Posted by: soanstolaf | October 1, 2015

Ellen Meyers shares her experience in Turkey


For 6 weeks this summer, from July 10 to August 17, I spent time learning, studying, and exploring the lovely country that is Turkey.

I first stayed in Istanbul for 5 days before I headed down to Gazipasa, which is a small community along the southwestern coast. While in Istanbul, I and the four other St. Olaf students who all traveled together visited several famous sites: the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace, and the Basilica Cisterns. All of those sites were beautiful. They were so ornate, with all of the stained glass, the marble, and all of the gold filigree and engravings. On our first night there, we went to a restaurant not far from our hotel, and after giving us free tea, our waiter took us inside the restaurant. He led us into the back where there was a large hole in the wall with stairs leading down into what we found was a large tunnel. He told us that it was a secret exit from the palace and that it was built to allow the royal family to get out of the palace if they ever needed to escape.  Apparently, there are many more tunnels that lead all over underneath the city too. While we were in Istanbul, we also tried a bunch of delicious Turkish food; I don’t know what most of it was called, but there was a lot of lamb and rice, and it was wonderful!

We left Istanbul on July 14 and traveled down to Gazipasa where we began work. Every morning we woke up at 5am so that we could have breakfast at 6 and begin work at 6:30. We would then pick, shovel, trowel, and dump buckets full of soil and brick debris until 10am, stop for a snack break, and resume our work until 1pm. At 1, we had lunch, and then the rest of the day was ours to nap, read, do our assigned documentation and reading for that day’s work, or any other activities we wanted to do until supper at 7. I helped make supper fairly frequently, and it’s amazing to me just how much can be communicated despite language barriers. The woman who cooked for us spoke almost no English, and I learned only a few words in Turkish, but even so, we managed to cook supper together.

The Turkish students we worked with were so nice! Most of them spoke a little English, but we were able to teach them more English in exchange for Turkish lessons from them. We all lived together in one house, with 6 of us to a room. In total, I think there were about 30 people living in the house. I shared a room with 3 other St. Olaf students and 2 Turkish students.  I always found that everyone in town was very friendly and welcoming to us.  They would wave and say hello whenever we walked past, and we learned how to return their greetings.  I was amazed by their hospitality towards complete strangers, and it is something I will never forget.

Our site was, we believe, an early Christian site.  I personally worked in the residential part of the site, where we believe either a small dormitory or large personal living quarters housed the church official and his family and/or servants. While up there, we found tons of pottery shards, a few pieces of glass and a couple of coins. I was put in charge of our pottery collection, and did a majority of the sorting, organizing, and documenting of every single one of the 3100+ pottery shards that came from our site. I was glad to learn about some of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into archaeology in addition to all the digging and other labor that happens up on the site. No human skeletons were found this year, but there were quite a few other animal bone fragments up on our site, most likely from the wild goats or other small animals that live in the mountains. In order to get there, we had to climb up a small mountain with a very thin, rocky path covered in brush, but once we made it to the top, the view was amazing. The only real problem was that it was very, very hot- around 100 degrees every day.

We had Saturdays free to ourselves, so we usually went into town to explore or eat more delicious food, or we would sometimes go shopping. There was a small clothing market in town, so we usually walked there on Monday afternoons to buy dresses or pants. Turkish pants are probably the most comfortable things I have ever worn. On Sundays we went to other sites near ours so that we could see excavated sites and try to understand some more about the history of ours. We also went to the beach fairly frequently on the weekends to swim in the Mediterranean, and on Fridays after our work was finished, we went to a nearby cove to swim. According to legends, the cove we swam in was the one where Julius Caesar was held for ransom by pirates. It was so beautiful there, and the water was so clear. The water got to be about 100 feet deep after only walking a few steps into it, but I could still see the sand and rocks at the bottom because the water was so clear and blue.

We were invited to a going-away party for one of the former site workers, and I’m pretty sure the entire town came out for it.  Every Turkish man is required to serve in the military, and they have grandiose celebrations for the men who leave.  There was so much food, and I do not know where they managed to find space to feed all of the people.  In the evening, there was a dance, and so some of the girls taught me to do some Turkish dances (or tried, would be more accurate).  Even though they laughed at me when I struggled to learn the steps and movements, it was all in good fun and we all laughed together.  There was such a great sense of community and closeness among all of the people who came together for the celebration, and I’m honored to know that we Oles were invited to it.

