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The Social Network Fall 2013

Department of Sociology

Vol. 3

No. 1


INSIDE… Faculty News Sociology Week Sociology Symposium Alumni Spotlight Student Awards Engaged Learning Benefactors Contact Us

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Department of Sociology Zulauf 815 Northern Illinois University DeKalb, IL 60115 815.753.0365 E-mail: Visit us online: Editor Kristie Bongiovanni


……………………………………………….………..……….………..………………………….…….… Over the last year, the department of sociology has been engaged in a detailed program review focused on our Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs. We have spent a great deal of time examining the many strengths and a few challenges that face our programs as the university, the state and the nation consider how to best prepare college students for success today and into the future. One of the things we learned from our recent review is that NIU Sociology maintains among the most rigorous expectations for students in the entire nation in research methods and theory courses. That distinction is something we should all be very proud of. Additionally, few sociology departments are fortunate enough to have a computer lab or the ability to schedule so many class activities involving computer technology and analytical software as NIU Sociology does. The value of our program requirements and resources is evident in the preparation of our students to pursue their dreams as alums, whether that’s a career in public service or non-profit agencies, the criminal justice system, the private sector, or further study in graduate school. Another primary strength of the program is our outstanding faculty and staff. Interdisciplinary partnerships are growing phenomenon across the country and at NIU. NIU Sociology, specifically, is in partnered relationships with Women’s and LGBT Studies (Kristen Myers - Director, Cassie Crawford, Kerry Ferris, Kirk Miller, Robin Moremen, Carol Walther) and the Center for Latino and Latin American Studies (Simon Weffer) and the NGO Leadership and Development Center (Abu Bah, Laura Heideman, Jack King, Kirk Miller). In addition, the program review highlighted the many engaged learning opportunities the department provides student outside of traditional classrooms. Like the familiar Nike slogan, “just do it,” many of our students are engaged in doing hands-on sociology though undergraduate research opportunities, internships and other extra-curricular activities, many of which are featured inside this edition of the Social Network. We will again hold “Sociology Week,” our annual alumni/student careers program this fall (Oct. 28-Nov. 1). Sociology Week culminates with the annual meeting of the Illinois Sociological Association at the Holmes Student Center on Nov. 1st, where students and faculty from four-year and two-year schools across the state will convene to present their work and discuss sociology. In addition, I am excited to announce that we have introduced an undergraduate Certificate in Criminology this year. This certificate builds upon the long-standing identity of the department as a center for criminology at NIU and in the state of Illinois and beyond. The certificate program is designed to provide students with a core of expertise in academic criminology and provide students with a competitive advantage for those interested in careers in criminal justice. NIU Sociology is looking forward to its 20th annual Alternative Spring Break, led by Internship Director Jack King March 8-16, 2014 along with our third annual Undergraduate Sociology Symposium where undergraduate research will be featured in a series of concurrent roundtables chaired by current MA students. Look for invitations to both of these events in early 2014!

Kirk Miller, Associate Professor and Chair

Faculty News The quality of our faculty represents the heart of our academic mission and we are very fortunate to welcome Dr. Laura Heideman to the sociology faculty. We encourage you to extend a warm Huskie welcome the next time you see her on campus! Laura grew up in Iowa, did her undergraduate work in Minnesota, her Ph.D. in Wisconsin and was a visiting research fellow in Indiana. Joining the faculty at NIU completes her circuit of the upper Midwest! Laura is a joint faculty member in Sociology and in NGOLD (the Center for NGO Leadership and Development). Her scholarly interests include peace & conflict studies, social movements, the sociology of development and the sociology of organizations. In addition to her doctoral research on long-term peacebuilding in Croatia, she has conducted research on the long-term reintegration of former guerilla fighters in South Africa. Laura just completed a research trip to Croatia to look at the effects of Croatia’s new EU (European Union) membership on non-governmental organizations.

This fall Laura is teaching a course on qualitative research methods and a course on collective behavior and social movements. Welcome Laura!

Congratulations!! Dr. Mike Ezell was appointed editorial board member of the flagship journal, American Sociological Review.

Dr. Robin Moremen, in recognition of her

dedication and skill in teaching, was appointed to the editorial board of Teaching Sociology, the official teaching journal of the American sociological Association.

Dr. Kerry Ferris is co-author of The Real

World: An Introduction to Sociology which is the #1 selling introduction to sociology textbook in the U.S.


