Melissa Swauger is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). She holds a doctoral degree in Sociology, two master’s degrees (one in Sociology and the other in Public Policy), and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology.
Melissa’s research interests include Girls’ and Women’s Studies, global service learning, inequalities in education and work, qualitative research methods, and engaging audiences outside of universities in sociological research and activism. She has published articles and/or presented papers at international and national conferences on the topics of working class girls’ career aspirations, the intersection of race and class in mother/daughter relationships, international service learning opportunities for college students, human trafficking, and ethics in qualitative research with vulnerable populations.
Melissa teaches courses that enhance awareness and understanding of diverse groups and cultures. She has served as the Instructor of Record for the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research Summer Institute, and has led offered service learning courses in Jamaica and Ghana.
Her service also reflects her commitment to diversity. She is a member of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, the Women’s Studies Committee, and the Gender Issues and Social Justice Committee for APSCUF. She is also faculty advisor to the Sociology Club, Alpha Kappa Delta Sociology Honor’s Society, SAGE (Students Advocating Gender Equity), and the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.
Melissa practices public sociology by transcending university boundaries and ensuring her work reaches broad audiences. She has received several awards for her activism, including Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project’s 40 Under 40 Award (2009), the Universityof Pittsburgh Women’s Studies Department, Iris Marion Young Award for Political Engagement (2008), and the IUP African American Cultural Center’s Fearless Diamond Award for Social Justice (2013).