Student-written papers place in sociological association competition

Jacqueline Clark, professor of sociology and the Helen Swift Neilson Professor of Cultural Studies; Kaeley Miller ’24 of Norway, Michigan; and Alison DeNamur ’25 of Elcho, Wisconsin, attended the recent Wisconsin Sociological Association’s (WSA) annual meeting.

Both students presented posters which were based on their projects from this summer’s Summer Opportunities for Advanced Research program.

Miller and DeNamur also submitted papers to the WSA’s undergraduate paper competition. DeNamur placed first in the competition with her paper “Accessibility on College Campuses.” Her analysis was based on data collected from semi-structured interviews with people affiliated with Student Support Services from seven colleges in the Midwest, as well as tours of the seven campuses.

She compared how the leaders of these programs talked about physical accessibility on their respective campuses to how physically accessible the Colleges appeared on campus tours.

Miller placed third for her paper, “Is the Pay Worth the Stay?” She studied the working conditions that McDonald’s employees face, as well as how they cope with these conditions. Her data analysis was based on observations of two McDonald’s locations and semi-structured interviews with crew members, crew trainers and an assistant general manager.

She concludes that fast-food employees’ work is undervalued and her findings also support the need for a living wage and improved working conditions.

“Experiences like these provide students with opportunities to showcase their research to a wider audience and also be recognized for their academic accomplishments,” Clark says. “Attending and presenting at state conferences also provide students with opportunities for professional socialization, as well as the ability to socially network with other scholars, in a highly supportive environment.”

(Photo: Kaeley Miller ’24, left, and Alison DeNamur ’25)

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