Meet a Sociology Major


Kelly Cousins ’15

Extra-curricular activities: 

  • JustPeace
  • Film Society
  • Players
  • Writing Center Tutor

Why did you choose your major? 

I chose my major because I think that the way different societies have developed is incredibly interesting. Additionally, I am a peace studies major, so the way that different cultures view and exhibit peace in unique ways is very intriguing to me, and something I definitely want to pursue in my future career.

What has been your favorite class? 

I have taken a number of classes in my major, and choosing just one that I enjoy most is difficult. Classes like Practicing Empowerment and my class on Rikers Island have appealed to my Peace Studies major, as well as my Sociology major, and I really enjoy these hands on and interactive classes. However, right now I am taking a class titled Violence and Sexuality, and though I have not completed it yet, I think it is the class that has given me the most to think about. Learning about how women are portrayed in media, and how this has lead to gender imbalances has inspired me to bring this issue up with JustPeace, and to try to do something on campus about it. 

Have you done any particularly interesting class projects?

In my Practicing Empowerment class, my classmates and I went out into our community in the Bronx and talked to people, asking them to come to our tenant rights night at the local church. There, we tried to organize so that the tenants could work together to get better living conditions from their landlords. In my class on Rikers Island, Criminal Justice Ethics, our final project was to pitch an idea for a restorative justice program that could be implemented in the jail. The final project my group came up with involved a misdemeanor court that avoided jail time, in jail counseling, and community centers.

What are your plans after graduation?

Immediately after graduation, I will be going into the Peace Corps. After that, I would like to go to graduate school to achieve my master's in sociology, and from there I have considered a number of options. I would like to be a professor, and perhaps write about the different cultures I have seen around the world. Working for the United Nations or for a non-profit are also potential options. 

What are the faculty like?

I have yet to meet a faculty member in either of my majors that I do not enjoy having a class with. As far as my sociology professors go, the majority are hard graders who expect you to understand what they have taught, but they are not unreasonable. If you would like more help on a subject, they are happy to take out time to help you. What really amazes me from these individuals is their wealth of knowledge. I feel as if no matter what you ask them, they always know exactly what you are asking and how to answer it.

What’s your favorite thing about this major?

My favorite thing about my major is the variety of topics and classes. I have taken classes about how rural versus urban living affects people, how gender affects people, how social class affects people, and this is all within the United States. There is so much more outside of the United States that I have not even gotten to yet. There will always be new things to learn.

What’s the most difficult thing about this major?

It is at times difficult to juggle two majors, as they each have their own requirements, and different classes are offered only at specific times. 

What advice would you give to new students trying to select a major?

I would suggest that you not force yourself into a major that you like, but to really put in the effort to find something you love. I like a number of topics, philosophy, art, history, but I have never had a class in any of these disciplines that makes me as excited as my sociology or peace classes. If you really enjoy and are interested in what you are learning about, then you will be more willing to do the work necessary.