student spotlight

Whitney Frierson, Graduate student

Whitney Frierso

MA in Sociology
Participant in the 2018 Michigan Humanities Emerging Research Scholars Program at the University of Michigan
Whitney Frierson, a University of Arkansas graduate student and Arkansas native, has been selected as a participant in the 2018 Michigan Humanities Emerging Research Scholars Program at the University of Michigan. This program is designed to encourage rising seniors, recent B.A.s, and terminal master's students from diverse cultural, economic, geographic and ethnic backgrounds to consider pursuing a doctoral degree in humanities at the University of Michigan.
This summer research experience will help Frierson learn about the various fields within her discipline along with the latest methodologies and developments from faculty in individual departments. She will have the opportunity to work on a piece of her own scholarship or develop a research project in consultation with U-M faculty and graduate students in their field. Participating students will receive practical instruction on applying to graduate school and pursuing careers inside and outside academia. Frierson will be focusing on qualitative sociology.
Frierson is pursuing a Master of Arts in sociology in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. She currently serves as president for the sociology honors society, Alpha Kappa Delta, and secretary of the Black Graduate Student Association. She is from West Helena and holds a bachelor's degree in sociology and African American studies from the University of Arkansas, where she graduated as a senior of significance in 2016.

Mattie Harris photo student

Mattie Harris

BA in Criminal Justice, Sociology and Middle East Studies Major
Minor: Arabic
Anticipated graduation: Dec 2019 
Mattie said: ''I am majoring in Criminal Justice, Sociology, Middle East studies and minoring in Arabic. I have such a wide range of studies. I have always had a passion for the Middle East and public service. I was fortunate to find a degree plan that satisfied these passions, while graduating on time. I am looking forward to the endless possibilities that will arise out of my studies''.
 How long have you been at Fulbright College? What have you enjoyed most about your time here?
I have been a student at Fulbright College for three years. I have enjoyed forming relationships with the professors and my classmates the most about my time here. 
What has your favorite class been so far and why?
This is so hard. I have had favorites with each major and minor. With criminal justice, my favorite class was corrections. This class was my favorite because of what I gained from it. It did not give me warm, happy feelings by any means because it was all about the prison systems. However, I gained valuable insight about the life of a convict and was able to see them as humans instead of criminals. In sociology, my favorite class was social psychology because I learned so much about myself through the topics we studied and really appreciated my professor, Mr. Worden. In Middle Eastern studies, my favorite class was the Bible and the Koran. Dr. Allen’s puns and dad jokes definitely were part of the reason. I also learned so much about the Koran and Islam, which I knew very little about before taking the class. I thought I knew a lot about the Bible before taking the class, but the class made me realize just how much I did not know about the Bible. It was awesome, because we looked at it from a literature perspective.
What advice would you give to new students about to join the college?
Don’t be afraid to form connections with your professors. Do the reading! I know it’s hard when you have so much reading, studying and papers, but the reading is very helpful not just with doing well in the class, but with life. The things I learned in my textbooks, I have used in everyday conversation or life experiences. Also, never limit yourself. Apply for everything, and don’t let rejection keep you from applying for the next thing.
What do you like to do during your time outside of the university?
I love people! My mom would probably say that I am always hanging out with friends. It is true; I am always with people whether it’s my family or friends doing something.
When do you anticipate graduating, and what’s up next on the horizon for you?
I anticipate graduating December of 2019, a semester after I return from being abroad for a year. As far as my next steps, I will be looking for a government job, in order to begin my career and to fulfill my federal service requirement. I hope to find a job where I will be able to utilize each major and minor. I also hope to get in some more travel.
Is there anything else you’d like to add or let readers know?
Life’s too short to sweat the small things. Find something you’re passionate about, and pursue it.
Author: Andra Liwag | Oct 1, 2018 | Dean's Corner, Faces of Fulbright, Q & A 

 Taylor Johnson, student

Taylor Johnson

Major: Criminology and Sociology  
Minor: Legal Studies   
Anticipated Graduation: May 2019
I have always had a passion for the Criminal Justice system, though when I entered college I was unsure of which major to pursue. After taking Intro to Criminal Justice, I was hooked (Additionally, I have a minor in Legal Studies)! I recently added Sociology as a major also! I am pumped for an exciting career that will make a difference!
How long have you been at Fulbright College? What have you enjoyed most about your time here?
I have been a Fulbright student for three and a half years! I have enjoyed working towards a degree that I am passionate about and having the opportunity to have classes with dedicated and unique professors!
What has your favorite class been so far and why?
My favorite class thus far has been Juvenile Justice! It is an amazing Criminology elective and you are able to see how things work in terms of juveniles that commit crime! P.S. Last Chance in Texas (book we read in class) is a great read also!
What advice would you give to new students about to join the college?
Don’t waste your short time here at the U of A! Get involved on and off campus with organizations and volunteer work that you are passionate about!
What do you like to do during your time outside of the university?
My favorite pastime is going to the movies! Any time I have free time, I will typically be at a movie theater!
When do you anticipate graduating, and what’s up next on the horizon for you?
After graduation this May, I will be working as a Collegiate Development Consultant (Chapter Consultant) for my Greek organization, Delta Gamma. After this I plan on either obtaining my Master’s Degree or heading to law school.

