagerness to learn and helped me focus it. This was all done while I was making huge strides in molding who I was as an intellectual. DeAndrade inspired me to learn more about the society we all live in and what role we must assume as members. We read a large amount of Karl Marx and his philosophies having been widely disputed. During our discussions, we focused on the quality of the human character, whether it was naturally good or not. DeAndrade always said that she had to believe that humans were born inherently good or else all is lost. I believe this as well and if everyone is born with a positive and healthy spirit, then I can make a difference in this world.

Has studying sociology or anthropology impacted your perspective (personally, professionally or other?) If so, how? The simple answer to this question is yes. The answer to how is much more difficult because it has many layers. Initially, however, sociology becomes a way of thinking. As a sociologist, I have learned how to view myself more objectively and understand my role in every social interaction. I have learned how to critique not only my actions but also the actions of the people and institutions around me. I have learned to keep an open mind in life and respect the opinions of others. Everyone in life has something to offer in some form, the challenge is not for them to express it but for you to hear it and learn from it.

Is there a piece of advice you wish someone had offered you while still an undergraduate student in Brunswick? College is one of the few places where you have unlimited opportunities to step outside of your comfort zone. Learning extends far beyond the walls of the classroom. Most of my learning took place after I left all personal barriers go and let the world in. I exposed myself to many fascinating peoples, with all their experiences and backgrounds, and this has shaped who I am to this day.

Quote that has most influenced, impacted or shaped your life: "Everyone knows how you appear, but few know who you are." Prince by Machiavelli "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:6-8

Britta-Lena Lasko '99

Britta-Lena Lasko

Major: Anthropology

Minor: Music

MS Photography from The Brooks Institute of Photography

Where do you live and work? I currently live and work in Newcastle, Maine.

What is your occupations? Photographer, Nonprofit Administrator, Head Baker at Julia Child's favorite Maine Inn.

What did you do immediately after graduating from Bowdoin? I moved to Santa Barbara, CA to attend graduate school at the Brooks Institute of Photography, often considered to be the best photography school in the world.

What has been your most worthwhile professional experience? I have worked for a number of nonprofits since I graduated from Bowdoin, including a museum, a ceramic artist residency program, a fledgling economics-related institution, and a cult (although I did not know that when I took the job). Each experience has introduced me to the struggles and accomplishments of legitimate, well-designed nonprofits that really try to make a difference and believe in important ideas and causes. It has been a very rewarding past few years and I have been able to greatly contribute to these organizations with my photographs and design skills.

After seeing the meltdown of the corporate infrastructure that so many of my fellow graduates worshipped, I never question the direction that I took after Bowdoin. I can honestly say that by working for a number of nonprofits that I have advanced my career, contributed to some wonderful causes, published my photographs in various magazines that profiled the nonprofits I worked for, made a decent paycheck at the end of the day and I did not sell my soul to the devil (i.e. corporate dishonesty). The flexibility of some of these jobs allowed me to pursue my graduate degree and thesis, entitled, "A Photo Documentary Study of Contemporary Women in the Maine Fishing Industry."

What are the one or two events, courses or people that stand out in your mind from your time at Bowdoin? Please explain. At the beginning of my freshman year, I played an outside concert in the hole of the VAC. There I was with my cello and an assembled group of very cool Bowdoin folk. It was nighttime and there was thunder and lightening. Two minutes into the concert the power went out but I continued to play anyway. The wind was howling, thunder was rolling and the hole of the VAC was like a wind tunnel. People thought it was the wildest thing that they had ever been to.

One of my favorite courses was Caribbean Literature with Professor Irlene Francois, a visiting Professor and Haitian native. The class was wonderful and we read so many great books. Professor Francois' insight on Haiti ad the Caribbean brought a depth to the class that no other American English professor ever could have. Best of all we had the opportunity to meet two of the authors that we read, Edwidge Danticat and Michelle Cliff. I will always remember meeting Edwidge Danticat, and paying close attention to her braided hair, a topic that she had written about in great detail and one that I truly believe is an unrecognized art form. Still to this day, she is one of my favorite authors.

Has studying sociology or anthropology impacted your perspective? (personally, professionally or other?) If so, how? Definitely! I decided to combine my photography skills and my knowledge of Anthropology when I set about completing my thesis for the Brooks Institute. My thesis offers a look at women in Maine fishing through oral testimonies and photographs. I was able to use some of the anthropological research methods that I learned about while at student at Bowdoin. The union of photographs and oral testimonies offers a more in-depth view at the culture of women in Maine fishing - one that even suggests a visual anthropological perspective.