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NIU Sociology Report Aids in Local Historic Landmark Status of Old Finn Hall Associate Sociology Professor Diane Rodgers and her research team, composed of graduate students Jessica Petersen, Jill Sanderson and Lucy Sosa, with assistance from undergraduate students, Ellen Murphy, Katie Piotrowska and Monika Kolman, researched the influence of Finnish-American culture in DeKalb from the late 1800s to the 1960s. This research report was presented to the Landmark Commission of DeKalb and the DeKalb City Council, resulting in the passing of a resolution to grant historic landmark status to the former Finnish Majakka Hall located at 1021 State St. The current occupant of the building is the non-profit organization, the DeKalb Area Women’s Center. Typically buildings granted landmark status are designed by a well-known architect, possess a particular architectural style or are connected to a famous figure in the community. Majakka Hall, although architecturally appealing, falls into the category of “vernacular architecture” and was built to serve as a Finnish Temperance Hall. The report detailed the cultural significance of this Hall and the contribution of the Finnish population of DeKalb at the local and national levels. The neighborhood surrounding the Hall was known as “Finn Town,” at one time a largely self-sustaining ethnic enclave, with two Finnish halls, a church, cooperatives and privately owned stores.

Recently granted landmark status by the Landmark Commission of DeKalb and the City Council, the current DeKalb Area Women’s Center, located at 1021 State St. was a hub of DeKalb’s Finn Town community from the late 1800s to the 1960s.

Using archival data, interviews, secondary sources and neighborhoodbuilding guided tours, Rodgers and her student research team used sociological insights about the Finns in DeKalb to show how the Finnish Hall met the criteria for landmark status. “We were able to build on two other NIU researchers’ previous work: Joan Metzger, archivist at the Regional History Center, who had written a paper on the Finns of DeKalb and Professor Jeffery Chown’s documentary ‘DeKalb Stories’” said Rodgers. “Finnish community members have generously given their time and were instrumental in providing necessary detail for the report,” she added.

The designation of landmark status for the former Finn Hall is the outcome of a successful collaboration between NIU and the larger community.

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Sociology Week 2012 As promised, Sociology Week 2012 delivered with great speakers and events. Following are just a few of the speakers that included alumni, non-alumni and faculty representatives from an array of career disciplines and academic programs. Thank-you to all who participated!

Opportunities in Private Security

Matt Poppalardo, District Loss Prevention Mgr.

“You Don’t Need a Body to Feel a Body” Faculty Spotlight Presentation – Dr. Cassandra Crawford

Public Health & Sociology

Dr. Cassandra Crawford

Dr. Amaal Tokars, Executive Director of the Kendall County Health Department

Practicing Sociology for Social Good

Natalie Pappanduros, Michele Ranieri & Wayne Klemm AmeriCorps & the Peace Corps

Graduate Studies in Sociology at NIU

Dr. Keri Burchfield, Director of MA Program in Sociology

Opportunities in Surveillance, Compliance & Investigative Services

Dr. Keri Burchfield

John Todaro, Photofax, Inc.

Sociology & Corporate Careers

Jeff Green, Wirtz Beverages & Ariel McClay, Kohls


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Sociology Symposium 2013 In April 2013, the department held its second annual Undergraduate Sociology Symposium. The symposium was established to celebrate undergraduate research and to build intellectual community and this year’s participants delivered!

Undergraduate Presenters Anthony Alonso Starr Chase Reese Churney Beatrice Cross Anna Dobrose Nelisha Ellice Gray George Pranckus Matthew Rand Andrew Reum Kimberly Shaw Guide Sobecki Valerie Starck Sheridan Suggs Jesslyn Truesdale

“Public Restroom Graffiti” “Sociological Analysis of the film Bladerunner” “The Crossroads of Smoking: Analyzing a Microcosm of the Smoking Culture” “US Educational System” “How Do Key Stakeholders in a Nursing Home Explain the Demographic Configuration of Their Facility?” “The Lighter-Skinned You Are, the Prettier You Are?” “A Critique of Karl Marx and Presentation of Modified Theory” “Culture Industry and Hoarding” “Does the Impact of Gang Membership on Violent Victimization Vary by Gender?” “Living Diversely Segregated in the Post-Civil Rights Era” “Confrontational Defense Tactics” “Erving Goffman’s Dramaturgy and Hoarding” “Robert Merton’s Strain Theory and Hoarding” “The Impact of Organizational Characteristics of Police Departments on Drug Enforcement Activity”

We invite all sociology students to take advantage of this opportunity to share your academic research with your peers, engage in expanding your academic knowledge and practice your presentation skills! Please contact the sociology department at 815.753.0365 for more information on our spring 2014 event!

