Story in the College of Arts & Sciences
Shannon Gleeson '02
SCU teaches sociology major qualitatively and quantitatively, opening up a range of career paths in the field.
Hands-on research at Santa Clara helped Shannon Gleeson '02 find her passion.
She came to the University uncertain of what she wanted to study. But working with Associate Sociology Professor Laura Nichols, Gleeson gained experience conducting field research with a local community group, and ultimately decided to pursue graduate work in sociology. Today, she's an assistant professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at UC Santa Cruz.
"Santa Clara's sociology program is unique in the sense that it provides students—requires of students, actually—training in both qualitative and quantitative research. It gave me a wide view of the different options," Gleeson says.
Gleeson's connections with faculty members guided her decisions. She was encouraged to participate in a sociology conference and to pursue community outreach. "I found that I had more access to my professors as an undergraduate at Santa Clara than I did as a graduate student at a UC school," Gleeson says. "My Santa Clara professors always had an open door policy. They were pivotal in supporting my applications for graduate school."
One project she was involved in as an undergraduate mapped the assets and skills of women living in a shelter. "It was good experience in how to put classroom skills into practice. At the end of the day, we had a product we could present to the community group. That's something that makes the work relevant," she says.