No other thesis that has ever come out of Brooks has ever approached the idea of valid documentation because the photographs are usually taken with a commercial purpose in mind, a commercial style, and the photographer barely attempts to get to know the people in their pictures. I am not saying that I completed a perfect thesis, but I took a bigger leap than most in my program. I traveled on lobster boats. I culled lobsters in between snapping photos. I accompanied urchin divers out to sea in December, on an unheated boat. I did not build a photo set to emulate a fishing scene. Instead I got down to the nitty-gritty and met real fisherman with real boats and worked with what I had. I did not create an artificial environment to achieve the ideal "commercial scene." I went shooting when they fished, even if the weather was poor.

My degree in Anthropology was certainly reflected in my Photography thesis. There is no way that I could have just photographed my informants. There is so much more to them and what they do. Additionally, they also have opinions and important ideas to share, and I couldn't ignore that. Someone who understands Anthropology does not simply drive to Boothbay, snap a few pictures of female fisherman unloading their lobsters and claim that they have a better understanding of the women in Maine fishing. They are driven to ask questions and learn as much as they can about what it is like to be a woman in fishing. Only then will they realize that it is not a "picture perfect" lifestyle. With that attitude, a photographer is no better than a tourist.

Is there a piece of advice you wish someone had offered you while still an undergraduate student in Brunswick? I wish someone had told me not to take out any more student loans!

Katie Pakos Rimer '92

Major(s):Sociology

Minor(if any):Biology

Where do you live and work? I live in Cambridge, MA and am finishing a doctorate at Harvard Graduate School of Education, in Human Development and Psychology. I also work part-time at Christ Episcopal Church in Andover, Massachusetts. And I'm a mom of a 2 1/2 year old, with another baby on the way.

What is your occupation(s)? I am an Episcopal priest and trained as a hospital chaplain.

What did you do immediately after graduating from Bowdoin? With a Watson Fellowship, I traveled to Bogota, Colombia, to work in an urban barrio doing health education. I ended up doing a lot more, i.e., repairing houses, tutoring kids, community organizing, etc. It was a fabulous, life-shaping experience.

What has been your most worthwhile professional experience? I would say my time in Bogota, followed by two years in Washington, D.C., when I worked for the Health Subcommittee of the Committee on Ways and Means, during the Clintons' struggle to reform healthcare. After living and working among the poor in Bogota it was a shock to be in the shiny halls of the House Office Buildings and the Capitol! I was pretty disillusioned by what I saw in Washington -- I didn't feel a commitment to improving access to healthcare for the poor that I'd expected, and this, while painful, got me searching in other directions as to how I would create my life's work. I always knew I would do something health related, so I considered medical school...but meanwhile I had plugged into a dynamic Episcopal church on Capitol Hill and had the chance to lead youth and adult trips to Honduras. I started getting feedback that maybe I should think about ministry, which felt like a total curveball to me (I had been raised Catholic, and hadn't even attended church through college), but I eventually applied to Harvard Divinity School, knowing that while there I could keep exploring my options. I started at HDS in the Fall of 1995.

What are the one or two events, courses or people that stand out in your mind from your time at Bowdoin? Please explain. I would say Susan Bell, my advisor, and her courses in Medical Sociology, and Carey Philips, and his computer modeling seminars in Developmental Biology. Susan introduced me to the field of Sociology, and having always been interested in medicine, Susan's courses brought a whole new perspective on thinking about health and illness. I discovered that I was more interested in the social/psychological aspects of medicine than in the science of it, though I love both. I wrote my master's thesis at Harvard Divinity School on the social and religious constructions of women's experience with breast cancer, and in my current doctoral work, I am studying a group of physicians who opted for training in "spiritual care" and looking at how this curriculum influences the way they interact with patients. I've been invited to lecture at Harvard Medical School through the Department of Service Learning about my work.

Has studying sociology or anthropology impacted your perspective (personally, professionally or other?) If so, how? YES! I am still a sociologist through and through, only now I've added the dimensions of psychology and spirituality. I find the interplay of culture, psyche, body and soul fascinating, and this interest took root while at Bowdoin. Many of my colleagues in ministry entered the field through a love of Church history or the study of scripture, while what drew me in was primarily my fascination with people and the pathos and victories of people struggling to make meaning through the varied circumstances in their lives. While I'm no church historian and I can't exactly quote scripture offhand, I have to believe that people long for ministers who can connect to their human experiences, and that's what I try to do. I especially like working with people in the healthcare setting, as this ties together all my interests.

