30 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 email@example.com to get on the list for the Fall 2017 semester!
Dr. Korie Edwards
PhD, Sociology, UIC, 2004
MA, Sociology, UIC, 2000
BS, Civil Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, 1994
Dr. Edwards is an Associate Professor of Sociology at The Ohio State University. Her research primarily focuses on the intersectional relationship of race and religion. In particular, her work examines how religious organizations and religious leaders address and are impacted by race. Dr. Edwards says that her favorite part about her job is teaching graduate level courses because she learns new things from her students, who have their own experiences and backgrounds. Dr. Edwards also loves that her job enables her to produce new knowledge, a task at which she has excelled. She has published three books and fifteen chapters/articles, delivered fifty-five presentations, and worked on four different grants, the largest of which totaled over one million dollars for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
From Civil Engineering to … Sociology?
Dr. Edwards’ undergraduate education was in civil engineering, and after graduating she took a job with the Illinois Department of Transportation. After working and attending church with groups of people in which she found the leadership to be consistently white – despite colleagues of color with equivalent degrees and qualifications – she began to ask questions about the privilege some groups have over others. Research in her local library led her to the topic of sociology, where she found her true passion. Dr. Edwards applied to the sociology doctoral program at UIC and never looked back!
Dr. Edwards’ time at UIC
Dr. Edwards gained the ability to understand her world, experiences, and history while studying sociology at UIC. Her experience in graduate school was more than she expected because it opened her eyes to the world, gave her the tools to understand and study it, and to be able to produce knowledge to share. During her time at UIC, Dr. Edwards came to believe that underprivileged groups have, in some ways, a responsibility to produce knowledge, because knowledge can only be produced from a person’s individual standpoint.
Advice for students
We can only understand our social world once we understand who we are in relationship to others in a given social group. To develop this understanding, you should cultivate your sociological imagination (C. Wright Mills).
As a child, Dr. Edwards wanted to be a dancer, and still loves to watch Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater whenever she has the chance. Her ultimate dream is to own a beach home where she can relax, read a book and enjoy the beautiful view.
Interviewed by Stephanie Munoz