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Department ofSociology


2016 Witold Krassowski Student Research Assistant Endowed Award

Laura Robinson was the first faculty member to receive the Witold Krassowski Student Research Assistant Endowed Award. The endowment was established by Dr. and Mrs. Ronald Andersen, Class of 1960, in honor of Dr. Witold Krassowski, beloved and first Professor and Chair of the department of Sociology, and to recognize the profound impact Dr. Krassowski had on Dr. Andersen’s academic career at Santa Clara University as well as professionally. The award is to support faculty research activities during one or more terms of the academic year, the summer, or both. Thanks to this generous funding, Robinson has worked with three of our sociology majors on projects centering on the sociology of Latin America: Óscar Quiroz-Medrano, Jenna Harrison, and Nicole Speciale. The themes explored include media innovation, social movements, and societal change in Brazil and Latin America. Jenna Harrison and Nicole Speciale served as Assistant Editors for two volumes with Emerald Studies in Media and Communications.

Jenna Harrison (2016 SCU magna cum lade graduate in Sociology and political science) was Assistant Editor for Volume 12 of Emerald Studies in Media and Communications: “Digital Empowerment: Opportunities and Challenges of Inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean.” The volume assembles relevant research on the mobile broadband revolution in Latin America and the Caribbean. Jenna, who is now studying law at USC Gould School of Law in Los Angeles, described her experiences on the project as follows: "During the summer, I worked for Dr. Robinson, editing book chapters. I gained a lot of insight, a new set of skills and really enjoyed learning about a new topic at the same time. I learned that proofreading is an art, and one that takes more time and patience than I originally realized. However this skill has been very useful during my first year of legal writing in law school as we are not allowed to have anyone else proofread our work. I also learned how to fine-tune my communication skills as I was communicating with others through comments in the margins of a word document, which meant that each comment needed to be clear and succinct. I enjoyed reading each individual section and becoming familiar with the author's style to ensure that I only made a meaning more clear and never changed it. I'm grateful I received the opportunity to work on this project with Dr. Robinson.”

Nicole Speciale (graduating class of 2017) was Assistant Editor for Volume 13 of Emerald Studies in Media and Communications: “Brazil: Media from the Country of the Future.” The volume assembles research on important aspect of Brazilian media and communication in its various forms. Describingher project experiences, Nicole wrote: “I was fortunate enough to work under Dr. Robinson during Fall 2016 as an assistant editor for her Brazilian Media Studies research project. I was able to read the works of international scholars and learned a lot about the formal editing process, especially in the world of academia. Along with refining my editing skills, I gained an understanding of certain social movements in Brazil, the role of media in the facilitation of collective action, and the importance of a plurality of voices and sources in news dissemination.” Before continuing onto graduate school, Nicole hopes to gain hands-on experience in different areas where she can apply her sociology degree. Ideally, she would love to work with transgender children, or in areas of health, addiction, and public policy.

Oscar Quiroz-Medrano (graduating class of 2017) contributed to the project on the Tropicália movement. Although the Tropicália movement is often considered an expression of resistance to the Brazilian military regime, scholars have only paid cursory attention to Tropicália’s use of media innovation to challenge received notions of political protest. Oscar wrote: “While working with Dr. Robison, I had the opportunity to develop firsthand experience conducting research by searching for articles that could be used in the research. While searching through articles, and archives, I learned the hard work that goes into conducting publishable research. It has been a fantastic experience that I will carry with me throughout life.” After graduation, Oscar plans to gain firsthand experience by working with in the education system to develop his professional skills in management and leadership. He then plans to return to school for a masters in education leadership and administration. Currently profiled on our Department of Sociology’s website, Óscar’s “mission is to ultimately become an agent for change within the State Department of Education”.