Read what some of our alumni say about their experience in the sociology program:
Dudley Poston (M.A., ’67):
I am an emeritus professor of sociology at Texas A&M University. I just retired last month after a career of almost 50 years at the University of Texas-Austin, Cornell, and Texas A&M. I have taught demography, statistics, sociology of gender, demography of sexuality and many other courses over my career. And I have published many books and articles in these areas. I served as department chair at Cornell and at Texas A&M. I‘ve headed the sociology doctoral committees of over 60 graduate students, and I’ve taught sociology classes during my career to around 4,500 to 5,000 undergraduate students.
My two years at SF State in the 1960s started me off on this great career.
I then began graduate school at SF State in the Spring semester of 1963. Dr. Garrity was the Chair of the department and he helped me get started in the program. There was so much more sociology at SF State than there had been at USF. It was exciting to take classes, and I had some wonderful classes: social psychology from Dr. Garrity; social research from Dr. Lastrucci; industrial sociology from Dr. Terrien; sociological theory from Dr. Brandemeyer; urban sociology and research methods from Dr. Dodge.
In my second class with Dr. Dodge he told me he thought I should consider becoming a sociologist and he recommended that I continue graduate studies for a doctoral degree. He was instrumental in my being accepted in the graduate sociology program at University of Oregon. Indeed my mentor there at Oregon, Dr. Martin, was the mentor of Dr. Dodge when he was a grad student at Oregon five or so years earlier. I graduated from Oregon in 1968, spent two years in the Army in Georgia, California, and Vietnam, and then started out as an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin in January of 1970. I was at Austin for 18 years, at Cornell for 4, and at Texas A&M for 27.
It has been a truly wonderful life and career. But I attribute my real introduction to sociology to my classes and teachers at SF State and to Dr. Dodge for his mentoring and advising.
So I thought you’d like to hear from an old-timer about how important SF State was in my life more than 50 years ago. I never ever could have made it through the PhD program at Oregon without my classwork and experiences and the professors at SF State. Several of them wrote recommendation letters for me, and I kept up with a couple of them into the early 1980s. They have all passed away by now. But I’ll never forget their classes and how much I learned from them and how exciting they were in their teaching of sociology.
Stephanie Arteaga (B.A., ’12):
When people ask about my undergraduate studies, I always get excited to tell them about SF State’s sociology program, and how it helped shaped the person I am and the work that I do today. I will never forget the passion with which Professor Hossfeld taught me about social inequality, the knowledge Professor Carrington shared with us about sexually marginalized communities, or the kind words from Professor Bettinger that helped me realize my own potential. Lastly, I met one of my long-time mentors, who I still work with to this day, during my time at the program. The faculty at SF State’s Sociology Department are truly committed to the success of their students, something that is difficult to find in other academic settings around the world.
Today, I am a public health researcher, working in sexual and reproductive health with a social justice lens. I have no doubt that my time in the Sociology Department equipped me with the skills needed to ask the right questions, use research methods to shine a light on the inequalities of world, and create meaningful change for communities in the Bay Area and around the country.
Mariah Santiago (B.A., ’13):
The Department of Sociology at SF State is unique because of the professors. My sociology professors were very passionate about “using your sociological imagination” and having discussions on current societal issues in order to give the class a deeper understanding of how society impacts us on various levels. My undergraduate milestone was definitely my research internship at the Center for Research Education Gender and Sexuality with Dr. Jessica Fields. This opportunity allowed me to apply the skills I was learning in the classroom to The Beyond Bullying Project and sparked my interest in qualitative research as well as community based participatory research.
I am now in the Master of Public Health program in Community Health Education at SF State, where I continue to practice my critical sociological lens on issues affecting marginalized populations. I also sit on the executive boards for the American Public Health Association LGBT Caucus with Dr. Gabriel Galindo, who taught Research Methods in the Department of Sociology at SF State.
Nima Zarkoub (B.A., ’16):
Sociology is the main reason I decided to take college seriously. The teachings of sociology opened my eyes to many fascinating ideas and cultures. The practices of the field are forever used in my viewpoint of the world now. I wish that I could have been more emerged in the studies even now almost a year out. Constantly, I look forward to new sociological perspectives and look for speeches to attend just because I fell in love with this field. From doing the lower level courses to the senior seminar class, the vast areas of studies really covered all my interest. This allowed me to grow the way I wanted to and made my academic life more successful.
Once I got to the upper division work, in particular Intro to Research Methods, I knew immediately I wanted to take SOC 393 Quantitative analysis. I was so excited to learn about big data and how numbers can tell a story; you just need the right question. The tutelage of the tenure professors was the guiding arm that cultivated yet another passion, Demography. I am now trying to pursue graduate degree in this area thanks to SF State’s sociology program. I finished one chapter, opening another all with the same passion. For that I am grateful to my professors and the opportunity of studying what I love.