Is there a piece of advice you wish someone had offered you while still an undergraduate student in Brunswick? I feel like I stumbled into the opportunity to do the Watson Fellowship and feel so grateful for it. I think international travel after college is so important - not just for learning about the world, but for learning about oneself. I traveled alone through South America for two months that year. Now that I'm a mom and more "tied down" I realize what a precious opportunity that was.

Quote that has most influenced, impacted or shaped your life: I think Eleanor Roosevelt said, "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." I also cherish the quote from the gospel of Luke, "For behold, the Kingdom of God is within you."

Sara Withers '99

Major: Anthropology

Where do you currently live? How did you arrive at the geographical location where you are? I live in Waltham, MA, just outside of Boston. I moved to Boston the year after I graduated because I did Americorps VISTA for a year in Boston, and then moved to Waltham because I entered the PhD program in Anthropology and Women's Studies at Brandies University.

What is your current occupation or position? Please describe what you do. I am currently a graduate student at Brandeis. I'm in my third year here, almost finished with course work, and ready to begin my own dissertation research and writing.

Why did you choose this work? I decided to become an anthropologist for a variety of reasons. Going to graduate school and entering academia are great ways to continuously surround yourself with stimulating, interesting people and ideas - you are always challenged and made to think about what you and others are doing. Also, especially now, it is important to have a global perspective on life - both to help one appreciate and respect others' cultures and ways of life, as well as to give you new ways of seeing your own culture - and anthropology is a great way to gain this perspective. Finally, I love to learn about other peoples and places, and I love to travel. I wanted to be able to share some of this excitement with other people, and a good way to do this is through becoming a professor and teaching others about the discipline.

What did you do after graduation? As I said above, I did Americorps VISTA for the year after graduation. I worked at two different organizations in Boston during my time as a volunteer. The first place I worked was an organization that did public policy work for low income housing issues, and the second was a non-profit that worked in schools around the Boston area, teaching a violence prevention/peace and justice curriculum. In this organization I helped another Americorps member teach once a week in a 5th grade classroom, and also helped design and plan afterschool programs for the different schools.

What is the most worthwhile academic/professional experience you have had? Please explain. I think my Americorps experiences were extremely worthwhile for me. Going to college at places like Bowdoin tend to make one forget that there are many other people in the world who are not getting the wonderful opportunities and education that you are, and by working with VISTA in Boston, I was reminded that I need to appreciate the experiences I have had, and work hard to give back something to others who have not been as fortunate.

What are the one or two events, courses or people that stand out in your mind from your experiences at Bowdoin? Please explain. Probably the two most important aspects of my time at Bowdoin were writing my honors thesis with Professor Dickey and rowing for the crew team. Writing my thesis was the most challenging academic experience I had at Bowdoin - the most challenging, but the most rewarding as well. I really loved (most of the time!) the research, traveling back to Sri Lanka to do fieldwork, the writing, and working closely with a great professor to create the finished project. I would say that that experience was the main reason that I seriously considered graduate school and a possible career in academia. Rowing was the other most important part of my life at Bowdoin. There is nothing in the world like waking up at 5 a.m. to get out onto the water to practice while the sun rises over the river. Rowing gave me a much needed outlet from the pressures of the academic side of Bowdoin, and created friendships that have lasted much beyond graduation.

Has studying anthropology impacted your perspective (personally, professionally or other)? If so, how? Studying anthropology has broadened my perspectives on the world, and because of the emphasis on cultural relativism within anthropology, has made it easier for me to accept the variety of ways in which people think and act.

Is there a piece of advice you wish someone had offered you while still an undergraduate student in Brunswick? If so, what is this piece of advice? The one piece of advice I would give would be to take advantage of as many opportunities at Bowdoin and in Brunswick as you possibly can. Write a thesis and work closely with a professor, volunteer your time in Brunswick's schools or shelters or hospitals, do theater, sports, or music, go on trips with the Outing Club... just enjoy your time at Bowdoin, because you are probably never going to have so many great opportunities at your fingertips as you do right now.


Jo Horn '98

Majors: Anthropology and Women's Studies

Where do you currently live? I have recently moved to New York City.

How did you arrive at the geographical location where you are? After finishing graduate school in the Detroit area, I knew I wanted to do community organizing work in an urban environment. I am a born-and-bred New Englander, so New York became the place. It also helps to have friends in town.

