Sociology & Anthropology

Featured Graduate Student - Casandra Perchalski

Casandra Perchalski

I began my Master’s degree in the communication department here at WIU in the fall of 2015, after a very challenging semester in that department of constantly rewriting papers because I was too sociologically driven I decided to come ‘home” to the sociology department.  I was a women’s studies major and political science minor as a bachelor’s student and should have realized from the beginning that my place was in sociology where I can be more of “boots on the ground” person about the social problems that I find so close to my heart.

I have a deep passion for studying social inequality and figuring out how to end social problems.  My favorite topics of study is the adoption industry and the social inequality that comes from poor women feeling compelled to place their babies with rich families and the very capitalistic environment that the infant adoption industry has created.  I, also, have a deep passion for gender inequality and the imbalance of resources that this country suffers from.

My favorite class, by a landslide, has been Dr. Tawnya Adkins-Covert’s Gender and Society class, I not only took it as part of my undergraduate requirements, but I am also doing a teaching internship for that class this semester.  I began my master’s career wanting to write a thesis, but decided on a teaching internship instead due to wanting more experience in the classroom as a way of making myself more marketable for a future teaching position.

I hope to finish up my master’s in December and then begin applying for Ph.D. programs next fall, since I will be studying for and taking my GRE in the spring. I am currently looking at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio, where hopefully I will be offered a full time position once I complete my doctorate.  I am hoping to teach special topics classes at the collegiate level, and ideally would love to lobby Congress about changing the nation’s adoption policies from a state level to a federal level.

As a forty-five year old graduate student, who didn’t even finish get her bachelor’s until she was forty-three, my education is about making a difference and not making money, and I knew deep down that sociology was the only place that I could make the difference I feel compelled to make.  

Featured Alumnae -- Sociology Graduate Program

Jenna Pirok.

WIU MA Alumnae and University of Missouri Ph.D. Candidate  Jenna Pirok

Jenna Pirok is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri–Columbia. Her area of focus are health and inequalities.

Her research examines how post-mastectomy breast cancer survivors experience their bodies while navigating prosthetic use and breast reconstruction. She teaches courses pertaining to gender, health, and the body. Jenna also works as a research assistant in the Sociology and Women and Gender Studies Departments at the university. In 2013-2014, Jenna served as the graduate representative to the Sociology faculty meetings and will be the graduate representative to the Awards Committee in 2014-2015. She received her BA in Sociology from WIU in 2008 and her MA in Sociology from WIU in 2011. She is expected to graduate with her PhD in Sociology from the University of Missouri in Spring 2016.


From Our Graduates:

"Being a graduate student in sociology gave me the research experience I use on a daily basis for my current job. It is a handy tool to be able to conduct research in an efficient and accurate manner. The information I present to members of our association is different but the basic skills I learned as a graduate student helped tremendously." - Kevin Runkle, M.A. '03 (Regulatory Affairs Manager, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association)

"I believe my scholarly training in sociological theory and methodology prepared me well for an academic career. The faculty took a personal interest in my educational experience and advised me regarding a wide range of professional activities. I feel particularly fortunate to have had their instruction." - Janet Bokemeier, M.A. '75 (Chair, Department of Sociology, Michigan State University)

"The sociology graduate program at WIU gave me the opportunity to work with great professors and graduate students. The small graduate student-to-professor ratio provided me with the hands- on training I needed as a sociologist. I was encouraged to practice sociology through individual and collaborative research projects and received the support and encouragement needed to finish the program and pursue a doctorate in sociology." - Geraldine Hendrix-Sloan, M.A. '03 (Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Minnesota State University-Moorhead)