California Sociological Association Conference

On November 4th, four students headed up to Berkeley to present their research at the California Sociological Association.  Eric de Roulet (Sociology), Mia Franco (Anthropology), Mark Gutierrez (Sociology & Anthropology), and Stephanie Kroeker (Sociology) were accompanied by Dr. Stephanie D’Auria and Dr. Ed Clarke, who also presented recent work.  Topics included the benefits of student/professor collaboration as it related to student research projects regarding homelessness, domestic violence, perceptions of feminism among Christian college students, and a study of club dancing.  It was a weekend of both work and play, as the students got to enjoy some leisure time after the conference in San Francisco as well.  CSA 2011It was a great opportunity to practice presentation skills and spend some time getting to know other sociologists.

Dr. Stephanie D’Auria, Assistant Professor of Sociology

In addition to presenting a paper with Dr. Clarke at the California Sociological Association Conference November 4-5, 2011, Dr. Stephanie D’Auria will be attending the American Society of Criminologists conference the week of November 14th in order to serve on the Women and Crime Committee.  She is also working on a paper concerning “how gender has shaped the social provision in the U.S., and more generally how gender can serve as an interpretive lens for viewing the American welfare state.”  It will be published in the Oxford Handbook of the American Welfare State.

On December 1st, Dr. D’Auria will be speaking at Saddleback Community College with Norma Cumpian, a woman recently released from prison after eighteen years.  They will be discussing the process of transitioning from prison into communities with an emphasis on how gender shapes this process.

Christina Ryder, Adjunct Professor of Sociology

Christina Ryder is the CEO of the Grantwell, LLC (a company that provides grant writing assistance to non-profit groups) and teaches sociology courses at Missouri State University, Drury University, and VUSC as an adjunct faculty member. She is currently participating in various research projects including projects in applied sociology, homeless youth, and the homeless populations in California and Missouri.  She has presented, and will be presenting, papers on these projects at various professional conferences in 2011-2012.  Through her company and through her roles at VUSC, Missouri State, and Drury University, Christina has facilitated student internships and research assistantships allowing for students to participate in and co-author many of these papers and projects. In October 2011, Christina was appointed by the mayor to the Human Rights Commission in Springfield, Missouri.

Keturah Kennedy, Anthropology 2004

Keturah Kennedy

Keturah stayed close to Vanguard post-graduation, and is currently the Director of Operations for Mika Community Development Corporation.  Mika works in four low-income neighborhoods in Costa Mesa and focuses on building the capacity of neighborhood leaders to be able to identify, design, fund, manage, and evaluate projects and initiative for their community.  Keturah also lives in one of the neighborhoods in which she works, Shalimar, and she loves getting to know her neighbors and being a part of the community.

This is a photo of Keturah with the girl she mentors (as well as Keturah’s summer intern) at her high school graduation.

Adam Thomson, Anthropology 2008

Adam is currently working as the Missions Director for a small non-profit called Krochet Kids.  Krochet Kids works to Adam Thomsondevelop locally-sustainable livelihoods with women who are dependent on humanitarian aid.  Currently, the organization employs 83 women in northern Uganda and is finalizing a feasibility study for a similar program in Peru.

We spoke to Adam about his work, and this is what he said:

“This year was an awesome year!  As our programs have grown a lot, my main challenge has been to maintain a very contextual and relational approach to our aid practice, but with these challenges we’ve seen great opportunity.  I spent the first half of the year in Uganda, working with our staff to better develop our operations and monitoring and evaluation systems, and now as I write I’m in Peru finalizing up a feasibility study for a new program.  It’s been such a rad experience getting to travel to our project locations and brainstorm with our staff and other nationals about how we can best use our collective resources to empower and equip vulnerable women.

Since I graduated from Vanguard in 2008, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but I couldn’t be happier.  I see a lot of God’s grace in the opportunity to explore my dreams and develop my career at such a young age.  I thought I might end up in grad school right after university, but I’m learning too much in the field right now for it to make any sense to leave. We’ll see, the future always hold bright things for those who remain humble and willing.  That’s the challenge right now.”

Trujillo, La Liberdad, Peru

Update on Dr. Ed Clarke

Dr. Ed Clarke, Associate Professor of Sociology, is currently training city personnel and volunteers to conduct an enumeration of the homeless in Costa Mesa, California.  The last count took place on October 24, 2011 .  Additionally, he will be presenting a paper at the California Sociological Association with Dr. Stephanie D’Auria on the consequences of declining educational support.  While at CSA, Dr. Clarke will also be presenting two papers with current students Eric de Roulet and Mark Gutierrez.  The conference will be held in Berkeley on November 4-5, 2011.