William “Buddy” Scarborough
BA, Sociology, Alma College
MA, Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago
Two loves in one
Buddy began his undergraduate career at Alma College playing football and intending to pursue social work. That is, until he took a sociology class. He says that sociology sort of “fell into his lap” and he really enjoyed learning about social issues and inequalities, as well as how such disparities are created and perpetuated. He says he fell in love with sociology during his first class at Alma College, but that wasn’t all! He also met his future wife, Emily, during his first sociology class. It was loves at first sight!
From Michigan to South Africa
After graduating from Alma College and getting married, Buddy and Emily joined the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps brought them to South Africa, where Buddy says he learned what sociology had provided the background for him to understand. During his time in South Africa, he learned how to speak Zulu and SiSwati. He also ran programs for children, through which he helped address some of the educational inequalities in South Africa.
From South Africa to Chicago
After finishing his time in the Peace Corps, Buddy was ready to apply for graduate programs in sociology, having affirmed his love of the discipline through his work in South Africa. He decided to pursue his degree at UIC in the Windy City. He has completed his Master’s degree and is currently writing his dissertation. His research primarily focuses on inequalities in the labor market in large cities in the United States. Specifically, he looks at gendered wage inequalities. Buddy enjoys the ability to run as many statistical analyses as he needs in pursuit of his findings.
Advice for others
Buddy says that a degree in sociology can help people in any industry – from dentistry to teaching or research. If everyone shares the knowledge they’ve acquired as students of sociology, the knowledge of the discipline will be able to effect change in society, such as the gendered differences in compensation and in work environments.
A great support system
Buddy says he is grateful to sociology for bringing him to the love of his life, who is a wonderful support. He also gets terrific support from his advisor, Barbara Risman, who works hard to guide and teach Buddy as he works toward completing his doctoral degree.