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Viking Spotlight: Sociology Alumna Cynthia Matos '19

  • Major: Sociology 
  • Minor: Psychology
  • Graduation Year: 2019

First Position after graduating from Salem State?

My first job straight out of SSU was as a SAFEPLAN advocate at a domestic violence agency. Right before COVID-19, I started graduate school at Lesley University for their mental health counseling program. (Cynthia also was accepted to Boston University's master of social work program, but Lesley University awarded her with a generous Dean's scholarship.)

What is your current occupation?

Currently, I work as a high school special education paraeducator and I've been in the role since September 2019. Some of my responsibilities include preparing instructional materials, assisting in classroom setups, facilitating virtual field trips, and managing individual behavior using IEP's (Individualized Education Program.) 

How do you "do sociology" in your current line of work/field of employment?

In my current line of work, sociology is used every day when evaluating student behaviors. The students travel up to 45 minutes away from their homes to receive an education. Many of them come from urban communities and do not have access to resources or support. The students with disabilities are our most vulnerable population.  For some, their only access to food, the internet, or a structured daytime schedule is when they are in school.

As a sociology major, part of the program of study is learning about intersectionality. Race, class, gender, (dis)ability, and sexuality are important when we are working under part of a system because it gives us the tools to recognize how it affects the students' lives and our personal lives. If we are aware of how race, class, and gender affect our students, we can advocate for our students in different ways.   

Any other updates?

I have launched some social media projects to shed light and bring awareness to mental health. On Instagram, I run a page called "Heal for love" @Healforlove. I believe that mental health is important for all of us, especially during COVID-19. Unfortunately, insurance companies are getting stricter on coverage, however, I aim to share resources that could help someone access therapy.

Pamela Leong
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