What is your current occupation? I am the Associate Director of Make A Better Place [MABP], a nonprofit organization on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The mission is to introduce young people to photography and writing as a vehicle for personal enrichment and positive social change. MABP is a small, grassroots organization. My work focuses mainly in the field of development, which entails creating new funding streams, building program support, envisioning sustainable growth strategies for the organization, and initiating community outreach/education campaigns.

Why did you choose this work? From my time at Bowdoin, I have always been interested in the arts as a vehicle for social change and community empowerment. After finishing a MSW at the University of Michigan (concentrating on Community Organizing and Community Arts/Nonprofit management), I was even more confident in my chosen path.

What did you do after graduation from Bowdoin? After graduation, I spent some time working in the public education system in Vermont (and realized teaching in school was not my calling) and then received a fellowship to travel for one year. I studied Kandyan Dance in Sri Lanka, where I had previously been on the ISLE program. Upon returning from Sri Lanka, I moved back to Brunswick and found an amazing job as an artist mentor at Spindleworks on Lincoln Street.

What is the most worthwhile academic/professional experience you have had? My work at Spindleworks was incredible, not only because it was a unique creative outlet, but because I had the opportunity to live, learn, and grow with people in my own community who are often considered incapable or hopeless. Technically speaking, Spindleworks is an art cooperative for developmentally disabled adults. Realistically speaking, it is an opportunity for artists with diverse strengths to collaborate and dialogue.

I also had an amazing time at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. The Social Work program is fantastic; there is a huge emphasis on fieldwork. I had a chance to work with a social justice puppet theatre, as well as directing outreach at a community art center.

What are the one or two events, courses or people that stand out in your mind from your experiences at Bowdoin? I entered Bowdoin with the intent of becoming an archaeologist. First-year classes in more contemporary Anthropology, and the linkages with Sociology and Women's Studies, quickly changed that. I became fascinated by the development and expression of groups of people. I will never forget Women's Studies 101 - it completely altered my philosophy on life. I walked into the class during the fall of my first year as a young woman who did not believe that "gender" was an issue. I had no insight into social construction. By the end of that class, I had registered for two more women's studies classes, and was talking about Feminist Theory in all of my interactions with the Sociology and Anthropology Department.

Has studying sociology or anthropology impacted your perspective? If so, how? Incredibly. As I mentioned above, studying Anthropology and Sociology gave me the tools and perspectives to look at people, to understand social dynamics, and to be dedicated to cultural relativism. Since that time, I have continued to explore this path through studying community organizing, and working in the community arts field.

Is there a piece of advice you wish someone had offered you while still an undergraduate student in Brunswick? If so, what is this advice? Find the rest of Brunswick, and utilize it as a resource. Bowdoin is but a small piece of that world.

Eric Pavri '98

Majors: Anthropology, Geology

Where do you currently live? How did you arrive at the geographical location where you are? I've lived among the saguaros here in Tucson, Arizona since September, when I arrived to begin graduate school.

What is your current occupation? Please describe what you do. I'm a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Arizona, in my first year of candicacy for a Masters degree. I focus on the subfield of applied anthropology, with an emphasis on international development issues. I'm interested in the uses and limits of technological solutions to poverty in "developing" nations, and the potential for anthropology to question and engage political and economic inequity. In addition to classes, I interview refugee populations and refugee aid agencies to help the State of Arizona improve childcare and vocational training services.

Why did you choose this work? After graduating from Bowdoin, I was frustrated by what I saw as academia's failure to challenge the injust manner in which the world's resources are controlled and distributed. I was drawn to Arizona because it has the nation's best-established program in applied anthropology, an approach that wields the methods and theories of social science as tools to influence policy in practical ways.

What did you do after graduation? At graduation, I declined a Fulbright Fellowship in anthropology to join the Peace Corps. I had about 9 months between graduation and the Peace Corps, so I hiked and camped in the Rocky Mountains and Cascades for about three months, then worked as a National Park Ranger in New Mexico. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala for three years, I trained caprenters and masons in the construction of low-cost, simple technologies (such as water pumps, latrines, cookstoves, grain silos, and water tanks) that can improve health conditions and generate income in rural households. I returned to the US, worked again as a National Park Ranger in California, went back to Guatemala to train a new group of Peace Corps Volunteers, and started graduate classes one day after flying back to the United States.

What is the most worthwhile academic/professional experience you have had? Please explain. Working in Central America helped me to realize that eloquent words and idealism cannot by themselves bring about change. Grand solutions must be achieved though the daily struggle to solve practical problems.

