30 in 30 Presents: William “Buddy” Scarborough (Week 27)

30 in 30 blue 4x3 ratio-0230 in 30 proudly features the accomplishments of thirty UIC Sociology alumni over the course of thirty weeks. Each week, we will feature a new alumnus/a of the department. The individuals profiled were each interviewed by one of our very own graduating seniors, who had the opportunity to learn about the many fascinating paths our alumni take. Follow along with us and learn more about your fellow alums over the next 30 weeks!

Do you want to be profiled? Email Kirsten at kander48@uic.edu to get on the list for the upcoming semester!

Buddy Scarborough 30in30

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.


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

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Dr. Jerry Hendricks

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

30 in 30 Presents: Elyse Bielser (Week 25)

Elyse Bielser 30in30

Elyse Bielser

BA, Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2014

From central Illinois to Chicago
Elyse grew up in central Illinois and coming to Chicago for college exposed her to many new languages, cultures, and experiences. She took classes at both the UIC (Chicago) and U of I (Urbana-Champaign) campuses and felt that she learned more and different things from her classes at UIC, where, for her, the professors and the diversity had much more to offer. Elyse fell in love with sociology at UIC and took multiple classes in sociology and gender and women’s studies. She felt that the more classes she took, the more everything started to make sense.

Digging deep
During her time at UIC, Elyse took classes in which she learned a lot about Jim Crow laws, the War on Drugs, the prison pipeline, and gentrification. Because of where she grew up, Elyse was not exposed to such topics. The class showed her the effects such structures and processes have on groups of people. She learned a lot while studying at UIC, particularly about different perspectives and how things affect people differently, which has helped her in her current job.

Advocating for children
Currently, Elyse is a child abuse and neglect investigator in Kansas, and is in the process of becoming a foster care caseworker. Her main responsibilities as an investigator are to read the reports that are made regarding abuse or neglect of a child. She responds to the report by conducting interviews with the child to see how the children’s report does or does not reflect the formal report. After meeting with the child, Elyse speaks with parents and does a home visit. She will also talk with school staff, teachers, and anyone else connected to the child to get as much information as possible. This work requires her to use interview skills, to analyze the information given, and to draw conclusions about the next steps to be taken.

Watching children flourish
Elyse’s job is emotionally challenging but she loves what she does. Her favorite part about the job is engaging with the children for whom she is advocating and protecting. She loves seeing them grow and their personalities change.

For fun
If she’s not working, you can find Elyse taking mini road trips with her husband, white-water rafting, and planning for her next accomplishment: graduate school! She plans to go to law school or obtain a master’s in sociology.

Interviewed by Jacqueline Elizondo

What I’m up to now, UIC Sociology faculty

Follow the links below or just scroll down to see what our faculty are up to!

Amy Bailey, Associate Professor
Andy Clarno, Associate Professor
Claire Decoteau, Associate Professor
Nilda Flores-Gonzalez, Professor
Lorena Garcia, Associate Professor
Rachel Gordon, Professor
Maria Krysan, Professor
Amanda Lewis, Professor
Patrisia Macias-Rojas, Assisant Professor
Paul-Brian McInerney, Associate Professor
Pamela Popielarz, Associate Professor
Barbara Risman, UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor
Atef Said, Assistant Professor
Laurie Schaffner, Associate Professor

Amy Bailey: What I’m up to now

Web       abailey-81

Amy Bailey

I’m teaching
SOC 300: Introduction to Sociological Research Methods
Sociology 426: Veterans in the Media – Race, Gender, and Class
SOC 500: Sociological Research Methods I

I’m currently working on
Three separate projects:

  • Media coverage of Veterans (race, gender, class)
  • Averted Lynching Project
  • Transitions to adulthood

My recent and forthcoming publications include
E. M. Beck, Stewart E. Tolnay, and Amy Kate Bailey. 2016. “Contested Terrain: The State versus Threatened Lynch Mob Violence,” American Journal of Sociology 121 (6): 1856-1884.

Amy Kate Bailey, Madisen Drury, and Hannah Randall. forthcoming. “College for All? A Quasi-Experimental Study of Student Academic Performance Before and After Universal Funding.” Armed Forces & Society.

I also have two recent book chapters, co-authored with UIC graduate students. They are:

Allison Suppan Helmuth and Amy Kate Bailey. 2017. “Gender, Residential Segregation, and Military Enlistment.” invited book chapter. Gender (In)equality: Stalled Revolutions and Shifting Terrains in the 21st Century. Shannon N. Davis, Sarah Winslow, and David J. Maume, editors. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Amy Kate Bailey, Christopher D. Poulos and Kylee M. Joosten. 2016. “Housing Veterans: Homelessness and Mortgages.” invited book chapter, pp. 693 – 717 in The Civilian Lives of U.S. Veterans: Issues and Identities. Louis Hicks, Eugenia L. Weiss and Jose E. Coll, editors. Praeger/ABC-CLIO.

I recently received
Tenure & promotion to Associate Professor!

This summer, I… 
Hiked in the Seattle area.

My office hours are
Mondays, 4:30-5:30pm & Thursdays, 10:30-11:30am

See Amy Bailey’s full bio on the UIC Sociology website here.

Andy Clarno: What I’m up to now

Web       clarno---uic-sociology---small

Andy Clarno

I’m teaching
SOC 509: Policing in Chicago – Qualitative Data Analysis and Public Sociology

I’m also the Acting Director of the Social Justice Initiative at UIC.

I’m currently working on
A community engaged research project on policing in Chicago. We want to understand the impact of advanced data analysis and coordination between local, state, and federal policing agencies on policing in Chicago.

I recently published
Neoliberal Apartheid: Palestine/Israel and South Africa After 1994
You can find it at a local bookstore!

Short pieces in Middle East Report and Al-Shabaka.

I recently received
A promotion to Associate Professor

This summer, I…
Taught my son to swim…and tried teaching him to sleep.

My office hours are
Wednesdays 10am-12pm and by appointment

See Andy Clarno’s full bio on the UIC Sociology website here.

Claire Decoteau: What I’m up to now

Web       decoteau_claire

Claire Decoteau

I’m teaching
Graduate Proseminar
SOC 520: Sociology of Body

I’m currently working on
Writing my book on contestations over autism in Somali diaspora communities in Minneapolis and Toronto. It focuses on how Somali parents understand their children’s vulnerability to autism and seek services.

I recently published
The “Western disease”: Autism and Somali parents’ embodied health movements

Psychiatry’s little other: DSM-5 and debates over psychiatric science

I recently received
2014-2017 National Science Foundation Award, $193,972.00

This summer, I…
Hung out with my 9-month old son, including fun Chicago activities like the beach and pool.

My office hours are
Thursdays, 1-3pm

See Claire Decoteau’s full bio on the UIC Sociology website here.