The sociology program at Missouri State prides itself on providing its students with the experiences and education to work as sociologists or continue their education.
Gail O’Connor graduated with a degree in sociology from Missouri State; an experience she says prepared her to achieve her goals as a sociologist.
“Knowing that I accomplished my first collegiate academic goal is priceless,” said O’Connor. “The sociology program helped me prepare for graduate school through its great classes, wonderful professors and my research assistantship that I participated in.”
Currently working on a master’s degree in sociology at the University of Arkansas, O’Connor also works as a graduate assistant in their Community and Family Institute.
“I chose sociology as my area of study because it has a great impact on the community,” said O’Connor. “My ultimate goal is to make the world a better place, and the best way to begin that effort is to start in my own community.”
O’Connor also credits the sociology faculty for fostering her interest in sociology and emphasizing community level sociology, sparking a passion for involvement doing research and grant writing.
O’Connor worked as a research assistant for Dr. Tim Knapp where she co-authored several reports including the Community Partnership of the Ozarks Survey Assessment of Needy Families, Every One Counts Housing Vulnerability Survey and the One Door Application Data Analysis.
“I was able to learn first-hand how to collect, input, analyze and interpret data about the Springfield community,” said O’Connor.
In addition to her research position, O’Connor worked as a grant writer under Christina Ryder, and acquired skills such as, writing reports, analyzing data, administering surveys and several other irreplaceable skills that made her a more educated sociologist and helped her secure a position as a graduate assistantship at the University of Arkansas.
“Without the research assistantship and the hands-on experience the sociology program provided me, I would not be the sociologist I am today,” said O’Connor. “Because of Dr. Knapp and Christina I am going to make a positive difference in the world and I have found something that I am truly passionate about.”