by Jodie Butler
It’s Sociology Week at NIU, and what an interesting week it has been.
From the Secret Service to Bethesda Lutheran Communities, Jack King from the Department of Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has put together panels to inspire current sociology students.
Watching the individual speakers arrive at the talks is like watching a warm and happy reunion, and these alumni are passionate about what they’re doing and about helping the new generation of sociologists be prepared for the current competitive job market and graduate school.
NIU alumnus after NIU alumna came to greet and encourage and even in some instances begin the process of hiring the students in attendance.
The first night, a gentleman from the Secret Service spoke, and I could tell you what he said, but then they’d have to … you know … get it approved. Nonetheless, the talk was excellent and beyond informative and interesting.
Wednesday night’s presentations were just as enlightening as Deanna Cada, the program manager and deputy director of Kane County Court Services, and James Edwards, chief managing officer of the Juvenile Division of McHenry County Department of Probation and Court Services, took the floor and explained the changing theories of successful treatment for the criminal population especially those on probation.
They explained how, in the past, popular programs meant to scare at risk populations and force them straight were often implemented without good empirical research that supports their effectiveness. However, today’s probation professional understands that evidence-based research shows a clear path to reduce recidivism and guide at risk individuals toward healthy goals by understanding criminal motivation.
From Bethesda Lutheran Communities, Pat Brady and Allie Pueler spoke about opportunities for both careers and internships in the field of intellectual disability care. Adam and Glenn, two Bethesda residents from the local area completely charmed the room.
Brady briefly discussed the long and rich history of the Bethesda Community while Pueler talked about the different types of jobs and internships available to sociology students. In her short career, Pueler has done some remarkable things including going to Nicaragua for a summer as a NIU sociology student intern to help women in business.
Sociology week has made it positively obvious that the possibilities for students with sociology degrees are expansive, interesting and widely varied. As internship coordinator, King has gathered a group of brilliant professionals to stand up in front of the next group of professionals and welcome them enthusiastically into the fold.
Jodie Butler is a communications associate in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.