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Alumni Spotlight Graduates in sociology go on to earn advanced degrees at prestigious universities or pursue careers in government & private research, social service agencies and in the criminal justice field. Some also choose to teach future NIU-sociology students at the community college level, preparing them for transfer to our department. We are proud to call these great educators our alumni!

Justin Hoy Justin graduated from NIU with his BA in Sociology in 2004 and continued his education with a master’s degree from UIC in 2006. He has been a full time sociology instructor at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, IL for 4 years,. He has taught Introduction to Sociology, Social Problems and Sociology of Families and looks forward to teaching Sociology of Sex and Gender for the first time in the spring of 2014. “My experience with the NIU Sociology Department has, without a doubt, been one of the most formative experiences of my personal and professional lives. I am so grateful to faculty like Kristen Myers, Robin Moremen, and the late Chet Meeks for giving me a solid theoretical foundation in the discipline and for demonstrating what it means to be an amazing teacher. Without these faculty members, I would never have unlocked my passion for doing sociology. The individualized attention I received as a studentscholar in the NIU sociology program was truly second to none, and I strive to ‘pay it forward’ with my students at MCC.”

Kathryn Chiplis Kathryn graduated from NIU with both her BA in Sociology in 2007 and her MA in Sociology in 2010. She currently is an adjunct sociology instructor at Waubonsee Community College in Aurora, IL and at Rasmussen College both on campus and online, teaching Introduction to Sociology and Work & Family. “I learned a lot from my NIU experience that helps me with teaching today. The faculty were extremely helpful in teaching me skills and different approaches to presenting course material. It was at NIU where I realized my love for educating, after being a teaching assistant in graduate school. To me, teaching does not even seem like work, because it is something I have learned to love so much.”


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Kathleen Westman Kathleen graduated from NIU with two master’s degrees in 1990 and 2003 and also earned a Women’s Studies certificate in 2004. In 2001, she was hired as the first female, full time tenured track sociology professor at Waubonsee Community College after having taught at NIU for a short period. Kathleen has been integral in creating and recreating the sociology curriculum at Waubonsee including Sociology of Sex & Gender, Sociology of Deviance, Sociology of Family, Racial & Ethnic Relations with Sociology of Sustainability and Sociology of Culture & Food both currently in the works! Kathleen was the former president of, and currently sits on the board of the Illinois Community College Faculty Association, which represents approximately 17,000 community college professors (including adjuncts) in the state of Illinois.

Stacy Rapach Stacy earned a BA in Sociology with an emphasis in Criminology from NIU in December 2001 and completed her MA in Sociology emphasizing in Research Methods at NIU in May 2004. In between earning her BA and MA, she worked as a Foster Care Caseworker, and then Adoption Caseworker. Stacy has been an Outcomes and Grants Analyst at Waubonsee Community College since 2010 and also teaches Sociology of Family, which is a way for her to keep in touch with her social work past and to bring great real-world stories and experiences to her students. “NIU Sociology has helped with my teaching by giving me the sociological perspective, through the many different experiences offered in the different types of courses and from faculty members. The Sociology program provided me such a breadth of knowledge and several internships. I cannot wait until I teach Sociology of Deviance, as that is in my future. The Master's program was a great experience for me, with an assistantship the first year, and a fellowship the second year. You really get to know those other students and the faculty you work with during that time. I couldn't say enough about NIU's Sociology faculty; they are great!”

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Student Awards 2012-2013 At our annual student award’s brunch in April, 2013, the department formally recognized outstanding academic achievement of undergraduate & graduate sociology students. Congratulations to the following students… The Dean’s Award:

Alexander ‘Guide’ Sobecki

Recognition of overall undergraduate academic excellence in the field of Sociology.

Outstanding Graduate Student Award from the Division of Research & Graduate Studies: Jessica Petersen

James L. Massey Award: Samantha Brockett

Recognition of active participation in organizations, institutions & communities that enhance the climate of social justice & equality.

Student Paper Awards 1st Place: Starr Chase Final Theory Paper (SOCI 302)

David P. Street Memorial Fund Award: Jacob Ostergard

2nd Place: Nathan Shepherd Final Paper (SOCI 495)

Awarded to sociology students who exhibit commitment to a high standard of service & scholarship.

Frances Rowe Katz Award for Social Justice:

3rd Place: Sheridan Suggs Strikes the Country”

“When Crisis

Doug Engelman & Justin Yates

Recognition of outstanding research in the field of sociology.

Cleo Caudillo

Waldo W. Burchard Award for Graduate Scholarship: Allison Ballweber

Student Ambassador of the Year

Recognition of the sociology graduate students with the highest academic average.

