30 in 30 Presents: Dr. Jerry Hendricks (Week 26)

Jerry Hendricks 30in30

Dr. Jerry Hendricks

Education
BA, History, Northeastern Illinois University, 2008
MA, Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2010
PhD, Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2016

Using his research background in the private sector
Dr. Hendricks currently works as a Senior Research Analyst at the Resource Systems Group (RSG) in Chicago. On most days, Dr. Hendricks’ analyst positions allows him to consult with companies about consumer trends and survey design and administration. He conducts quantitative analyses and presents results to clients. “No day is the same,” Jerry says, which is something he loves about his job at RSG.

Changing paths
While Dr. Hendricks was working on his doctoral degree in sociology at UIC, he worked as a teaching assistant and adjunct professor. Because he enjoyed and excelled at teaching undergraduate students of sociology at UIC, DePaul University, and the Illinois Institute of Technology, he thought he would pursue work as a professor after graduating. However, after graduating, Jerry found his job at RSG, which enables him to combine his love of sociology, the research skills he attained in graduate school, and serve a client base.

Advice for students
Dr. Hendricks says if you really want to use your sociology degree to your advantage, practice relating your undergraduate coursework and professional experience to a potential career. “If I could go back in time to give myself some advice, I would say learn to code, because it is a very valuable skill to have.” Being able to speak the language of computers will make you an asset to any company, particularly when paired with a sociological lens on the world.

Why choose sociology?
Jerry believes that sociology is a degree that many people pursue intending to engage in activism and social justice, but a sociology degree applies to much more than activism. For him, sociology has shaped the way he understands and interprets the world. He feels that if more people had the knowledge of a sociologist, they would understand that society is made up of individuals and without one, the other couldn’t exist. For instance, sociological research can demonstrate how institutions affect individuals and circumstances, which can also be useful to policy makers searching for more effective solutions.

For fun
Since completing graduate school, Jerry has been able to spend more time with his family. He also plays in a rock band called Mile.

Interview by Myia Scott

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