When I was still teaching sociology, I was often bemused when some students complained that they had too much reading to do ahead of class. We typically set two journal articles or book chapters as mandatory reading each week (and of course there were additional suggested texts). This level of reading will serve you well throughout your career.
In fact, your applied sociological work is likely to involve lots of reading and synthesis of different materials. Your output may not necessarily mean writing up this information. In all likelihood, you’ll have to provide verbal summaries and visual presentations of what you read. All that undergraduate reading will be invaluable to your career.
Read more on my website, Sociology at Work, a not-for-profit network that supports the career planning and professional development of applied sociologists.
[Text image] Applied sociology expands your ability to evaluate, organise & present new information quickly. High-res

When I was still teaching sociology, I was often bemused when some students complained that they had too much reading to do ahead of class. We typically set two journal articles or book chapters as mandatory reading each week (and of course there were additional suggested texts). This level of reading will serve you well throughout your career.

In fact, your applied sociological work is likely to involve lots of reading and synthesis of different materials. Your output may not necessarily mean writing up this information. In all likelihood, you’ll have to provide verbal summaries and visual presentations of what you read. All that undergraduate reading will be invaluable to your career.

Read more on my website, Sociology at Work, a not-for-profit network that supports the career planning and professional development of applied sociologists.

[Text image] Applied sociology expands your ability to evaluate, organise & present new information quickly.

In this video, I discuss the careers panel that I sat on as part of the annual conference for The Australian Sociological Association (TASA). I focus on the panel discussion about how to translate theory into practice when you’re working outside academia. I also cover workplace ethics in the video, as well issues about managing professional identity outside of academia and the importance of networking. I was asked about how I manage my research consultancy business. I talk about how to market yourself and how to establish a professional reputation with prospective clients using social media.

Read a summary of the video on Sociology at Work.

ever-so-slightly-monstrous:

“Here is how the internship scam works. It’s not about a “skills” gap. It’s about a morality gap. 1) Make higher education worthless by redefining “skill” as a specific corporate contribution. Tell young people they have no skills. 2) With “skill” irrelevant, require experience. Make internship sole path to experience. Make internships unpaid, locking out all but rich. 3) End on the job training for entry level jobs. Educated told skills are irrelevant. Uneducated told they have no way to obtain skills. 4) As wealthy progress on professional career path, middle and lower class youth take service jobs to pay off massive educational debt. 5) Make these part-time jobs not “count” on resume. Hire on prestige, not skill or education. Punish those who need to work to survive. 6) Punish young people who never found any kind of work the hardest. Make them untouchables — unhireable. 7) Tell wealthy people they are “privileged” to be working 40 hrs/week for free. Don’t tell them what kind of “privileged” it is. 8) Make status quo commentary written by unpaid interns or people hiring unpaid interns. They will tell you it’s your fault. 9) Young people, it is not your fault. Speak out. Fight back. Bankrupt the prestige economy.”

The moral bankruptcy of the internship economy | Sarah Kendzior (via brutereason)

solarbird added: see also the intrinsic fraud of the prestigious internship. (via solarbird)

Presenting your research at your first academic conference can be daunting to students. On Sociology at Work, I’ve republished an article where I reflected on what it was like for me. I was dreading the idea of “networking,” because at the time it conjured the idea of handing out business cards and forced small talk. In reality, that first conference led to many long-standing relationships that have supported my career. I met both my future thesis supervisors, and I forged friendships with many other students with whom I later collaborated on publications. I also met various mentors who would later help me as I progressed from student to early career researcher. 
Read more about why conferences can be important to meeting students’ needs. 
[Image text] Networking at conferences is vital to students: Meet researchers; Hear about other fields; Create ties with new colleagues. High-res

Presenting your research at your first academic conference can be daunting to students. On Sociology at Work, I’ve republished an article where I reflected on what it was like for me. I was dreading the idea of “networking,” because at the time it conjured the idea of handing out business cards and forced small talk. In reality, that first conference led to many long-standing relationships that have supported my career. I met both my future thesis supervisors, and I forged friendships with many other students with whom I later collaborated on publications. I also met various mentors who would later help me as I progressed from student to early career researcher. 

Read more about why conferences can be important to meeting students’ needs. 

[Image text] Networking at conferences is vital to students: Meet researchers; Hear about other fields; Create ties with new colleagues.