Recognition of an academically superior student representing the department to speak with prospective students about the many benefits of being an NIU sociology major. Thank you for your dedication and hard work Cleo!

Alpha Kappa Delta Inductees

2012 - 2013

Alpha Kappa Delta is the International Sociology Honor Society recognizing outstanding academic achievement, both overall and within the major. Congratulations to our newest undergraduate members! Josephine Alborn Anthony Alonso Ashley Bender Collin Benson Tamara Boston Amanda Burg


Cleo Caudillo Beatrice Cross Sarah Daniels Matthew Lucas Ariel McClay Jacob Ostergard

Kelsey Phillips Matthew Rand Andrew Reum Javier Rocha Nathan Shepherd Kelly Wasilewski

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New for Fall 2013:

Criminology Certificate We are pleased to announce our new Criminology Certificate! This certificate is designed to provide insight into the academic study -theoretical and empiricalof crime and the criminal justice system in contemporary society. The criminology certificate is recommended for all students interested in examining issues associated with patterns, correlates and explanations of crime, as well as societal responses to crime, both formal and informal. The certificate is open to all NIU undergraduates and is appropriate and intended for students studying for, or currently working in, a number of disciplines or careers related to the criminal justice and legal system, security, education, public health, social sciences and human services. For more information, please visit:

Life After Incarceration In April 2013, the Sociology Department and the NIU American Criminal Justice Association cohosted a panel discussion on social justice, prison reform & the lives of the wrongfully accused. A big thank-you to our panelists!

Michael Brown spent 37 years in prison.

Released in 2010, he has been speaking to university groups on the prison and post prison experiences of those who have served their time and are working to keep from returning to prison.

James Kluppelberg was recently found innocent and

exonerated after serving over 24 years in prison for murder and arson. Mr. Kluppelberg shared his story and discussed the work of the Exoneration Project, which brought forth new evidence that overturned his conviction.

Dr. Jodie Dewey from the Department of Sociology at Concordia

University specializes in medical sociology, gender and sexualities. She discussed her research based on her publication, “Community Reintegration Trajectories: A Qualitative Comparative Study of GangAffiliated and Non-Gang-Affiliated Ex-Offender.’

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A Special Thanks to our Benefactors‌ Apple, Inc. Charles H. Beall & Cheryl Munson Beall Tammie R. Birmann Michael & Denise Blasi Liu Dachao* Jennifer J. Dierickx William J. Duitsman & Nancy Sprieser-Duitsman Stefanie Gorny Richard & Dolores Hall Katlin Ann Helton Allen J. Jones & Bernetta Demay-Jones* Frank & Gale Loding* Gordon & Gale Meyer Ricardo & Noemi Navarrete Patricia D. Panfil George M. Petersen Oda T. Poole III & Robin K. Babcox-Poole Rodrick Riggs Rolston Virginia R. Rock Rebekah Dean Sawyer Schwaab Charitable Fund Carol J. Shaw Kent & Patricia Shifferd Mark Conrad Simonson Gregory & Anne Speck State Farm Companies Foundation* Jun Xu*

The Department of Sociology gratefully acknowledges the generosity of alumni & friends who have contributed during the 2012-2013 academic year. Donations, however modest, make a real difference & enable faculty and students to continue excelling in their teaching and research activities. Thank you for your continued support!

* DuSable level donor ($200-$499)

If you are considering making a gift to the department, please call 815.753.0365. There are existing funds to which you might contribute, or you may wish to establish a new one. We’ll be glad to discuss it with you. If you choose to donate online through the NIU Foundation website, please specify your gift be directed to the Department of Sociology at We make every effort to acknowledge the generosity of our alumni & friends. We regret any errors and omissions. If for any reason you wish to remain anonymous, please tell us on your contribution form or when the volunteer from the Huskie Telefund contacts you.


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The Sociology Department is continually expanding its internship program and we would like your help! Our goal is to provide students with a variety of opportunities to connect with the community and to broaden their real-world experiences. While we already partner with many organizations at the local, state and federal level, we would like you to consider how our majors might get involved in YOUR workplace, volunteer program or community service organization. Students not only earn graduation credit for their internship, but you will be providing them with valuable knowledge, engagement and experience that is crucial to their success upon graduation. Please contact our Internship Coordinator Jack King at to suggest a new partnership or for more information!

If you would like a PDF copy of this newsletter that is easy to download & print, please email your request to

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Sociology Fall 2013 Newsletter  

The Social Network. Fall 2013 Newsletter. Volume 3, No. 1. NIU Department of Sociology.