What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a hard question to answer, made even harder if you can’t picture someone like you in the role you dream of.
The College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences is hosting monthly “Picture a Social Scientist” events to promote belonging. Each event will feature inspiring social science professionals students can relate to.
“Our student body doesn’t always look like our faculty, and that creates a disconnect between role models and the groups we want to reach,” explained Mikaela Dufur, associate dean and professor of sociology. “We have such talented students and we just want to make sure that they know they belong in these spaces.”
The “Picture a Social Scientist” campaign is designed to fulfill two goals: to provide role models in social science for students from underrepresented groups and to help people who aren’t in those groups broaden their picture of what a social scientist is.
“We want underrepresented students to consider potential pathways they can follow to see themselves in social science. And we want to help change people’s perspective so when they picture a psychologist or a geographer or a sociologist, maybe they’ll picture someone who looks different from them and broaden their own minds,” said Dufur.
The first activity will be a panel this week titled, “Picture a Black Social Scientist,” featuring Sherinah Saasa, assistant professor of social work, Ryan Gabriel, assistant professor of sociology, and Zyon Smiley, a psychology department alumnus who is currently studying for an MPA. The panel will be held on Thursday, Feb. 17, at 3 p.m. in room B192 of the Joseph F. Smith Building (also known as the Education in Zion Auditorium).
Future events will explore themes such as depression and anxiety, neurodiversity, and being a woman or a parent or managing a dual-career family in the social sciences. Students can expect to be enriched by new perspectives and gain insights on their own social science ambitions from each month’s guests.