Scientists should not simply stick to doing science. Perhaps we need to extend the scientific method to include a requirement for communication. Young scientists should be taught the value and necessity of communicating their findings to the general public. Scientists should not shy away from controversy, because some topics should not be controversial to begin with. The scientific evidence for the efficacy of vaccines, the process of evolution, the existence of anthropogenic climate change is accepted in the scientific community. Yet, within the public sphere, goaded by a sensationalizing mainstream media and politicians seeking re-election, these settled facts are made to appear tentative. Science is based on evidence, and if that evidence tells us something new we need to incorporate that into our policies. We cannot ignore it simply because it is unpopular or inconvenient.

- Dr Buddhini Samarasinghe, molecular biologist and science communicator, argues the idea that “Scientists Should Stick to Science” needs to be retired. This is an much-needed and punchy piece on the importance of public science. Read the whole thing on Edge.org

Also check out all of Buddhini’s public science outreach on Google+. See other examples of Buddhini’s public science writing at Scientific American, which hosts her Hallmarks of Cancer blog posts, a series designed for a lay audience seeking to understand the common features and complexities of various cancers.

Importance of Intercultural Education for International Students in Australia. 
International students represent a large economic and international relations investment for Australia. Australian universities are increasingly relying upon overseas students for their revenue, but these institutions are not adequately addressing the special learning, linguistic, cultural and religious needs of these students. Despite their Australian education, international students experience various difficulties in finding work in their field of study after they graduate. Poor English-language, communication and problem-solving skills are the biggest obstacles to securing ongoing and satisfying jobs. Employer biases regarding international students are equally a problem. Below, I is a summary of a longer research paper republished on my website.
Demographic Background
International students contribute $15.9 billion to Australia’s economy through tuition fees and living expenses.  International education has increased by 94 percent since 2004. This sector now represents the third-largest export industry for Australia, generating profits that are 50 percent larger than tourism-related travel.
The number of people entering Australia on student visas increased by 108 percent since 2002. Around 56 percent of all international higher education students were studying at the undergraduate level and 44 percent were postgraduates.
While the overall net international student population is at an all-time high, the proportion of international students in universities has dropped by 10 percent since the mid-2000s. This is due to a change of Australia’s immigration program, which is currently granting twice as many vocational training visas and a slightly smaller proportion of tertiary student visas than five years ago.
While most international students go into the tertiary sector, Chinese students do so in larger proportions (64%), while Indian students are nowadays more likely to go into vocational training (55%). Thai international students tend to undertake English-language courses (77%), while a significant minority of Malaysian students (14%) and Indonesians (12.5%) come to Australia to do postgraduate research.
Historically, migrants with university qualifications were more likely to qualify for permanent residency under the skilled migration program. Yet since Australia changed its immigration policies, international students in vocational courses are not necessarily gaining permanent residency.
Employment Outcomes
My analysis shows that the majority of these students are going into low-status vocational training courses that do not lead to permanent employment. International students in Australia are increasingly unable to find work that is meaningful, and so they are engaged in precarious, underpaid and menial jobs that do not suit their Australian qualifications. 
Engineering students, IT specialists, accountants, business majors, technicians and trades people who come from non-English-speaking majority countries are especially likely to have trouble finding work in their profession. Indian students and to a lesser extent Chinese students with accounting degrees have the greatest trouble finding work. 
Part of the issue is that Australian employers do not see international graduates as viable candidates, even when they have been educated in Australia. To some extent, surveys show that the English qualifications of a portion of international students is inadequate. This is no wonder, when international students come here to do a vocational course hoping to later transfer into university, but then find they are unable to do so. They start off attending cooking, hairdressing and accounting courses, and they get stuck. Taking vocational training in an expensive but poorly ranked course is unlikely to improve these students’ English skills. But not all international students lack English proficiency. The problem is more systemic.
Intercultural Education
Various studies show that international students are having trouble being accepted in Australia. They come here thinking they will be able to mingle with Australian students and learn more about Australian culture. They report feeling disappointed that Australian students do not make them feel welcome. This is especially the case amongst students who don’t have a strong command of English. 
International students also report feeling as if they received poor career guidance. They end up with unrealistic expectations of what their job prospects will be and what is expected of them in an Australian workplace. 
The Australian Human Rights Commission has also identified that international students face racist harassment and abuse that is not adequately recorded by police. The Commission also reports that international students do not have ready access to reliable information about the support available to them regarding their rights in Australia. 
To compound the problems that international students face, research suggests that employers are guided by racist stereotypes that perceive international students as having poor cultural skills. 
Intercultural Responsibility

