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Sociology

Alumni Profiles

Angelica Snyder (2008)
Prospect Researcher, Advancement Office at the Culinary Institute of
America (CIA).

"I am a prospect researcher, which means that I research individuals, corporations, and foundations that have the potential to become donors (called "prospects" and "suspects") to my institution. On a daily basis I gather data about these prospects so that the advancement officers in my department can create strategies and eventually make "asks" for donations. I am also responsible for managing the officers' caseloads of prospects, handling prospect assignments, and helping to maintain pertinent information in our departmental database.  Working in fund-raising constantly reminds me of all the readings  on socioeconomic status that I completed while at New Paltz.  When looking at prospects, there are certain SES patterns that help to clue me in to whether or not s/he has the potential to be a donor to our institution.  The classes in research methods and statistics (with the assistance of some graduate-level classes in the same disciplines) helped me to think analytically and conceptualize ways to organize and analyze the information that I collect so that we can use it to develop strategies.”

 

David Malloy (2005)
Financial Processes, Louis Vuitton
"My job is to identify issues and concerns with our core Financial Processes, and provide alternatives and solutions that will create an atmosphere where we can work together better and trust that the data we're seeing are accurate. Throughout my career I've used the lessons I learned in Sociology to aid me in thinking about core business issues critically. I'm able to bring a mind to the table that is capable of considering many possible scenarios and objectively choosing the best option that serves the greater good, even if that decision isn't necessarily popular. My communication skills allow me to take these unpopular decisions we're making and effectively communicate confidence to our company. If I can take one thing from all of my years studying Sociology that I use on a daily basis, it is the idea that we should never walk into a room and expect to know everything. We may think ourselves to be an expert in an area but if I were to assume I knew everything about my area of expertise I would be denying myself the opportunity to learn. It's only when we can learn to listen that we'll ever truly learn anything. Aristotle said it best when he said: "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." We must be able to rid ourselves of any prejudice (of knowledge or of people) if we ever truly hope to evolve as an individual. The success I've had in my career can be tied to my ability to quickly learn, adapt, and participate effectively."

Edwin J. Berkowitz (1967)
Marketing Executive at a mid-size consumer goods firm
“I had a perfect cumulative average in sociology, but I never would have gotten the job that was the launching pad to my becoming marketing chief of a sizable consumer goods firm had I not received an MBA from a prestigious school. Ironically, my business school major was finance, but the synergy of a couple of basic marketing courses plus social stratification, the sociology of the community, social psychology, as well as good old basic sociology, enabled me to become a marketing pro. Actually, I started law school directly after New Paltz, and then enrolled in a new joint JD-MBA program. It was my facility with and love for sociology that resulted in the grade point average that got me into a highly prestigious law school at a time when only elite schools had combined law and business programs. That was an indirect, but palpable, benefit of majoring in sociology.”

Tara Dugo (2003)
Paralegal at a family law firm in Greenwich, CT
Law Student, Pace Law School
“I believe I use my sociology education everyday.  It helped me gain a better understanding of people.  I work at a law firm that represents mostly high end clients. Everyday I work with people who are going through serious life changing experiences with regards to their marital and collateral relationships (i.e. children, friends, neighbors, family, etc).   My sociology education helps me to empathize with the clients, and by doing so I am able to better communicate with them. On another note, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my time at New Paltz.  I loved everything about the sociology program at New Paltz and have the highest regard for ALL of the professors in the sociology department.  I would and have recommended New Paltz (specifically the sociology department) to many people in the past and will continue to do so.”  

James V. Fallarino (2005) 
Public Affairs Director, Long Island Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Services Network
“I was recently promoted from the Director of Youth Services to the Public Affairs Director for the organization.  My work includes community organizing, public policy and increasing the visibility of the organization and the community it serves throughout the region, state and country.  I love being able to work with the GLBT community in such a direct way.  Having the opportunity to serve the community and (hopefully) create positive change is exactly what I wanted to do with my career!  I was part of the Human Services Concentration and, especially in my previous positions at the agency, that course work was relevant on a constant basis.  My agency uses the principals of positive youth development, which I gained a strong understanding of while at New Paltz.  Since so many of the New Paltz sociology professors had backgrounds in activism, I learned a great deal from them and am now able to apply it to my work.”

