Methods Used: This policy assessment was a multi-case study that utilized a mixed methods design. I conducted telephone and in-person interviews, an analysis of medical marijuana ordinances, explored archival and government data, and used field observations.
Current Career: I started as a telephone interviewer for the Institute for Social Research at Sacramento State University, and later was promoted to shift supervisor. As funding became available the University opened up a new research facility titled Public Health Survey Research Program. I am now the Research Technician I (Research Analyst I) at the Public Health Survey Research Program at Sacramento State University.
Before the Program: Prior to the program I attended University of California, Riverside where I graduated with my BA in Sociology. At UCR I was always trying to get involved with various research opportunities, and my senior year was able to work with Criminologist Robert Nash Parker.
Why HSU Public Sociology: After receiving my BA I worked for a year, and applied to research analyst positions. I soon realized I was under qualified for the positions I wanted, so I began exploring my options. I knew I truly enjoyed sociology and wanted to continue to do research, so I applied to Humboldt State's MA Program. I loved the idea of applied, also known as practicing sociology. I wanted to be able to work with and serve marginalized groups, and conduct research that would benefit those groups in the future. I knew I would be taken more seriously with a degree and the ability to pursue research under the university, with non-profits, and through other professional outlets.
How HSU Public Sociology Helped: Humboldt State Sociology Master's program helped me in many ways. It helped me grow as an individual, and provided me with knowledge and skills that laid the foundation for a career in research analysis.
Advice for New Students:The coursework is only half the battle; the thesis is the big ticket item.Try to find a topic that you are passionate about and can devote a year of your life learning and writing about.
Pay attention to the experiences your classmates and your professors bring to the table in discussions. It is invaluable how different someone's perspective can be based on their class, race, sexual orientation, sex, and age; and essential to understand that everyone has a unique understanding of the world and to cherish those distinct understandings.
Practicing and Teaching Sociology
Sam is a Research Technician I (Research Analyst I) at the Public Health Survey Research Program at Sacramento State University