Though it was very nice to return home to my own family again, I miss Turkey and the people who live there and would love to go back again if I ever get the chance.

Though my skills as a photographer are very much in the development phase, I’ve included a few pictures.

The 5 Oles who all traveled together in Istanbul in front of the Bue Mosque: Ben Seaton, Ian Henley, Claire Mumford, Me, and Ellie Fuelling.

The 5 Oles who all traveled together in Istanbul in front of the Blue Mosque: Ben Seaton, Ian Henley, Claire Mumford, me, and Ellie Fuelling.

Photo taken on our site, and show some hardworking Oles near a wall we helped reconstruct.

Photo taken on our site showing some hardworking Oles near a wall we helped reconstruct.

A view of the Mediterranean from on top of our dig site.

A view of the Mediterranean from on top of our dig site.

The Hagia Sophia at night, taken on our last night in Istanbul.

The Hagia Sophia at night, taken on our last night in Istanbul.

A few of us Oles in part of the excavated bath complex at Anamur. We are attempting to pose like statues that would have stood in the now empty arches.

A few of us Oles in part of the excavated bath complex at Anamur. We are attempting to pose like statues that would have stood in the now empty arches.

Posted by: soanstolaf | September 23, 2015

Meet Professor David Schalliol!

Professor David Schalliol

If you are taking Intro to Sociology or Urban Sociology this semester, you probably know Professor David Schalliol who is currently teaching those classes. He is our new Assistant Professor of Sociology who comes to us from Chicago, Illinois. Professor Schalliol, who kindly accepted to answer our questions, is especially interested in visual sociology and is currently working on his documentary film titled The Area. He received his bachelor’s degree in the middle of cornfields at Kenyon College before obtaining his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago. He looks forward to meeting new students so do pass by the SOAN Department and say “hi!”

How did you get interested in sociology?

I’ve had an active interest in the social world for as long as I can remember, but I developed an interest in sociology as a discipline while I was in college. I was particularly impressed by its flexibility and scalability; it offered (and offers!) insights into everything from interactions between two people on the street to global structural forces. I knew it was the right discipline for me once I had the opportunity to really dig into theoretically motivated empirical work.

What are your areas of specialty?

I am interested in a broad range of subjects at the intersection of inequality and urbanism, including neighborhood studies, education, and criminology, and I have a special enthusiasm for using visual (and audiovisual) techniques in research.

Where and on what have you done your research?

Over the last several years, I’ve worked on projects throughout the United States; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and (a small project in) Tōhoku, Japan. Many of these ventures include at least one element based in visual sociology.

My two largest projects investigate how people perceive, address, and even contribute to local social problems without turning to outside organizations for significant support. One of these projects is a long-term ethnography and film project based in a South Side Chicago community. The other is a nationally-oriented, mixed-methodology collaboration with a historian at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Michael Carriere. We have been working on the project for six years and counting!

I additionally collaborate with criminologist Danielle Wallace at Arizona State University on a mixed-methodology study investigating the relationship between social and physical disorder. For the project, we conducted a year-long photographic and “systematic social observation” examination of nearly 40 “vacant” Chicago buildings and their surrounding blocks. Our first paper from the project will be published by Social Science Research in November.

Of the projects where visual methodologies take the lead, the longest running series is an investigation of community change and the built environment through buildings that have no neighboring structures. My first book from the project, Isolated Building Studies, is in the SOAN department’s common room.

A Halloween birthday party on a disused elevated railroad line in Chicago, Illinois.


An isolated building on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois.

Costumed students walk past a police raid in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The site of the former Ogatsucho Mizuhama, Japan town center after the 2011 tsunami.

You can find more information about all of these projects, including a short film and photography series, on my website,

What brought you to St. Olaf?

There are too many features of St. Olaf to list, but as a liberal arts college graduate, I felt an instant affinity for St. Olaf. I am especially excited by the school’s (and department’s) emphasis on engaged learning and interdisciplinarity, and I am looking forward to making my own contributions to them.

What’s your teaching philosophy?

My general approach to teaching is to create a dialogue between contemporary issues and theory and to create learning opportunities for everyone — even me. I’m still getting settled into St. Olaf and the surrounding communities, but I am actively looking for opportunities to bring the outside world into the classroom and vice versa.

