This semester the Department of Sociology and Anthropology (SOA) proudly announces their new Student Ambassador program to help with student recruitment and peer advising. These ambassadors are an elite group of ambitious and excited juniors and seniors who believe in the major they have chosen, the department that is guiding them, and the future that awaits them as graduates of the program.

“I can’t wait to make connections with both current and future students and getting people to love the major as much as I do!” said Luke Gallagher who is double-majoring in anthropology and geography.  He also wants future students to fully realize the familial feel of sociology and anthropology, where faculty and staff go the extra mile.  While student ambassadors will be providing a student perspective, Gallagher highly recommends students make sure they also take advantage of the more advanced advising genius of Ryan Gray, academic advisor and assistant to the chair for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

Kelly Kennedy, another of the four ambassadors, is a junior biological anthropology student with a minor in ethnic studies.  Kennedy’s enthusiasm for anthropology is infectious and wants others to feel the same way.  She is eager to answer questions and represent the program because she sees that “anthropology is full of wonderful faculty and students” where numerous research and independent study opportunities exist.

“I would like to assist fellow first-generation and transfer students who are attempting to make the adjustment to University life. These students are usually undertaking a lot of ‘firsts.’ These include attending university, moving out and away from family, and taking on a challenge that their family is unfamiliar with. I know from personal experience that undertaking all of this while trying to find a sense of community and working for pay can be a struggle,” said Christian Maynard, senior sociology major.

Dr. Joan Brehm, chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, was inspired by a similar program in the Department of Agriculture, which uses a peer to peer model to further recruitment and retention efforts in their department.  “I knew we had amazing, talented, and energetic students in our program. We just needed a vehicle to showcase them, let them shine, and empower them help us to tell the story of our department to other potential students.”

Current ambassadors applied in the fall of 2019 and were chosen based on academic performance, diversity, and future leadership potential. As part of an incentive for the students, these ambassadors have the opportunity to receive professional practice credit as well as gaining valuable leadership and communication skills that they can use far beyond life at ISU. The SOA ambassadors will be participating in a variety of recruitment and retention activities, including Preview and Open House events, giving talks in classes that attract new majors, and holding office hours for informal chats with any students that have questions or want some guidance.

“I’m confident that this ambassador program will be successful due to the talented students, faculty, and staff that are working on this inaugural program. You won’t find warmer and welcoming students and faculty anywhere on campus. This department instills self-authorship of learning within its students.” – Christian Maynard

Dani Lamb, a junior sociology and public relations major, wants to promote the sociology and anthropology department because of all the great things she has learned there, such as “thinking about the world differently for the better.” Lamb and the others boast that their writing and comprehension skills have “skyrocketed” as a result of the programs and enthusiastically proclaim that the department is “amazing.”  They are excited to share this message with other students!

Student ambassadors for Sociology and Anthropology are located in Schroeder Hall 316.  Read more about each ambassador, find their contact information and see their office hours here.