Four sociology students from Marlboro College presented posters at the annual conference of the Eastern Sociological Society (ESS), in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from February 28 to 30. The theme of the meeting was “Sociology as a Science and Vocation: In the Era of National Populism,” and each of the four students presented work related to their Plan of Concentration research during an undergraduate poster session.
“It felt good to see everybody’s work up there, and it was a great experience,” said senior Grace Hamilton, who presented a poster titled “Navigating Privilege and Difference in Human Service Work.” A component of one of Grace’s Plan papers, her poster focused on her ethnographic work at a summer camp for predominantly African-American children, reflecting on racialized interactions between the campers and white outsiders such as herself.
“This is all with the hope of making me better prepared to enter human service work,” said Grace. “I know I’m a privileged person, and a lot of the populations I’ll be working with will not have as much privilege as I do, so I just wanted to try to prepare myself to navigate this difference in the field.”
“Students had a lot of fun challenges to take a large body of work, make it small enough to fit on a poster, and present it—and they did an amazing job,” said Jennifer Girouard, sociology professor, who accompanied her students to the conference. “Another impressive thing is that they were presenting work that was still ongoing, whereas a lot of students at the conference were presenting posters on work that they did last semester. This was a good challenge, and they met it— and they could get feedback to take back to their work.”
Jennifer also participated in a panel titled “Whiteness, Power, and Threat,” where she presented a paper titled “The Unspoken in the Unmarked: Tracking Racial Silences and the Process of Avoiding Together.”“People were super excited about that topic,” said Jennifer. “That’s the benefit of these conferences is that you get to try out ideas. Students get to talk with other scholars and see what that world is like.”
Senior Cyane Thomas presented her research titled “Cross-Cultural Unity or Division: Analysis of Fans within the Korean Pop Music Subculture,” where she found significant differences between K-pop fans in South Korea and those in Western countries. “It was odd being there presenting about this musical genre when everyone else was there talking about racial things and political things and poverty,” said Cyane. “Luckily I’m the kind of person who can talk about K-pop in any space.”
The three seniors also presented their posters to the Marlboro College community in March, where they received more engagement and feedback as they work toward completing their Plans. A fourth poster, titled “Expectation Differences Between School- and Nonprofit-Education,” was presented at the ESS conference by Sage Kampitsis ’19, who had just graduated so was not present at the March session.