Jackpot! Rosie Davis finds her sociological imagination


Photo by Elizabeth Nelson

Jackpot is a series in which we highlight a variety of students and their interesting lives. Every story highlights a different student, who we’ve selected at random. This week, we talked to Rosie Davis, a senior sociology major and first-generation student, who hopes to study policy in graduate school.

Senior Rosie Davis was drawn to sociology when she took Sex in Society, taught by Amy Stone, professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Davis said this introduction to sociology in her first year at Trinity changed everything.

“It was like a release,” Davis said. “I could see my life in all of these stories and other people experiencing things I did because it’s kind of hard to be from a low-income, first-generation family and be at Trinity sometimes. It was like therapy, kind of.”

When Davis first came to Trinity, it was a hard transition to make. She is a first-generation student, and she said her high school hadn’t been the best preparation for college. While other students also put in a lot of effort, she felt like she was always giving 250 percent.

“At one time I was working three jobs while also being a full-time student,” Davis said. “I had friends who didn’t really understand why I couldn’t go out or couldn’t do certain things because I had to work and they didn’t.”

As time went on, though, Davis became accustomed to being a Trinity student. In addition to being in the SPURS sorority, Davis is a McNair Scholar and is on the Academic Honor Council, a role that allows her to put her interest in sociology into action.

“I thought it would be very interesting to play that role of being [a] peer while also being sympathetic,” Davis said. “I’ve realized since being on the council that having a sociology degree makes me very empathetic, so whenever people plagiarize, I’m always wondering, ‘Why did they plagiarize?’ Like, ‘OK, yeah, you did it, but there must have been a reason why you did it, and what are those reasons?’”

The empathy gained from learning how social factors influence others’ lives also influences how Davis sees things outside of the Academic Honor Council.

“You look at the world differently,” Davis said. “Whenever you read the paper or listen to the news, I think you have a different understanding. No one’s not biased, but I think having studied sociology, I have the ability to step back from a situation.”

Aside from sociology and her commitments on campus, Davis also describes herself as a “grandma” because of her love of reading and crocheting. She also loves to hike and travel, having traveled to a total of 16 countries. This international experience has helped shape what she wants to do with the rest of her life: work with international human rights policy.

“I just [find] it really interesting that you could create this couple of sentences that govern people’s lives and the intent that you put behind those words is not always what happens,” Davis said. “I’m really interested in that disconnect, but I’m also interested in how we create policy as social beings, but policies end up shaping how we live in society and how we interact with each other and what our beliefs are.”

Davis applied to 13 graduate schools in hopes of getting a Ph.D in sociology and public policy. With high ambitions of impacting people’s lives through policy, she said she often feels anxious. Nevertheless, it’s something she is ready to take on.

“Growing up, my grandma always told me, ‘If you’re going to do something, you should do it right,’” Davis said. “So, I know that it is a lot of pressure, but if I’m going to live a life, which I don’t have a choice in doing, I want to make it mean something.”