International students contribute more than financial revenue to the Australian economy They also represent an invaluable network of intercultural ambassadors with the potential to strengthen Australia’s multicultural learning and international relations. Education providers would stand to gain a great deal from the overseas links, knowledge and resources that international students bring into Australia. 
In my longer article, I argue that a stronger focus on the socialisation of international students is likely to increase their educational and career satisfaction.
Learn more:
Read this study in more detail and see the references on my website. 
This article was first published in April 2012 by Intercultural Education. High-res

Importance of Intercultural Education for International Students in Australia. 

International students represent a large economic and international relations investment for Australia. Australian universities are increasingly relying upon overseas students for their revenue, but these institutions are not adequately addressing the special learning, linguistic, cultural and religious needs of these students. Despite their Australian education, international students experience various difficulties in finding work in their field of study after they graduate. Poor English-language, communication and problem-solving skills are the biggest obstacles to securing ongoing and satisfying jobs. Employer biases regarding international students are equally a problem. Below, I is a summary of a longer research paper republished on my website.

Demographic Background

International students contribute $15.9 billion to Australia’s economy through tuition fees and living expenses.  International education has increased by 94 percent since 2004. This sector now represents the third-largest export industry for Australia, generating profits that are 50 percent larger than tourism-related travel.

The number of people entering Australia on student visas increased by 108 percent since 2002. Around 56 percent of all international higher education students were studying at the undergraduate level and 44 percent were postgraduates.

While the overall net international student population is at an all-time high, the proportion of international students in universities has dropped by 10 percent since the mid-2000s. This is due to a change of Australia’s immigration program, which is currently granting twice as many vocational training visas and a slightly smaller proportion of tertiary student visas than five years ago.

While most international students go into the tertiary sector, Chinese students do so in larger proportions (64%), while Indian students are nowadays more likely to go into vocational training (55%). Thai international students tend to undertake English-language courses (77%), while a significant minority of Malaysian students (14%) and Indonesians (12.5%) come to Australia to do postgraduate research.

Historically, migrants with university qualifications were more likely to qualify for permanent residency under the skilled migration program. Yet since Australia changed its immigration policies, international students in vocational courses are not necessarily gaining permanent residency.

Employment Outcomes

My analysis shows that the majority of these students are going into low-status vocational training courses that do not lead to permanent employment. International students in Australia are increasingly unable to find work that is meaningful, and so they are engaged in precarious, underpaid and menial jobs that do not suit their Australian qualifications. 

Engineering students, IT specialists, accountants, business majors, technicians and trades people who come from non-English-speaking majority countries are especially likely to have trouble finding work in their profession. Indian students and to a lesser extent Chinese students with accounting degrees have the greatest trouble finding work. 

Part of the issue is that Australian employers do not see international graduates as viable candidates, even when they have been educated in Australia. To some extent, surveys show that the English qualifications of a portion of international students is inadequate. This is no wonder, when international students come here to do a vocational course hoping to later transfer into university, but then find they are unable to do so. They start off attending cooking, hairdressing and accounting courses, and they get stuck. Taking vocational training in an expensive but poorly ranked course is unlikely to improve these students’ English skills. But not all international students lack English proficiency. The problem is more systemic.

Intercultural Education

Various studies show that international students are having trouble being accepted in Australia. They come here thinking they will be able to mingle with Australian students and learn more about Australian culture. They report feeling disappointed that Australian students do not make them feel welcome. This is especially the case amongst students who don’t have a strong command of English. 

International students also report feeling as if they received poor career guidance. They end up with unrealistic expectations of what their job prospects will be and what is expected of them in an Australian workplace. 

The Australian Human Rights Commission has also identified that international students face racist harassment and abuse that is not adequately recorded by police. The Commission also reports that international students do not have ready access to reliable information about the support available to them regarding their rights in Australia. 

To compound the problems that international students face, research suggests that employers are guided by racist stereotypes that perceive international students as having poor cultural skills. 

Intercultural Responsibility

International students contribute more than financial revenue to the Australian economy They also represent an invaluable network of intercultural ambassadors with the potential to strengthen Australia’s multicultural learning and international relations. Education providers would stand to gain a great deal from the overseas links, knowledge and resources that international students bring into Australia. 