Bryn Smernoff, undergraduate student in Sociology

Bryn Smernoff

BA in Sociology 
Bryn Smernoff, a sociology major and 21-year-old self-proclaimed "emerging adult," spent the summer in Washington, D.C., researching youth and emerging adulthood with Patricia Herzog, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice  in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, and co-director of the Center for Social Research. 
Smernoff summarizes a definition of emerging adulthood by Jeffrey Arnett, as "a life stage encompassing people ages 18 to 25, characterized by instability, identity exploration, self-focus, feeling in-between, and an age of possibilities."
Smernoff fell in love with sociology and social science research while taking Herzog's Social Research and Emerging Adulthood in America classes last year. Her excellence in those classes prompted Herzog to invite her to participate in the research project this summer in Washington, D.C. The day-to-day research Smernoff conducted at the Pew Research Center built on and expanded her classroom experiences. Smernoff's research consisted of analyzing and synthesizing articles for information that will be used to craft a national survey of teens.
"Having a space to work at the center has given me a taste of working life and been quite a highlight of the experience for me. Having heard and read a lot about Pew prior to my stay, I am so appreciative of the opportunity to see how the Center runs from the inside," Smernoff said. "I can proudly say that this project has been valuable in strengthening and sharpening my social research skills set, and afforded me the chance to grow both as a student and as a person."
Herzog, Smernoff's mentor, said she was an impressive researcher whose contirbutions were of a high value.
"Bryn is one of the best undergraduate student research interns with whom I have had the opportunity to work," Herzog said. "Seeing the Pew Research Center through her eyes enhanced my own experiences there, and it was a tremendous help to know I could count on her capable hands to complete high-quality research on-time and impressively."
Beyond the research experience itself, Smernoff also had the opportunity to network with a group of undergraduate students: some working with Herzog and some working with Joseph Herzog, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics. They had the chance to tour the city together and take in the many cultural sites.
The Herzogs also visited with Jace Motley, a recent University of Arkansas graduate who is now working in U.S. Sen. John Boozman's office and provided a personal tour of the Capitol along with a few other recent alumni. In addition, Smernoff and Herzog toured the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts together while discussing the history of the civil rights movement.
Smernoff's career plans include building on her research around youth and emerging adulthood and supporting students with learning disabilities. She plans to follow her passion once she graduates by securing a job working for a non-profit organization, perhaps in a research capacity.
As Smernoff reflects on the scholarship on meaning-making, purpose, and life direction that she read this summer, she says that it is important to her to pursue meaningful work to support those in need.

 Caitlin Tidwell, Criminology and Sociology student

Caitlin Tidwell

BA in Criminology and Sociology
I am majoring in Criminology and Sociology because of my love for human rights. Before college, I had always considered our legal system to be just; however, I learned through my courses at the University of Arkansas that this statement is extremely inaccurate. I hope to continue my degree at the masters level, where I plan on centering my research around the injustices procured through capital punishment. I am anxious and excited to see where the knowledge I have gained will take me.  
I have been apart of the Fullbright college since I was a Freshman at the University of Arkansas.  Overall, I have enjoyed the connections and ties that I have made. This department has always made me feel as if I was at home. I feel that I would not have been as successful in my studies if I wouldn’t have had such caring and impactful mentors and professors, thank you Fullbright college for instilling me with success.

Photo of students who presented at Southwestern Association of Criminal Justice

Criminology and Sociology Students Present at Southwestern Association of Criminal Justice

Students: Shelby Clark, Whitney Frierson, Alison Keeling, Katelynn Sigrist, Sam Thomas
In mid-October, nine members of RSO Lambda Alpha Epsilon, a national criminal justice academic fraternity, went to the 2017 Southwestern Association of Criminal Justice annual meeting with their adviser Lauren Copley Sabon.
In addition to learning about research conducted across the region by criminal justice scholars, several students presented their research and participated in the crime scene investigation competition. One of the LAE crime-scene investigation teams brought home third place overall for the second year in a row.
Several J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences students also presented their research, including:
Whitney Frierson and Shelby Clark
Graduate Students in the Department of Sociology and Criminology
presented research conducted in conjunction with the Returning Home Center in Springdale titled, "A Case Study of Local Re-entry Needs and Programming"
Shelby Clark and Alison Keeling
Graduate and Undergraduate Student in the Department of Sociology and Criminology presented findings from a research-focused service-learning course under Mindy Bradley and Megan Handley titled, "Student-Led Community Intervention and Project B.R.A.V.E."
Sam Thomas
Graduate Student in the Department of Sociology and Criminology
presented his master's thesis research titled, "Prison Release, Religious Contexts, and Recidivism"
Katelynn Sigrist
Undergraduate Student in the Department of Political Science
presented her work with the Juvenile Justice Improvement Project in NWA titled, "Asset Mapping for Juvenile Justice"
All of the presenters received an excellent reception and feedback on their work.