Workshop discusses possibilities for sociology and anthropology majors

Often, students worry about potential career options with certain majors, which is why Career Services offers specialized workshops to clarify questions and offer insight into careers within areas of study. On Tuesday, Feb. 17, the department of sociology and anthropology organized a workshop with a presentation by Career Services’ Melanie Coulson titled “Launching Your Professional Career with a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology.”

This was the first-ever Career Services event by this department aimed to inform students about potential career options and educate students on how to incorporate research and skills into their resumes.

“We wanted students to be learning about how to present yourself and talk about the research you’ve done and how you talk about the skills you’ve developed,” said David Spener, professor and chair of anthropology and sociology. “In our department, students develop lots of skills, such as how to make publication presentations, how to analyze data and conduct a survey. And, most of our students have international experience through study abroad and speak an additional language,”

In many cases, students underutilize the resources at Career Services, and this event served as a tool to bridge the gap between students and Career Services through the use of faculty who often know students well.

“Sometimes faculty are in a better position to help students understand the efficacy and value in Career Services. There has been a push for all of us to become more acquainted with our faculty in various departments and collaborating in a joint effort to get students involved in recognizing the importance of starting early in Career Services,” said Melanie Coulson, career advisor.

Another reason for the specialized workshop was to emphasize the possibilities of majoring in sociology or anthropology, as many are unsure of what career prospects the majors have.

“With sociology and anthropology you can go in a lot of directions and that means things are wide open but it also means that sometimes students feel a little overwhelmed at their job prospects and future. This was a way to try and make it clear to them by working through what they know that in fact there are a lot of things out there for them,” Spener said.

Also highlighted at the workshop is the idea that a student’s major does not necessarily correlate with their career and job placements, as is the case with many students from this department.

“Let’s stop thinking about the major so much and start thinking about the skill sets you have learned. Major does not equal career,” Coulson said.  “There are people from all over who have majored in one thing and have gone into careers that are completely different because they have transferable skills.”

Coulson hopes more students will come into Career Services as first years and not wait until the end of senior year for the job search to begin. Many students participated in the workshop and learned more about Careers Services as a whole.

“It was really helpful to have a Career Services meeting for my major and with faculty from my department. I learned more about the specific career paths I could consider with my major and was shown resources to further explore these possibilities,” said Rachel Cooley, senior sociology and English double-major. “It was really helpful and encouraging to talk with other majors about the skills we’ve acquired over the years and the possibilities for the future.”

Both Coulson and Spener agree the workshop provided useful information to students and hope to do one every year. Later this semester, Career Services will organize several panels on various careers such as a health professions panel and an information session for STEM majors.