Adrian Arvizu, Melinda Schultz and Brennan Taylor presented papers at the Pacific Sociological Association held this March in Reno, Nevada. The title of Adrian's presentation was: "Enlistment in the Military: A comparison of Men and Women." Melinda's and Brennan's presentation was "Depression and Military Enlistment." Adrian, Melinda and Brennan are in Jay Teachman's and Lucky Tedrow's linked courses (SOC 400 in Winter and 426 in Spring.)
Watch for flyers and emails about scholarships available for next year. The due date for submissions will be May 1, 2013.
In mid-March, WWU students returned from an international service-learning trip to Kenya and Rwanda led by Sociology Professors Liz Mogford and Seth Feinberg. Needless to say, it was a life-changing experience for all. Thirteen students and one TA enrolled in the 15-credit course INTL 437H: Kenya: Field Studies and International Service-Learning. After convening for several meetings, a weekend retreat, and a week of intensive coursework in Fall quarter and the beginning of Winter quarter, the group journeyed across the world to spend five weeks in western Kenya and two weeks in various sites throughout Rwanda. We learned about the community and cultures of the areas through meetings and conversations with community partners, course readings, faculty led class time, and by participating in service activities. Details of the experience, written in the words of all of the students, can be found on the class blog site: Learning and Serving in East Africa.
This service-learning program centers around the idea that learning is a reciprocal process between WWU and our community partners in ways that both sides benefit through the relationships we build together. Indeed, we found that we learned just as much from our community partners (if not, more) as they learned from us. In Kenya, we lived in a small community called Kochia, located on the south side of Lake Victoria near Homa Bay town. We collaborated primarily with two local organizations: Ombogo Girl’s Academy (a girl’s secondary school) and Abba Integrated School of Excellence (a primary school that also consists of a health clinic and orphanage and is a hub of various community development projects). We all felt incredibly welcomed by the community throughout our stay in Kochia and formed very deep friendships along the way. Western students participated in both group and self-directed activities, such as:
- Computer lessons with Ombogo students and teachers at the school’s newly-installed computer lab
- Working with the Ombogo girls during two community service days in partnership with Abba
- Facilitating bi-weekly group workshops at Ombogo, centered around specific themes such as racism and women’s empowerment
- Participating in strategic business plan meetings at Abba
- Individually meeting with Ombogo teachers to arrange times to teach music, Spanish, and poetry classes
- A meeting with Kobiero Women’s group, whose members provide catering services for events throughout the community as a way to earn money for themselves and their families
- In-class reflection meetings on topics such as community development, global citizenship, gender, racism, history, and politics
Students were amazed by the loving and energetic spirits of the girls as well as their dedication to their education. Many of these girls come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds where secondary education is not easy to afford or attain. Education empowers girls to contribute to the future of Kenya.
Development and aid were constant themes in our class discussions. Students thought critically about what short and long-term projects entail, as we encountered each in both Kenya and Rwanda. For example, we were continually impressed by the accomplishments of Abba. Shortly after one of our walks to see Abba’s water project (a windmill that pumps water to Abba), the director, Emmanuel, described his view of relief versus development. The windmill is a community owned project, which means that locals are responsible for its maintenance and usage, ensuring that the benefits are both sustainable and empowering. The windmill additionally serves as a way for Abba to generate income which it can further invest in projects for the community. We were inspired by Emmanuel’s philosophy that “we grow with what we have.”
In Rwanda, we spent time in Kigali, Gashora, and Kigarama. In Gashora, we partnered with Building Bridges with Rwanda (BBR) and spent time with Covaga women’s group, a women’s basket weaving cooperative. Other activities included visiting the local health center and offering English tutoring to the staff members there. Our guides from BBR were extremely helpful in teaching us about the history and development of Rwanda, especially during our visits to three genocide memorials.
The latter portion of our time in Rwanda was spent at L’Esperance Children’s Village in Kigarama, on the stunning coast of Lake Kivu. There, we learned about several innovative development projects and were inspired by stories from our host, Victor. We also began having discussions on preparing to come home and strategized over how to talk about the trip upon return.
Now that we are back, each student has created an ‘action plan’ that they will implement over the next several months. Examples of projects include raising funds for scholarships at Ombogo, not buying clothes for a year, and starting volunteer groups that will commit to working with a local organization each month. This particular cohort of WWU students was absolutely amazing throughout the entirety of the trip, and we have no doubt that they will carry their projects through with both passion and a willingness to communicate to others what they’ve learned.
Kristin Anderson published a commentary entitled “Why do We Fail to Ask ‘Why’ About Gender and Intimate Partner Violence?” in the April 2013 issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.
Seth Feinberg was awarded a Fulbright Award to teach in Japan next year. He will be teaching courses about the United States to Japanese students at Tsuda College and Kyoritsu Women's University from September to July.
Jen Lois spoke about her book, based on her research with homeschooling mothers, as part of the CHSS’s Dean’s Lecture Series. The talk, “Home Is Where the School Is: The Logic of Homeschooling and the Emotional Labor of Mothering,” was co-sponsored by the City of Bellingham, recorded by Bellingham TV Channel 10.
Baozhen Luo is publishing the following:
- Zhan, Heying, Baozhen Luo, and Gehui Zhang. (Forthcoming) “Faith and Health: Meanings of Faith for Chinese Elders with Diverse Religious Backgrounds.” Ageing International.
- Luo, Baozhen, Kui Zhou, Eun Jung Jin, Alisha Newman, and Jiayin Liang (2013). “Ageism among College Students: A Comparative Study of U.S. and China.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 28: 49-63.
- Both Eun Jung Jin and Alisha Newman are alumni, and worked with Prof. Luo as research assistants.
Michael Deroche has just been hired by the King County Sheriff's Department.
McCall Kosareff (2012) is working at a guest house in Cape Town, South Africa, and spending lots of time surfing, camping, and kite boarding. She will return to the U.S. this spring and plans to begin work on a Chemical Dependency Professional Certification at Edmonds Community College.
Charlie Stone (2004) received his PhD from Macquarie University (Sydney) in 2011. Currently he is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Universite' catholique de Louvain in Belgium. He has been offered an assistant professorship at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at City University of New York (CUNY), starting Fall 2013.
Applications for Fall 2013 graduation are due June 6, 2013.
Submit your Degree Application to the Registrar's Office, along with your major/minor evaluation. And celebrate!