UTSA hosts March 20 workshop on importance of sociology study, careers

American Sociological Association

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(March 19, 2012) -- To connect with students and faculty from underrepresented groups and to highlight the importance of sociology and opportunities available to those studying sociology, American Sociological Association (ASA) President Erik Olin Wright will speak at UTSA from 2 to 4 p.m., Tuesday, March 20 in the University Center Retama Auditorium (2.02.02) on the Main Campus. The event is free and open to the public and is part of a two-and-a half-week tour of minority-serving colleges and universities.

During the tour, Wright and Jean Shin, director of ASA's Minority Affairs program, will visit nine minority-serving institutions around the South and Southwest. Other stops in Texas include Texas A&M International University and the University of Texas-Pan American. In addition to talking about the value of sociology and having a background in the discipline, Wright will discuss "Real Utopias," the theme of the August 2012 ASA annual meeting in Denver, Colo.

"The fact that there is a sociological component to everything is one of the things that makes sociology such a vital discipline," said Wright, the Vilas Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. "Sociology intersects all disciplines that study humankind including history, psychology and economics and is integral to understanding and improving society."

In conjunction with each forum, Wright and Shin will host a resource workshop for students to discuss post-college opportunities available to those studying sociology and will meet with school administrators to emphasize the value and importance of having and maintaining a strong sociology program.

"In addition to making contributions in academia as professors and researchers, students who study sociology often go on to become difference makers in a variety of other fields," Shin said. "We want students to understand that studying sociology opens up many doors."

From First Lady Michelle Obama and former U.S. President Ronald Reagan to civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, the list of famous Americans who studied sociology is extensive, including former U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman in Congress; Kal Penn, actor and a former associate director in the White House Office of Public Engagement; former NAACP head Roy Wilkins; former U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York; civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson; actor Dan Aykroyd; Pulitzer Prize- and Nobel Prize-winning novelist Saul Bellow.

For more information, contact the UTSA Department of Sociology at 210-458-4620.

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Founded in 1905, the American Sociological Association is a nonprofit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society. For more information, contact Daniel Fowler, ASA media relations and public affairs officer, at 202-527-7885.