What are the one or two events, courses or people that stand out in your mind from your experiences at Bowdoin? Please explain. Two professors, Scott MacEachern and Genevieve Lemoine, encouraged and supported my interest in anthropology - and always listened with admirable patience to my frustrations with and questioning of their profession.

Has studying sociology or anthropology impacted your perspective (personally, professionally or other)? If so, how? My readings in anthropology have helped me to think with a broader perspective about the development field in which I have worked, and its often uncritical acceptance of "modernization" and macroeconomic growth as guiding principles.

Is there a piece of advice you wish someone had offered you while still anundergraduate student in Brunswick? If so, what is this piece of advice? If you want to go to grad school in the social sciences, wait for a few years after you graduate. Out of 15 entering students in my anthropology class, I was the youngest at 26 years of age. Live in the world, fall in love, fall out of love, get sick, get dirty, and begin to learn how people really work before you write about them.

Romelia S. Leach '94

Major: Sociology

Minor: Government

Where do you currently live? Hollywood, California.

How did you arrive at the geographical location where you are? I moved to Los Angeles in April 1998 from Boston to break into the entertainment industry. Since I graduated from Bowdoin I was determined to try entertainment. I had learned to operate a video camera through my work for the Audio-Visual Department and I learned to edit while working on the senior video at the end of my sophomore year. That project peaked my interest in editing and after doing it for two more years I felt a pull to the business. Unfortunately, it took me another four years before I could make my way to L.A.

What is your current occupation? Please describe what you do. I am currently a Production Manager for a small television company, Gay Rosenthal Productions. My boss, Gay Rosenthal, is best known for the series VH-1 Behind the Music, which she co-created. We no longer produce those shows, but we have had much success in similar types of documentary shows. Currently, we are heading into the reality genre with one pilot in the works for CBS and another for Bravo. My job as Production Manager is to take care of all of the logistics for each of our productions including booking the crew, travel and everything required to have a successful production. I supervise a small staff of three who oversees our office facilities and production spaces. I also manage our vendor relationships and all production and corporate accounts. The majority of this business is made up of freelancers, but I have been a core staff member since I joined the company in January 2002. As a result, I end up with more responsibilities then would normally go to a Production Manager who would only come in for the duration of the production.

In three months, however, I will be leaving the entertainment industry and the West Coast behind to begin law school in New York. I have not officially decided on which school I will be attending, but it's looking good for Fordham University School of Law. Law has always been a career that I've cradled in the back of my mind, but I hadn't been ready to pursue it until now. While I am still in awe by the magic of the business, I can no longer see myself working in the industry. Practicing law can give me a certain sense of fulfillment for having touched someone's life that my involvement in entertainment cannot. At this stage I believe law is the career I was meant to have. At least it feels right.

Why did you choose this work? When I moved to L.A. to break into the industry, I didn't have a specific direction that I wanted to follow. I had some ideas, but I started where most people in this business start, as a Production Assistant. PA's are the backbone of the entertainment industry. They work long hours and are paid very little, but without them the industry wouldn't survive. As a PA you can observe all of the various positions on a set or in an office and determine which position best fits you. My first few PA jobs were on film and television sets. At first I was pursuing a course that would eventually lead me to a highly visible and responsible position on any set, an Associate Director. While working as a set PA on the cops on bike show, Pacific Blue, I realized that I would be on the set a minimum of 12 hours five days a week. The work was exhausting and it left little time for anything else. I also realized I wanted to be involved in the whole process from beginning to end so I started to switch directions. I ended up working as a corporate PA for Carsey-Werner-Mandabach (creators of The Cosby Show, Roseanne, That '70's Show and many other successful tv shows). At the same time I joined, CWM Oxygen Media was beginning it's ascent into the densely populated cable network. I joined the Oxygen family six months after I started at CWM as a PA and quickly became involved in the administrative responsibilities of setting up the L.A. based office. This lead me to being a Production Coordinator which is a step under Production Manager. I was good at the work and I enjoyed it. My work as coordinator at Oxygen led me to my current position at GRP. In actuality, my boss at Oxygen is also my boss at GRP.