Jordan Ann Farnham (2005)
Bronx District Attorney’s office
“I believe that New Paltz truly gave me the foundation to make the career choices I did. I graduated from New Paltz in May of 2005, majoring in sociology and with a concentration in Human Services. I am about to graduate from the City University School of Law. CUNY Law School is the only law school in New York whose mission is law in the service of human needs. I have recently accepted a position at the Bronx District Attorney's Office and am very excited.  Throughout law school I have had the opportunity to partake in a number of internships in the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office working in the Domestic Violence Bureau. It was there that I was able to assist in court proceedings, conduct intakes and work with victims of domestic violence. The summer before that I worked at Legal Aid - Juvenile Rights division. During that summer I worked with attorneys who specialized in Child Protection Cases. In both of these internships and in my upcoming job at the DA’s office, they all require a basic understanding of humanity and an ability to use the skills I acquired while pursuing a degree in sociology and human services. My educational background has helped me to understand and work with people from all walks of life. I came into this field already knowing how to relate to clients and the type of professionalism and compassion that it takes to truly be an advocate for a person or a community. I treasure the experience, education and relationships with professors and peers I made while attending New Paltz.”

Gus Gock (2002)
Ulster County Department of Social Services, Adult Protective Services
“I’m a caseworker by title, but my work varies from minute to minute. I do everything from finding a place for the homeless, to investigating all types of abuse, to petitioning for guardianships of those who lost their faculties. I work with the District Attorney and the Sheriff sometimes going after kids who are financially exploiting their parents.  The job is mentally and physically draining at times.  Every time the phone rings you never know what will happen and you may have to rush out the door to drive 30 miles for god knows what, only to return to more work that showed up while you were gone. Without the foundation I began building early on, I'd be just another lost sheep bumbling my way through this job pretending I know what I’m doing.  My sociology education has helped me mostly to keep an open mind and not to jump to conclusions about anything.  It sounds silly, but to me it makes sense. Also, a sense of professionalism was formed early on that helped tone down my unruly teen years that are long gone.”

Jessica Guberman, Ph.D. (1998)
Executive Director, Community Options
“Working in the nonprofit arena of business, I have had opportunities to mobilize people for the mission and for a larger purpose.  There is nothing more exciting to me than bringing people together, mobilizing them and then seeing the changes that can come when people work together. I work with individuals with disabilities and even though I am in a senior, administrative position, I see the rewards of the work everyday when I run into someone who I support who has a developmental disability and they have just started their new job, or have departed a horrific state institution and are so grateful because their lives are so much better, or seeing a child with autism get up on a surf board for the first time and ride a wave. I believe there is power in numbers. I may be an Executive Director, but I believe my real job is to promote freedom of choice and an improved life quality through community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities.  This only happens when people mobilize, which I learned from my sociology professors.”

Danielle V Hemsley (2005)
Grants Case Manager, AIDS Related Community Services (ARCS)

“I graduated in May 2005 with a BA in sociology (Concentration in Criminology) and a minor in Women’s Studies. I have worked at ARCS since July 2005 and have been promoted twice. I provide case management to 30 HIV + clients, I facilitate a Women’s Wellness and Empowerment Group for HIV+ women, and I manage a food pantry and donation closet. I love working in a place where I can help change the world by having a positive impact on the lives of individuals. Case management helps empower people to make their lives more manageable by connecting them with other services, assisting with problem solving, offering harm reduction approaches, goal planning, listening, and having a unique relationship. My sociology education always helps me on the job. I understand the effects that oppression has had on my clients. This helps me to not judge my clients the way that other people in society may. It also helps me to normalize experiences that my clients may have had, so that they can move away from a place of feeling ashamed and alone. Sociology has also helped me in my personal life and helped me build unique critical thinking skills that make me question information that I receive through the media. I believe that sociologists are some of the brightest people, because we continue to learn on a daily basis through questioning and not just accepting what we are told!”


Genell Kianes-Donohue (2001)
Rehabilitation Counselor, New York State Education Department/VESID
“I am a SUNY New Paltz graduate who majored and graduated in sociology in 2001. Currently, I am a Rehabilitation Counselor, working in the New York State Education Department/VESID. I provide vocational counseling/services for people with disabilities. I have been in this position for one year. Prior to working for NYSED/VESID, I worked as Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, working with the Welfare to Work population who had dual diagnoses of substance abuse and mental illness. Prior to this I worked in two different substance abuse treatment settings. Although entering the substance abuse world was a direct result of my graduate studies, it was through the SUNY New Paltz foundation in sociology that I was able to fall in love with helping people. While at New Paltz, I was able to intern at the New Paltz Youth Center and Food Pantry. Also, I was given the opportunity to put my education into practice as I was a Resident Assistant and Senior Resident Assistant in the Residence Life Department while attending school. After graduating in 2001, I was able to take a sociology graduate class aboard and studied the Social Welfare System of Germany and compared it to United States.  This was a fulfilling experience; words cannot express the valuable lessons I learned and hold with me today. The combination of my formal education with my practical experiences was the start of an amazing career. I have been providing counseling services since 2001 and there is not one day I have woken up regretting my decision. This field is not about earning thousands, but changing lives. Making other people believe in themselves, changing lives of others, and helping others find their potential. This was all from a school and department that gave me an opportunity to capitalize on my strengths and hidden passion. Thank you for a wonderful foundation and education.”

