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Viking Spotlight: Kassandra Fabian '20, Sociology

Senior Kassandra Fabian finds her passion in sociology and political science

Kassandra Fabian '20
Majors: BS, sociology | BS, political science
Hometown: Lynn, MA
Campus Involvement: Co-president, Florence Luscomb Women’s Center

What attracted you to Salem State's sociology program?

I was trying to figure out what would pair well with a political science major. So after doing a little bit of research and soul-searching, I decided that sociology is probably the best fit. Why? Well, sociology is the study of social interactions, social institutions and social groups. Everything that is political is sociological. In all of my classes, I have seen how the interconnectedness between political science and sociology informs our understanding of governing bodies and their impact on the general population, both historically and in the present day.

How did you know that this was the right program for you?

My love for sociology is thanks to the outstanding professors we have at Salem State. I do not think I would be so enthralled by this major if it weren’t for them. They know how to capture the student’s attention, design a powerful curriculum, and put their soul into teaching. There is nothing more valuable than to learn from a professor who is truly passionate about the topics they teach.

What has been your favorite sociology class? What made it so special?

My favorite sociology class has to be "Contemporary Social Problems" with Professor Pamela Leong. This was the first class that taught me about issues within the U.S. It was not that I did not know about these social problems before the course. However, it is a completely different thing to know about social issues and understand how they began, are sustained, and how they could be solved. Professor Leong’s teachings were not only reinforced by readings, but also with documentaries that connect with the topic perfectly.  

Is there a faculty member who has served you as a mentor?

Professors Sara MoorePamela Leong and Tiffany Chenault each served as mentors to me. All three have helped me on my path to knowledge and education. They pushed me to take certain risks, believed in me when I had doubts and acted as overall great supporters. Their passion for sociology and their students will never stop amazing me. They try to help you in the best ways they can, and for that, I will forever be thankful.

What do you think about the size of your classes?

The class sizes are great. They are small enough to have a more one-on-one feel and I think that is important. The personal connection between individual learners and the professor is one of the ways students can thrive in their studies – at least I like to think so!

Have you had any assignments or projects that you felt were especially helpful to you in learning more about sociology and how it can be applied in everyday life and your career?

The class project for my "Public Sociology" class had a significant impact on the students involved. We learned about the detriments of having food insecurity and how that disproportionately affects women and children. We teamed up with an elementary school class and worked on teaching ourselves about this issue.

Later on in the semester, we were able to advocate best practices while speaking with important officials in the city of Salem, ranging from our Salem State dean to those who work in city hall. This class taught us how lessons in sociology can enable us to become great advocates for the general public.

What opportunities have you had beyond the classroom to learn more about sociology and apply your skills?

Last fall (2018), I was able to attend the Global Women’s Forum in Iceland. This forum was focused on sharing ideas between powerful women about the advancement of women in all countries. I learned about this opportunity from a prior internship (Running Start), that contacted me and asked if I was interested in applying and then possibly selected to attend. I didn’t think much of it, but I applied anyway, and to my surprise, I was chosen. However, this could not have happened without the help of the sociology and political science departments. They believed in me and were able to help me allocate funds to get me there, and for that, I am so grateful.

Throughout my experience, I made sure to examine the forum through a sociological lens to see if this forum was intersectional. Who were the people that attended? What were the topics about? Were any topics left out? What countries were represented? I continued to think critically about the event and come up with questions throughout my week there.

What surprised you the most about the sociology program?

That would have to be the dedication that the professors have for their students. They are always, hands-down, there when you need additional aid on a certain subject or understanding about a personal circumstance.

What would you say to a prospective student who's thinking about studying sociology?

I would say to read the readings that are assigned in the class. Yes, they can be long and wordy, but they will be helpful. They matter not only for your papers and exams, but also to understand the subject. That is one of the issues I struggle with, but I know that the rewarding feeling of being able to talk about it fluently with classmates, or educating my family on certain subjects, is more valuable than not doing it at all.

What would you like to do with your degree following graduation?

I want to become a politician. I know it’s pretty bold, but I am tired of seeing what I believe are unfair policies being passed that impact the middle and lower classes. I feel that politicians care more about the money they get from lobbyists than constituents who are hurting. I decided a while ago that instead of watching from the sidelines, I have to do something because I can’t expect someone to do it for me.

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