What are some of your favorite texts?

It’s hard to winnow the list to just a few texts, but the books that initially drew me into sociology were a mix of fiction, nonfiction, and traditional sociological texts. Several of the standouts include Ain’t No Makin It by Jay MacLeod, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Native Son by Richard Wright, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Max Weber, The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell, Selected Poems by Rita Dove, Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, and a number of texts by Karl Marx.

What are your non-academic interests?

Most of my academic interests connect with other parts of my life, so I spend a lot of my free time doing extensions of my academic work, like exploring new neighborhoods and doing small documentary projects. The closest thing I have to a non-academic interest is probably bicycling. Even so, bicycling is a great way to get to know a place, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the region on the many bike paths. I am looking forward to trying cross country skiing and snowshoeing this winter.

Do you have any advice for SOAN majors at St. Olaf?

I’m not sure that the following is necessarily “advice,” but I find that the most satisfying work facilitates personal and community growth. With this in mind, one of the exciting things about the social sciences is that they provide opportunities to see one’s own life in a new way. What better way to develop an engaged life than to develop an awareness of how our experiences influence our development and our relationships with those around us?
Posted by: soanstolaf | May 22, 2015

Rachel Murphy Profile


Rachel Murphy has been soanstolaf’s loyal editor for 2014-15. She has profiled many of her fellow seniors, and it seemed appropriate for the site to profile her as well. A recap of our conversation:

Rachel grew up in Columbus, Ohio, which she describes as being like two cities due to the looming presence of The Ohio State University. In fact, her childhood home was only ten minutes from campus. One of the distinctive things she noted about Columbus is the city’s frustrating segregation. Growing up, she lived in a largely white neighborhood but attended schools that were predominantly African-American. She learned a lot about racism and inhabiting diverse spaces.

Such experiences no doubt led Rachel to major in sociology and anthropology, something she intended to do when she enrolled at St. Olaf. But as it turned out, the major proved to be different from what she initially expected. Rachel imagined her work would focus primarily on global issues, yet she came to study in her courses many things quite close to home. She likes that her major made her a better writer and increased her range of interests. She said she is excited to follow up on topics she was introduced to in SOAN.

Aside from SOAN, Rachel also majored in Latin American Studies. This offered a contrast because it drew on courses in a variety of disciplines and included key experiences off campus. Rachel had wonderful opportunities to study for a semester in Ecuador as well as an interim in Cuba.

Rachel is not certain of her next steps after graduation (at the time of our conversation she had just returned from a job interview and was weighing out a job offer in rural Minnesota). She enjoyed the chance to work in the Pause, a fun environment where she also glimpsed the challenge of running a business. She also liked keeping this blog on behalf of the SOAN department, where she learned more about larger developments in the two disciplines and got to know her fellow majors better. Finally, she said has a long list of books that she intends to read, first among them Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah. We thank Rachel for all of her great work highlighting the SOAN class of 2015 and wish her, and them, well!

Posted by: soanstolaf | May 13, 2015

Evan Davis Senior Profile

“I came into Olaf knowing I wanted to do Political Science” Evan Davis says. That was always how he wanted to make a difference and work for social justice. But in a few weeks he will graduate with not just a Political Science degree but also Sociology/Anthropology.

He explains his entrance into sociology as looking for a more critical perspective, that he felt he wasn’t getting in his early Political Science classes. “That was naïve because Political Science does offer a critical perspective.” he says. “But I feel like the two majors really come together well and kind of challenge each other but also reinforce my ideas.” When he started doing research with SOAN, he knew that’s why he wanted to stay. Davis also considered a Racial and Ethnic Studies concentration. He eventually decided against getting the official certification, but took a number of classes in that area, and learned a lot about those issues.

Learning to be critical has been a journey for Davis, who says he started out curious, and then got much more cynical, and eventually had to pull back and ask “what’s next?” The effect of this, for him, has been that “It’s reinforced my commitment to the academic side of critique.”

He hopes to continue his academic journey with graduate school, but is taking some time off before to work, potentially doing AmeriCorps. He’ll be spending the first two months post-graduation working as a summer camp RA “hanging out with middle schoolers who are smarter than me.”