Marybeth Koon (1995)
Instructional Technologist, Rochester Institute of Technology
“On a daily basis I am communicating with faculty and students. I deal with people who are apprehensive about teaching online for the first time, or frustrated with the technology. I have to help them work through those issues on a professional level and for everyone the path might be a little different. My education has always stayed with me. It helped me to acquire the skills to work with people on a number of levels and to find the resources to help me better understand the dynamics between people, communities, and in general the overall structure, in particular of the place I work. Having this awareness is helpful.  I’ve dealt with students who have been upset or had trouble with a particular course. I’ve had to intervene and help faculty and students work through issues or act as an advocate for students and get them to the services or people they needed to resolve issues. The National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) is also located on the RIT campus, and I’ve been very involved in accessibility issues as they relate to technology and online education. Our office does a lot of research on how Deaf and Hard of Hearing students and Hearing students interact and communicate in this type of environment and how the learning experiences are for them. We’ve also done a lot of work with applying technology to make sure our courses are accessible and educating our faculty on issues to consider when teaching online.  I’ve also had to learn how people learn so that I can be more effective in providing training and creating training resources.  Overall, I work more or less with how technology can facilitate person-to-person communication as well as group communication within the context of higher education. My education really gave me the means and resources to make me successful at what I do.”

Randy Lauchaire (1974)
Associate Information Systems Analyst, Fiscal Intermediary & Contracts Oversight Division
California Department of Health Care Services
“My current position is classified as an Associate Information Systems Analyst. I am the liaison between the California Children’s Services (CCS) and a data processing company, which is under contract to maintain the Medicaid Management Information Systems (MMIS) for the State. I am involved with the development of work plans or evaluating proposed functional and technical design modifications to an existing system that pays the providers of CCS services throughout the State. For eight years, I have been an analyst for the State of California in various analyst capacities including General Analyst, Legislative Bill Analyst and Contract Analyst. Because of the nature of my position, I must be able to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing with my peers, clients and system users.  The communication and research skills that I acquired in college in general, and in my sociology courses specifically, have helped me in working with others to ensure project success. My sociology background, especially training in research methodology, has also given me direction to pursue this worthwhile and gratifying vocation.”

 

Catherine Paykin, MSW
National Kidney Foundation
New York, NY

“I develop and implement educational and supportive programs for transplant recipients to help them keep as healthy as they possibly can be.  I like working to help people who have chronic illnesses.  I can be creative when developing seminars, when I write booklets and develop other program ideas to educate and support people who are facing adversity. The sociology degree was wonderful for me - giving me grounding in ‘what life is really about.’  It is about people and the systems that influence them and that they influence.  It provided me with understanding about the social aspects of chronic illness - how does a person live well in society when they may not look well, feel well or have access to good insurance?  They have to work harder to get an education and career that will finance their needs and provide them with insurance that protects them.  Studying sociology helped me to understand how advocacy is important, how to help patients feel empowered to talk with their doctors, how incremental changes can make a difference when people lobby, write letters, and appeal for change with the government.   There is a need to understand how systems operate and how they can be influenced and how an individual, based on their social/cultural background, will react to and live with a medical condition.  How people think and act and how systems work are all things I learned by studying sociology.”

Joanne Rodriguez (2003)
Resource Counselor in the Social Work Department at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital
Bronx, NY

“I am a Resource Counselor in the Social Work Department. We are a community advocacy program that helps patients with Medicare, Medicaid, Financial Assistance and other public entitlements. I've worked here for about four years.  I am an advocate first, so this enables me to help the patient with small limitations. I help patients obtain their health care when they are in poor health. This has been the most fulfilling job that I have encountered. A lot of the education that I acquired at New Paltz has enabled me to apply it to my work. I was able to do it while I was in college working with autistic adults, then after college working with the foster care system, and now with public health benefits. Knowing the theories and policies was a key factor in understanding my role in the institution as a worker. Most importantly, a lot of what I had learned in my sociology courses is now applicable not only at work, but also while obtaining my Master's in Social Work at this time.”