I came to UC Santa Cruz a year after graduating from Ursinus to continue my studies in sociology. In the first few years of my graduate work, I continued to focus on the study of the development of lab-grown meat, which I began as a Summer Fellow at Ursinus and further studied as the subject of my senior honors thesis. My research interests include science and technology studies, food and agriculture studies, and multispecies studies. As I plan my dissertation research, I have gravitated toward the study of microbes and what I am calling “microbe-assisted production” processes, as well as the emerging fascination with human micriobiota. I am trying to better understand the territory where agrifood, medicine, craft, and science meet, and how this territory is occupied by producers of different identities, motivations, and institutional associations. I am especially interested in microbes as boundary objects that challenge the stability of the categories that these different producers use to understand them.
Impact of Ursinus
I came to Ursinus planning to major in biology. When I found myself focusing on the more “human” dimensions of biology during my first year, I enrolled in a couple of classes in anthropology and sociology to explore these dimensions further. It didn’t take long for me to decide to change my major to sociology. My interests initially revolved specifically around the environment, especially the development of industrial animal agriculture. This led me to take classes on environmental sociology and animals in society, which led to my summer fellowship and honors thesis on lab-grown meat. The experiences that I had with scholarship at Ursinus drove me to choose academia as a career path. I had the benefit of close relationships with professors, support and encouragement for the long-term, in-depth study of a topic, and the opportunity to present my work at an academic conference for the first time. The working relationships that I developed with my professors at Ursinus helped to prepare me for my graduate work.
Piece of Advice
Ursinus College is committed to a liberal arts education that encourages you to read widely on a broad range of topics, no matter what career you hope to have in the future. Take advantage of that aspect of your Ursinus education! You just might discover new interests and passions that will inform your life after graduation. The small, close-knit community of Ursinus also gives you the opportunity—one you might not get at a larger school—to have close relationships with your professors. Go to your professors’ office hours, talk to them about your interests, and see if they have any advice to offer you. Form close relationships with your fellow students, too. You’ll make some of your best friends at UC.