In my longer article, I argue that a stronger focus on the socialisation of international students is likely to increase their educational and career satisfaction.

Learn more:

Read this study in more detail and see the references on my website

This article was first published in April 2012 by Intercultural Education.

The overall motivation for my desire to see more Black women as mentors in science is not self-centered. I believe that science needs the perspectives, ideas, and creativity that can only result from diversification. As more underrepresented women and men of color are offered positions, more of them will take up roles as PIs, research advisors and administrators, and I am certain that more of my needs and those of others like me will be met. In order to navigate a career that I love, but that requires years of exhaustive training and that comes with no guarantee of financial reward, I have to be thoughtful of what will ensure my success. This applies to everyone.

American biology student Stephani Page is undertaking her PhD research. She argues that there is a dire need to introduce diversity within the upper ranks of scientific leadership. As Page notes in her guest post in Nature’s Soap Box Science blog, it is rare for Black research students to encounter other Black women scientists while they undertake science degree. As she recounts, Page has had wonderful mentors who are White - but where are the diverse role models for non-white students to aspire towards? The lack of diversity in science vexing and important topic for all disciplines. Sociology is not immune. While sociology is attracting more non-white students, these students are less likely to get jobs within academia.

deerstalkerpictures:

We recently shot an interview with PhD Candidate Meg for The University of New South Wales in which she discusses her PhD research subject. Meg is a sociologist whose research consists of visually analysing kawaii subcultures to unpack the meaning behind them, and determine how they relate to power and gender. We will share the video with you when it’s uploaded!

(via sociolab)

Putting the finishing touches on our latest Sociology at Work video! It’s partly focused on the benefits of doing an internship as part of your degree. Here’s a portion of what I posted on our Instagram earlier this week: If you get this opportunity to do an internship you should jump at the chance. Most community and industry placements will mean you will get to work as a research assistant on a project. You may put together literature reviews; carry out surveys; do statistical analyses; or you might participate in ethnographies. Or you’ll do community engagement. This could mean visiting local service centres to assist in education or leisure programs; you might help compile resources for training packages; or you might assist with rehabilitation or case management. You’ll likely have to write a report on your research experiences for your university as well as your placement. All of this looks great on a resume but even better you’ll have real research and workplace examples that you can draw on for your next job interview. 


Read more on our Insta @sociologyatwork 

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get the latest updates: YouTube.com/SociologyAtWork


#sociology #internship #students #communitywork #work #socialscience #visualsociology #research #appliedresearch #careers High-res

Putting the finishing touches on our latest Sociology at Work video! It’s partly focused on the benefits of doing an internship as part of your degree. Here’s a portion of what I posted on our Instagram earlier this week: If you get this opportunity to do an internship you should jump at the chance. Most community and industry placements will mean you will get to work as a research assistant on a project. You may put together literature reviews; carry out surveys; do statistical analyses; or you might participate in ethnographies. Or you’ll do community engagement. This could mean visiting local service centres to assist in education or leisure programs; you might help compile resources for training packages; or you might assist with rehabilitation or case management. You’ll likely have to write a report on your research experiences for your university as well as your placement. All of this looks great on a resume but even better you’ll have real research and workplace examples that you can draw on for your next job interview.


Read more on our Insta @sociologyatwork

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get the latest updates: YouTube.com/SociologyAtWork


#sociology #internship #students #communitywork #work #socialscience #visualsociology #research #appliedresearch #careers

Earlier today I spoke on a careers panel at the #postgraduate day for The Australian Sociological Association. I’ll do a full post on this later but for now I wanted to share a couple of the questions we were asked. These ranged from specifics like how to set up a business to broader questions about how to manage #ethics and how to maintain a professional identity. One of the key themes from the panellists was learning to translate #theory into practice and networking. I spoke about writing for your future clients via a specialist blog and using #SocialMedia. #sociology #visualsociology #career #work #students #monashuniversity High-res

Earlier today I spoke on a careers panel at the #postgraduate day for The Australian Sociological Association. I’ll do a full post on this later but for now I wanted to share a couple of the questions we were asked. These ranged from specifics like how to set up a business to broader questions about how to manage #ethics and how to maintain a professional identity. One of the key themes from the panellists was learning to translate #theory into practice and networking. I spoke about writing for your future clients via a specialist blog and using #SocialMedia. #sociology #visualsociology #career #work #students #monashuniversity