What did you do after graduation? The first year after graduation I worked in the Audio-Visual department at Bowdoin. I was hired to be Assistant Director of AV, but ended us as the Acting Director of the department for the first semester because the director went out for heart surgery. That was a big job because I had a student staff of about 20 and a full time staff member whom I had to fire within the first few months of me starting. I learned quickly how the real working world operates. I only stayed in that position through June 1995. Afterwards, I worked as Assistant Manager of Summer Programs. That was a department I had worked in during the previous two summers. In August of 1995 I moved to Boston to pursue some connections in the production world. It didn't quite pan out as I had hoped so I ended up temping at various financial companies including the then Bank of Boston (now Fleet Boston). I also worked for about three months at the Harvard Coop Bookstore. It was a tough year and a half. Life was not always kind to me, which was a real eye-opener after having lived a very comfortable existence at Bowdoin. I struggled for a long time, hitting rock bottom. I'm glad that it happened when it did, however, because I got an early start to polishing my survival skills. I have a greater appreciation for the fight back from downtrodden to strong and secure. It wasn't until November 1996 that I was able to land a full time job working in the customer service department of an insurance company that sold annuities. That couldn't have been any further from my goals, but by then my goals shifted to accommodate my then current situation, shear survival. I got that job after temping at the company for a week. I loved it because I learned about investments and the market and I earned my Series 6 license (license to sell annuities and mutual funds). These were things I knew very little about, if anything at all. I enjoyed the stability it provided me. After having been there for almost a year, the company decided to reorganize and that was my cue to figure out if I wanted to stay or pursue what I had been attempting to do since graduation. I decided that it was the right time to head West. I resigned from my job, sold my furniture, packed up my car with most of my worldly possessions and drove out to L.A. with a friend in April 1998. Although I was armed with lots of people to contact once I reached sunny L.A., I had no job and only a place to crash for a short while. I remember standing on the street saying goodbye to my friend and thinking "What the hell do I do now?"

What is the most worthwhile academic/professional experience you have had? Please explain. There are three things that come to mind. The first would be my study abroad to Kenya. That program was a profoundly rich experience for me. The year that I was there was the first time the people of Kenya could participate in true multi-party elections. It was an incredible experience to be there and watch the whole process unfold. The program was designed in a way to maximize learning from field experience and not so much in-class work. That approach allowed us to get close to the people and experience how they live. That trip will always stay with me. The second experience was doing my honors thesis. It was an oral history on the life of Lucille Young, a sixty-something-year-old woman from the south. The experience of writing about Lucille's hardships growing up in Jim Crow Mississippi and eventual successes once she migrated to Portland, ME was the perfect culmination of four years of women's study, anthropology and sociology. I am very proud of that work. Lastly, I look back at my first year at Oxygen and I also feel proud to have been part of a new vision for not just women's television, but television in general. A team of us worked very hard to provide the network with enough programming for it's winter 2000 launch. How many chances does one get to be on the ground floor of a brand new company?

What are the one or two events, courses or people that stand out in your mind from your experiences at Bowdoin? Please explain. There were two events that were staged by students that remind me of people's potential to affect change or to stir up dormant emotions in those surrounding them. During my first year, a large number of students blocked the entrance to the administration building, which because of the design also blocked the entrance to the library, in order to make a statement about the college's degree of diversity. Of course, it wasn't greeted well, but it got the school's attention and more discussions were held as a result. The other moment was after the not-guilty Rodney King verdict was handed down. A then visiting professor, Becky Thompson, galvanized a group of students and the press to come to a rally the next morning. Students spoke from their heart about their reactions to the verdict and Becky gave an impassioned speech about the message that verdict sent to our society. It was one of those moments that made you step back and think how much even just one person could accomplish with a little passion and some vision.

One course in particular stands out for me. It was a sociology class that I had taken the second semester of my sophomore year with Becky Thompson The class was about race, gender and sexuality. The class made everyone truly uncomfortable because it forced all of us to step out of our skins and attempt to understand the experiences of those in the class. It also challenged us to examine our own life experiences through the selected reading assignments. Our final exam was not an exam, but an anthology that the whole class worked together to produce. It was comprised of written pieces by class members which a small group of students edited. This was an opportunity for all of us to take more away from the class and to contribute to the work we were studying.

As for people, many of them stand out. I am still able to turn to a number of individuals after having graduated for almost nine years, most specifically Susan Bell, who has been a big supporter of mine since advising me on my senior thesis. She was one of my recommenders for law school and her recommendation, in no small part, played a roll in my acceptance to 11 out of 12 law schools to date.

Has studying sociology and anthropology impacted your perspective? If so, how? Absolutely. I've been managing people in a professional capacity for a number of years and I've discovered that my background in sociology has helped me understand how they interact with me and with each other. I believe I'm better equipped to handle interpersonal relationships because of sociology. I find myself trying to get a better sense of situations, reactions and problems with friends, family and co-workers which would give me better insight to that individual.