During his time at St. Olaf Davis has done a number of research projects, and this year alone presented at two difference conferences. He and Madison Goering presented their research at the Central States Anthropological Conference, which he says was more “informal, and had some very strange topics that I’m trying to keep my academic mind open to.” He also presented research done with Professor Ibtesam Al Altiyat, at a Middle Eastern Area Studies conference, which he says is an area he’s less familiar with. The work focused on an analysis of the film Honor Diaries, a controversial film about the oppression of women. Davis explains that as he unpacked the film, it was clear it was using Western Feminist rhetoric, and ultimately became anti-Islam in some ways. While it was hard to take a firm stance on it, he explains “Ibtesam really pushed us to commit to an argument.”

Last semester he was a Teaching Assistant for Quantitative Research methods with fellow senior Francesca Sifferlin. “We got to do lesson planning, which was cool. But the extent to which we were helpful I don’t know” he jokes. For future SOAN students he advises, to “be critical of the stereotypes” surrounding the major, and says that “it gives you skills, and those are the skills you should focus on.” As a senior, he has seen the many areas of work his classmates are going in to, saying that the major “doesn’t have a one track thing.” As for his time in the department, he says that he has “really appreciated the professors in the department. I think they’ve really pushed us to think again about stuff… We talk about critical thinking in the liberal arts, but that is at the core of the SOAN major. We do it all the time.” If you’d like to contact Evan Davis, you can reach him at

Posted by: soanstolaf | May 13, 2015

Junior SOAN Major Receives Davis Projects for Peace Grant

Congratulations to junior Chandreyi Guharay, recipient of the Davis Projects for Peace grant! The grant, for $10,000 is awarded to undergraduates in the Davis United World College Scholars Program who design a summer project with the intention of advancing peace somewhere in the world. Gaharay, a student from Managua, Nicaragua, plans to implement her project on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua, an area she first visited when she was eleven.

Guharay says, “I had this idea since I came here” because she was familiar with the program as a student at the United World College in Costa Rica. She also knew she wanted to work on the Atlantic coast, “a very isolated region. The government is really in the Pacific and Central parts of the country, and the Atlantic part sort of gets left out.” The lack of infrastructure, high levels of poverty and corruption, and the existence of drug trafficking in the region cause a lack of resources for youths, pushing them towards crime or violence. “It’s a violent circle. You have poverty, and in order to get out of poverty you have to get involved in illicit activities, and drug trafficking is one of the most lucrative.” Guahary, a Sociology/Anthropology and Political Science dual major, hopes to design a project that will help discourage that path.

She praises the Davis program for its flexibility and support of student ideas. “It’s based on your own prerogative.” After returning home in May, she’ll work out the logistics and then implement the project in June and July.

When she visited the Atlantic coast at eleven years old, Guharay and her family encountered a non-governmental organization called FADCANIC (the Foundation for the Autonomy and Development of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua), which “promotes sustainable human development.” When she returns this summer, she will partner with this same organization to develop her program, working in their agroforest education center. The project, which she calls Preventing Youth Violence through Education for Peace, Strengthening Community Stewardship in the Southern Autonomous Caribbean Region of Nicaragua, will consist of classes and programs for high school students in the area. Most of those students will be from various indigenous groups. “They have their own cultures…speak their own languages, which might be a bit of a challenge.” Guharay also acknowledges how ambitious her project is. Despite these challenges, she is more than ready to take on the project this summer. We all wish her the best of luck, and look forward to hearing about her experience in the fall.

If you want to contact Chandreyi Guharay, you can reach her at

Posted by: soanstolaf | May 5, 2015

Professor Bruce Nordstrom-Loeb Retiring


Bruce Nordstrom-Loeb has lived a great many places. Born in Oakland, California, after grade school he moved with his family to Detroit, Michigan. He went to the University of Michigan for his undergraduate work, graduating in 1967. He spent that summer after graduation in Alabama, working on a Civil Rights project in a town called Luverne. He went on to get a masters degree from Harvard, spent several years working for the American Friends Service Committee and then in Native American communities after going to UC-Berkeley to get his Ph.D. which he received in 1982. The following year he moved to Minnesota from the Southern Ute Reservation in Colorado, to teach here at St. Olaf College.