This video by Eddie G provides an engaging Mexican-American introduction to El Día de los Muertos/ Day of the Dead. Eddie G captures how one community celebrates the dead, as just one step in the “pyramid of life.” In describing the symbolism of the colours of a symbolic altar, one woman says:

[In Spanish] The yellow is the beginning of life. The red is the momentum of the blood. Green represents settling down, starting a family, working, and helping the community. Blue represents the sky. The elders reminiscing and talking about their memories. That’s all we have left. The top is white. That’s death. 

The Day of the Dead has grown in popularity in the United States and in other places outside Mexico. Non-Mexicans may be attracted to the colourful costumes, the skulls, face-painting and the “cool” allure of death. Yet the significance of this spiritual festival is more than just about death. It is a symbol of post-colonial struggles and a celebration of life. 

Education researchers Dafina Lazarus Stewart and Adele Lozano see that the Day of the Dead is an important tradition that can help introduce students to intercultural experiences. In particular, it is an opportunity to learn about Mexican culture and draw connections between cultures of resistance amongst various other Latin American traditions, as well as a way to better understand the links between various Latin youth social movements around the world. The researchers write:

The concept of resistance is an important cultural/ political aspect of Día de los Muertos. Although the Latina/o population consists of diverse groups, most share a history of colonialism and oppression. It is commonly believed that Indigenous populations in Mexico refused to back down when the Spanish colonisers tried to force them to relinquish their annual Día de los Muertos ritual (Brandes, 1998). Many Latina/o college students are aware of this spirit of resistance and may draw parallels to their own struggles to pursue higher education in the face of institutional racism, financial hardships, and marginalisation within the academy. Día de los Muertos can serve to empower students as they recognize the importance of resistance, connect with their spiritual selves, and reaffirm the value of their cultural traditions…

The researchers note that to an outsider, the Day of the Dead seems to hold a morbid fascination with death and the occult. In fact, this festival actually draws on symbols of duality and profound spirituality, both of which are central to Mexican culture: “death is viewed as a continuation of life through the open acknowledgement of the reality of a spiritual, nonmaterial existence.”

Learn more:

See my other Latin posts on Tumblr and my sociology of Latin politics and culture on Pinterest.

Credits:

Video: Oh Em Gee, It’s Eddie G

An international survey of 4,341 students finds 20% prefer to do postgraduate studies in USA; 12% prefer the UK; 8% Australia; and 6% each for Canada & Germany. In terms of cities, the biggest proportion seek to study in New York (15%), followed by London (11%). Most students are motivated to study abroad thinking job prospects in their fields might be increased. Cultural diversity and entertainment were secondary draw cards to big cities, with Sydney being cited as attractive for a beach lifestyle.

My research on international students in Australia finds many are disillusioned by their experience because they cannot find jobs at the end of their degree and they feel isolated. I suggest better support systems and policies are needed to better guide international students. 

The Atlantic has featured the work of an American sociology postgrad, Esther Kim, who rode Greyhound buses for two years. Kim’s ethnographic research focuses on how passengers adhere to unspoken rules of public behaviour: remain quiet, don’t make eye contact, and don’t sit next to undesirable people who are “crazy”, “smelly”, overweight or loud. The article discusses Kim’s application of Erving Goffman’s theory of symbolic interactionism. This is a framework to understand the way in which people convey social meaning through verbal or unspoken visual cues or rituals. In this case, by positioning one’s body so as to exude a message of “don’t talk to me”, Greyhound passengers actively try to create a measure of privacy for themselves within a confined public space. People who break these unspoken social norms of behaviour are confronted by other passengers. This short article does not focus on a critique of what makes these so-called undesirable companions, but I hope the published journal article in Symbolic Interaction will take this up.

Kim’s work studies this form of long-distance public transportation as a place for social isolation. The management of public space is interesting to understand, because it is a facet of everyday life that often goes on unexamined.  Our behaviour in public spaces rests on unspoken assumptions and interpersonal policing of social norms that are not enshrined formally by law. Most of us learn the rules for public behaviour at a young age and we don’t necessarily question why these rules exist or their social consequences. In the case of Kim’s work, social isolation leads to disengagement with others.

Via: The Atlantic.