Is there a piece of advice you wish someone had offered you while still an undergraduate student in Brunswick? If so, what is this piece of advice? I would say that not everything - job, apartment, money - will automatically fall into place the way we believe they would while in college. It takes a lot more work once you're out in the real world to make your world work smoothly. There are many directions that you could take, so don't feel compelled to settle into one immediately. I've met many people who have lived many lives and feel richer for having done so. Do what you love and everything else will eventually fall into place.

Adam Weinberg '87

Majors: Sociology and History

Ph.D. Northwestern University, Sociology

Where do you currently live? How did you arrive at the geographical location where you are? I live in Hamilton, NY. I came here 8 years ago to teach at Colgate Univeristy. After attending Bowdoin, I only looked at small liberal arts colleges.

What is your current occupation or position? Please describe what you do. I am the Dean of the College. My job description is simple: I am responsible for everything that happens to a Colgate student from the moment they are admitted to Colgate to the moment they graduate. We have a dean of the faculty and a director of athletics. I basically oversee all the rest. I oversee our student affairs rograms. I am also responsible for the mood of the campus. As such, I am typically involved in whatever crisis is gripping campus at a given moment.

What did you do after graduation? After Bowdoin, I spent a year traveling through Europe. It was wonderful. I studied at Cambridge, tended bar at a small pub, washed windows, and generally learned a lot about myself. I learned that I had somewhat competiting passions for the world of ideas and the world of action. I wanted to be both an actor in social change, but I also love the process of removing myself from the world to engage in reflection and thought. It was a true growth period of my life. I always encourage my Colgate students to do the same.

I then went to Washington to work on Capital Hill, where I quickly became disillusioned with politics. I had always thought that I wanted to spend my life involved in politics and social change. After Washington, I was stumped. A few Bowdoin professors suggested that I think about graduate school. I had developed a passion for sociology at Bowdoin. When I asked myself a simple question: who has been a role model? Whom do I want to be like when I grow up? The answer was simple: Professors McEwen and Bell. They always seemed to blend teaching, research, and social action in ways that allowed them to be actors in the world of change (read policy) and the world of ideas. My Bowdoin classmates tease me that I have spent 15 years trying to become the Craig McEwen of Colgate. They are not all wrong. My Bowdoin professors were great role models. They also blended careers with family. Everybody should read Professor Bell's essay on raising her children and schools.

I enrolled at Northwestern hoping to find a way to blend a career at the intersection of education and democracy. I wrote a disseration on my experiences working as a community organizer around toxic chemical pollution issues. It was a wonderful experience. I spent half of my time working as a community organizer. I spent the rest of the time sitting at the Northwestern library reading great books and writing mediocre essays. In between I taught classes which allowed me to be a scholar and community organizer at the same time. I was in heaven.

I also discoved service learning. Service learning seemed to be a great way to blend my interests in research, my passion for teaching, and my need to be involved in social action. I taught in a field school that gave students academic credit for working in non-profits. I quickly learned that the classroom enhanced the internship. They brought the sociological imagination to the internship which allowed them to understand the setting better. It also gave them intellectual tools to actually help the non-profit. I learned that volunteers often drain non-profits of scare resources. But students could do real intellectual projects that added value to the work of the non-profits. Likewise the internship enhanced the classroom. Students had experiences that allowed them to really grapple with deep social theory. They also came to class deseparate to talk.

What is the most worthwhile academic/professional experience you have had? Please explain. When I came to Colgate, the college was struggling with a downtown village that was falling apart. I spent six years, teaching sociology classes that got students involved in the revitalization of the downtown. Over 300 of my students did research for grants, worked with micro-businesses, helped communities engage in community visioning. Over the period, Colgate helped attract 11 million dollars of money into the community. We started two non-profits, rebuilt the downtown, and helped local people start neat businesses. In the course of doing it, my students learned about community development up close. I published a number of papers on community development.

These links will take you to a few articles about my work:

Has studying anthropology impacted your perspective (personally, professionally or other)? If so, how? Sociology and academe have been wonderful to me. I have been allowed to change as my needs and desires changed. I have worked at a local level on community projects. I have served on task forces in Washington for the Clinton Administration. I helped launch a community service center called the COVE. A couple of years ago, I worked with a former student who plays in the NBA to launch a non-profit called Democracy Matters. We are working to engage young people in politics (www.democracymatters.org). Along the way, I took a year and half basically off to stay at home with my daughter. For six years, I was the person who took my kids to school and picked them up in the afternoon.