Bruce Teaching in 1967 in Luvurne, Alabama, perhaps foreshadowing his future career.

Bruce teaching in 1967 in Luverne, Alabama, perhaps foreshadowing his future career.

While here he has continued his travels, leading Term in the Middle East and Term in Asia. In 1997-1998 he taught courses in Lithuania through Fulbright and in 2011 went to Estonia while his wife Barbara taught as a Fulbright Scholar there.

At St. Olaf he has taught classes such as Race and Class in America, Gender in a Cross-Cultural Perspective, and LGBT Lives and Issues (a course he designed and which was one of the first of its kind at St. Olaf). He has taught courses with ARMS, women’s studies, hispanic studies, in the Paracollege and American Conversations. Bruce was also instrumental in bringing anthropology to St. Olaf, shaping the department into the one we know today. This May, he will retire after thirty-one years at St. Olaf.

As a professor Bruce is known for his empathy and understanding, and is well-loved by his students. (They also express love of his chocolate chip cookies.) When speaking about Bruce, commonly used words include “humble”, “caring” and “wise.” In 2014, he was chosen to give the spring Mellby lecture, and throughout the years he has given a number of chapel talks. St. Olaf will miss Bruce, but we all wish him the best of luck!

What follows are excerpts from an interview with Bruce.

How did you first become interested in Sociology?

I went to college to become an astronomer, to be a science geek. But then there was so much happening, especially in terms of the Civil Rights movement. I arrived on campus just after Martin Luther King gave his big speech in Washington D.C., the I Have a Dream Speech, and there were other speakers coming to campus. There were black students in my classes for the first time, because my high school had been all white. So I started taking some classes in sociology related to those issues and in philosophy about ethics. I just sort of kept on taking more classes, thinking ‘oh this is helping me understand what’s going on at a deeper level’, and I kind of drifted away from physics and astronomy and math and stuff like that, and wound up majoring in sociology.

There were issues about the Civil Rights movement, but also the Women’s Rights movement was starting to come to life, be more visible. So there were those issues, and then the Vietnam War. So there were a number of issues as well as a number of countercultural movements going on. It was very different than the 50’s, when I was a little kid growing up. I was trying to make sense of the changes and sociology was useful for that. It was speaking to some issues that were puzzling and challenging.

What brought you to Olaf?

Read More…

Posted by: soanstolaf | April 27, 2015

Professor LaFlamme Speaks In Chapel

Visiting Anthropology Professor Marcel LaFlamme spoke in chapel last week. Check out his chapel talk, where he talks about the role of work in our lives, vocation at St. Olaf and in the Lutheran tradition, and looking for spaces of non-work in this busy world.

The talk begins around the 6 minute mark. You can watch it HERE or by clicking the image below.

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 9.40.20 AM

Posted by: soanstolaf | April 24, 2015

Sierra Napoli Senior Profile

For senior Sierra Napoli, picking Sociology/Anthropology as her major was a quick and easy decision, one she is still glad she made. She knew in high school that she wanted to do something with social services or social sciences, inspired by an aunt with a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Although she considered Social Work, she took Introduction to Sociology and fell in love. At the end of her freshman year she declared the Sociology/Anthropology major, along with the History major. Sophomore year she added a Women’s and Gender Studies concentration. Of her majors she says “I think they complement each other really well. Both a lot of theory but with real-world implications.”

Napoli says that her majors have helped shape her worldview, and her activism. Napoli works in the Wellness Center, is on the board of leaders for Student Support Services, and is President of the student group Feminists for Change. (Napoli also keeps busy being Co-president of the historical honor society and a member of the sociological honor society.) “All of those things have shaped my interaction with my major and my major has shaped my interaction with those” Napoli says. She also says that she thinks it’s important to be active in organizations, saying she would advise other students to get involved with organizations on campus “and making a difference in the lives of others.”

The courses she has taken, she says, have helped her with “being able to be more open, and open-minded about a lot of different things. I think a lot of different movements going on right now might claim to be open but are still very ethnocentric.” She gives the example of the recent “Why I Need Feminisms” campaign by Feminists for Change, and the importance of putting the “s” on the end of “Feminism.” This open-mindedness has helped her value the voices of others. “It’s important to hear the points of others even if you don’t agree with them” she says.

