IUP Sociology has Strong Showing at Pennsylvania Sociological Society Annual Meeting

Posted on 10/14/2019 2:10:14 PM

Several students, faculty, and alumni from the Sociology Department presented their work at the Pennsylvania Sociological Society annual meeting at Elizabethtown College. One student, Kathryn Misiak, was awarded the PSS 2019 Undergraduate Student Poster Award for her research “Low Income Students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania: Material Hardship, Academic Success, and Quality of Life.” Her research explores how college students who receive financial aid to attend a public state university navigate the demands of working, attending classes, and maintaining a social life.

Pennsylvania Sociological Society Annual Meeting Award Winner

Kathryn Misiak standing next to her award-winning poster

The MA program in sociology was represented by incoming, outgoing, and alumni presentations.

First, Regan Gearhart presented work from her undergraduate honors research project “Mandatory Childhood Vaccines: A Tale of Two Fears” which compared the fears and concerns expressed in two data sources, interviews of mothers and mommy blogging websites, and provided thematics explanations for the similarities and differences in opinion.

Second, Peter Gillece presented work from his master’s portfolio, “Breaking Up in the Digital Age,” which analyzed interviews with 13 college-aged individuals who recently experienced the end of a romantic relationship to see whether existing sociological models of relationship dissolution remain useful.

Thirdly, alumnus David Borton presented a research proposal using data he collected as a research associate at the University of Delaware’s Center for Drug and Health Studies. His study, “ Changing Strains: A Mertonian Exploration of Marijuana Use,” will determine whether indicators of social strain are related to marijuana use and whether these relationships differ relative to three different time periods.

Pennsylvania Sociological Society Annual Meeting IUP attendees

From left: PJ Gillece, David Borton, Regan Gearhart, and Kathryn Misiak

Christian Vaccaro represented IUP MARTI faculty and associates, including Melissa Swauger, Ashley Niccolai, Shayna Morrison, Erick Lauber, Alex Heckert, and Victor Garcia, on their co-authored publication, “‘We enable them because we give them free Narcan’: The Narrative Work of Compassion Fatigue among First Responders in the Opioid Epidemic.” This article surmises that frontline responders engaged in narrative constructions as a type of protective work that enables them to deal with the challenges and traumas of these face-to-face opioid overdose encounters. This narrative work becomes the basis for interactions marked by a lack of trust between first responders and users and creates a strong barrier that makes good working relationships difficult characteristic. The findings align with many of the emotional and behavioral analogs of compassion fatigue.

Learn more about the Pennsylvania Sociological Society.