Deborah M. Merrill '84

Major: Sociology

M.A., Brown University, 1988

Ph.D., Brown University, 1991

Where do you live and work? I live in Sutton, MA which is just south of Worcester. I moved to the Worcester area 11 years ago so that I could teach at Clark University. I chose Sutton because I like living in the country and because it is an easier commute for my husband who works in the Boston area.

What is your occupation? I am an Associate Professor of Sociology and the Associate Dean of the College at Clark University. I chose to teach sociology rather than be a researcher because I wanted to provide the kind of mentoring that I had received at Bowdoin. Clark seemed like the sort of university that would support this and where I could also have a research career (my areas of specialization are gerontology, medicine, and demography). Two years ago I became the Associate Dean of the College. This career move seemed like a good opportunity to have a direct impact on the undergraduate curriculum.

What did you do immediately after graduating from Bowdoin? After graduation from Bowdoin, I went to Indiana University for one year where I was in a Master's in Public Administration program. IU has a very good program, but I wanted something more intellectually challenging. So I took a year off and got a job working at The RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA. I worked as a survey analyst and research assistant. I really enjoyed what I was doing, but I knew that I would need an advanced degree to oversee my own research. I was interested in Demography, so I went to Brown University which has a terrific Population Studies and Training Center.

What has been your most worthwhile professional experience? My most worthwhile professional experiences are when I can help students. I have been able to assist students who might otherwise have quit school by, for example, helping them to find a program or career goal that could help them to stay focused. I have also been able to make things a little easier for students who have been struggling and to challenge our very best students. I have received awards for my research, but nothing means as much as a "thank you" from a student.

What are the one or two events, courses or people that stand out in your mind from your time at Bowdoin? Please explain. Professors Craig McEwen and Liliane Floge were my mentors at Bowdoin. They helped me immeasurably by teaching me about social science research and helping me with my writing. They have been role models for the kind of professor that I have tried to be.

Has studying sociology or anthropology impacted your perspective (personally, professionally or other)? If so, how? Sociology certainly changed my life, so much so that I went on to study it in graduate school. It helped me to make sense of the world around me and the events in my life. It gives me something to think about and to challenge by mind.

Is there a piece of advice you wish someone had offered you while still an undergraduate student in Brunswick? If so, what is this piece of advice? Most of the courses that I took were in the social sciences. I wish that I had taken more art history, music, math, and chemistry. I would encourage anyone to take a wide range of subjects because they might not have another chance to do so.

David Alan Davis '81

Majors: Sociology and Government

Where do you currently live? Los Angeles, CA. The day after I finished my last exam, I took the Green Tortoise Bus from Boston to San Francisco which took 10 days. I wanted to live in California and be involved in the film or music business. I loved Northern California and only came to Los Angeles in 1987 for two years to get my MBA at UCLA. I'm still here 15+ years later.

What is your current occupation? Please describe what you do. I am a Senior Vice President for an Investment Bank called Houlihan Lokey Howard and Zukin, where I oversee our Advisory practice in Entertainment & Media. I have the best job in the world as I spend all day thinking about and working with very interesting issues involving film, TV, music and the forces that are impacting these industries.

Why did you choose this work? Because it's fun.

What did you do after graduation? I worked first at an independent record store in Berkeley, CA, played chess (almost a master not quite, but I did lose once to former world champion Boris Spassky), and played in a folk-rock-punk band called the Dave Davis Trio. In 1987, I went to grad school and in 1989 I worked for a media research and consulting company where I wrote expert reports about the movie and TV businesses.

What is the most worthwhile academic/professional experience you have had? Please explain. Well... Pick from: Going first to Andover for 2 years and Bowdoin for 3.5 years. Having teachers like Craig McEwen, Johnny Donovan, Randy Stakeman and Matilda White Riley. Starring in a Harvard Business School Case. Being the expert witness on the Disney-Katzenberg lawsuit. Meeting Senator George Mitchell today!

What are the one or two events, courses or people that stand out in your mind from your experiences at Bowdoin? Hanging out with Jim Roux and all our great friends. Finding out that my classmate in history, Joan Benoit, was running and winning the Boston Marathon.

Has studying sociology or anthropology impacted your perspective? If so, how? Very much so. Craig McEwen and Mrs. Riley's classes were so much fun and very interesting. I keep a little bit of their teaching and knowledge in the way that I perceive the world of business, entertainment and life.

Is there a piece of advice you wish someone had offered you while still an undergraduate student in Brunswick? If so, what is this piece of advice? Don't go for money, go for fun and intellectual stimulation. Take a deep breath and enjoy what's around you.