The Sociology/Anthropology major, Napoli says, “has so shaped who I am right now and who I want to be in the future.” Napoli traveled outside the United States for the first time with Sociology professor Ryan Sheppard on the Thailand interim Napoli’s sophomore year, which she says “was a really cool experience and suited me really well.” She has also had various internships, creating an exhibit for the St. Louis County Historical Society, and teaching GED classes, as well as various jobs, all of which she says were aided by her experience in the SOAN department.

In the future Napoli hopes to work in the social sector, perhaps through AmeriCorps. She has particular interest in women’s empowerment programs and in working with first generation college students. “I’m looking a lot at education and helping promote education and the possibility of going to college, because I’m a first generation college student so that’s something that’s really important to me” she says. As a student who participated in national TRIO programs and as part of St. Olaf’s Student Support Services, she appreciates the value of supporting those populations. “As someone who has been given those resources and chances to succeed, I want to help other people do that.”

Posted by: soanstolaf | April 22, 2015

Maddie Haakenson Senior Profile

For Maddie Haakenson, choosing a major wasn’t a difficult decision. “The sociology/anthropology major was one of the reasons I wanted to come to St. Olaf” she says, and after taking a class, she knew it was the right choice. She did try other majors, but “none of them were the best fit” and she found that SOAN was the one best suited to her varied interests, which include travel and culture.

An avid traveler in high school, Haakenson, who also has a concentration in Latin American studies, has continued her international exploration, including an internship in Peru where she worked at a shelter for at-risk youth. While working there, she discovered how being a SOAN major helped her be more empathetic, open-minded, and flexible. “It definitely helped me to be more helpful for the organization there and understand the reasons for why they are the way they are.”

Traveling factors in to Haakenson’s plans for after graduation this May as well. She is considering various options, one of which is moving to Singapore to live with an uncle and study design. “I want to eventually work in bigger international companies” she explains, hoping to enact change from within larger corporations. As she points out “you can’t really fix problems unless you work with the people who are causing them.”

For those considering the major, she tells them “take it seriously and don’t be afraid to argue its legitimacy. We’re always scared of people asking us what we’re going to do with our major, and I think we need to be more confident about it, because it’s one of the most useful majors on campus because it’s so adaptable to everything else and you can easily use everything that you’ve learned in any kind of job application.” This realization was important for Haakenson, who says that being a SOAN major has “helped me realize that I can study people and still be useful in the job market” which increased her confidence for future endeavors. However, the benefits of being a SOAN major for Haakenson weren’t totally academic. She says that above all else, the major has affected her confidence and has “helped me find my place.”

Posted by: soanstolaf | April 20, 2015

Madison Goering Senior Profile

Madison Goering arrived at St. Olaf certain she would be a biology major. “I took AP Bio and decided that’s what I was going to do” but when she began the major at St. Olaf she discovered it wasn’t for her. Put bluntly, she says, “I hated it.” She also took Introduction to Sociology, and added the Sociology/Anthropology major in order to take Anthropological Theory, thinking “I’ll just see, I’ll probably end up doing the bio thing. But I signed up for the class, then I signed up for the major, and I never took it away!” Now a senior SOAN major with two concentrations in Latin American studies and Management studies, she has no regrets. Of her areas of study she says that while she considered creating her own major, “it was a really great mix for me” particularly with her study abroad on the HECUA CILA Ecuador trip, which allowed her to study in Latin America.

Madison Goering, Class of 2015

Madison Goering, Class of 2015

One area where she was grateful for the major was doing ethnographic research through CURI and the SES program, which she and research partner Evan Davis recently presented at the Central States Anthropological Conference. “It’s been nice because I’ve been able to keep talking about these things longer than the two months of summer.”

Next year Goering will be doing a fellowship in Bolivia, working at a small rural Catholic college as an external relations coordinator. She says it’s a bit of advancement, and a bit like the Piper Center, where she currently works. Most of her work will be coordinating visitors and helping students and alumni network.

The SOAN major, she says, has given her the skill “to think critically.” “I feel like I’ve been equipped to think about things from different perspectives and challenge preconceived notions in a way that I wouldn’t otherwise in some other major.” Furthermore, Goering says, “it’s a great community and a really great place to ask questions” along with being a “great place to consider social justice topics.”

If you have questions for Madison Goering, you can reach her at

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