Five students represent College of Social Science on 2022 Homecoming Court

October 13, 2022 - Emily Jodway

The College of Social Science is well represented on this year’s Homecoming Court. A total of five students across nine different majors and eight minors are members of the 2022 MSU Homecoming Court, rounding out an impressive group of 12 students. These students are an excellent example of the diversity within the College and the many ways that being a Social Scientist can have a larger impact on the University and in the community as a whole. 

The theme for this year’s homecoming is “Spartans Bring the Magic,” and celebrates Spartans around the world creating real-life magic by making the world a better place. We believe these students embody not only what it means to be an MSU social scientist, but also what it means to be a Spartan. 

We talked to these five students to find out some of their favorite parts of being a Spartan and studying in the College of Social Science, as well as the different ways they have made an impact on their campus through a variety of research projects, student organizations and experiential learning trips. 

Zachary CrawfordZachary Crawford | West Bloomfield, MI | Public Policy major and Cities: Environment, Design & Society minor

Favorite study spot on campus:
The Library, specifically the West Wing facing Beaumont Tower. 

Favorite social science faculty member:
Dr. Marty Jordan. He was the first professor in the Political Science Department I met after changing my major to Public Policy. 

Have you studied abroad/away or done any other experiential learning, if so what was it?:
This past Spring Semester, I was selected to be a part of the Michigan Government Semester Program run by Professor Marty Jordan. The MGSP allowed me to intern in the Executive Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer, learn more about the Michigan government, and develop my professional skills, preparing me for a career in public service.

Favorite MSU fun fact: 
My favorite piece of MSU history was the campaign led by graduates to protect the land that College Hall once stood on from future development. Beaumont Tower now stands where College Hall did as a result. Whenever I walk past Beaumont Tower, especially when leading a tour, I am awed by the fact that almost every student in MSU history has a memory associated with this area of campus.

Erin SawyerErin Sawyer | Farmington Hills, MI | Psychology and Data Science dual major, Japanese and Social Science Quantitative Data Analytics minors

Favorite study spot on campus?
My favorite study spot on campus is the Sleep and Learning Lab’s main lab space in the psychology building, where I am the Lab Manager and a research assistant. Think less test tubes and safety goggles, and more polysomnography equipment, bedrooms for sleep studies, and the comfiest couches on campus (in my unbiased opinion). I’ve spent many nights in the lab, both keeping participants awake for our sleep deprivation studies, and asleep, ensuring our melatonin studies run smoothly. 

Favorite social science-related memory?
During my first year at MSU, I took Honors Brain and Behavior (PSY209H) with Dr. Antonio Nunez. Towards the end of the semester, he managed to coordinate a sheep brain dissection for us in class! To be honest, I was a bit horrified at first, and nervous if I would even be able to stay in the classroom as I am extremely squeamish. However, I ended up LOVING it. It was not only a good lesson about brain anatomy, but also about being open to new challenges and learning opportunities that push me out of my comfort zone. 

Favorite late-night food spot?
I am endlessly grateful that Tasty Twist is open until 11 p.m. most nights! My favorite is a twister with twist ice cream, sprinkles, and Twix.  

What does being a Social Scientist mean to you?
To me, being a Social Scientist is closely tied to discovery. We seek to investigate not only what’s new, but also what’s already there, providing additional data, context, and insights. Social Science is so people-centered and I love that.

Harnoor KaurHarnoor Kaur | Chandigarh, India | Criminal Justice and Political Studies dual major, History, Peace and Justice Studies and Law, Justice and Public Policy minors

Favorite social science faculty member?
My absolute favorite professor in the College of Social Science is Professor Christina DeJong in the School of Criminal Justice! I have worked with her on research since freshman year and her help and guidance have really shaped who I am today not only as a senior in college but also as a person.

Favorite social science-related memory?
My favorite social science-related memory during my three years at MSU so far has been presenting at UURAF 2022. I was presenting two oral presentations, one for the school of Criminal Justice and the second for the Political Science Department. This was my first in-person UURAF and it was amazing and fulfilling to see my work being listened to and being appreciated in person.

Extracurricular involvement?
I am President of MSU’s only co-ed Pre-Law fraternity, Kappa Alpha Pi. I am also a Political Science Scholar and on the Political Science Scholars Advisory Board

What does being a Social Scientist mean to you?
Being a social scientist to me means bearing the responsibility of influencing and creating social policy and change. Just as scientists help advance scientific disciplines, I believe that social scientists do the same thing, but for society as a whole. The things we as social scientists talk about and study today have the potential of becoming norms and laws in the future

Jade ElderJade Elder | Wayne, MI | Communication and Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science dual major, Sociology, Migration Studies and Youth & Society minors

Favorite study spot on campus?
My two favorite study spots are the Union and Berkey 307 (the Social Science Scholars Room). 

Favorite social science faculty member?
Dr. John Waller. He is the director for the Social Science Scholars Program and has been my professor for several courses. He has been the support I needed to continue with school and get the chance to participate in research and complete an internship while at MSU.  

Favorite social science-related memory?
My favorite social science-related memory would definitely be the Social Science Scholars study abroad trip to the UK this past summer. The study abroad experience allowed us to meet with several academic experts in a variety of social science fields, including migration, social inequalities, history, economics, etc. It was an exceptional opportunity to really pick their minds about topics I was interested in, and it even gave me motivation to pursue research and look for a career internationally in the field of immigration after my undergrad. 

Any advice for current and future Spartans?
Take any opportunity MSU has to offer to travel, do new things, and meet new people. Ensure you are using the resources they have everywhere, including your advisors, your colleges website, informational meetings, or even the many bulletin boards you see on campus. For example, you never know who you will meet at the Women In Leadership Development (WILD) conference that will help get you a job in the future. Or even the place you will fall in love with and hope to pursue research or a career in while studying abroad or studying away. Spend your time at MSU talking with as many people as you can or attending all the free events, because you never know which one might change your life for the better. 

Leeslie HerreraLeeslie Herrera | Mission, Texas | Criminal Justice major and Chicano/Latino Studies minor

Favorite study spot on campus?
My favorite study spot on campus is the Migrant Student Services Office. This is because I’m constantly surrounded by my farm working, usually Latinx, first generation community. And It makes me feel better knowing that I will find someone going through similar things as me. We help lift each other up at the end of the day. 

How does the Chicano/Latino studies program support your role in other organizations on campus?
I decided to do a Chicano/Latino Studies minor because coming from a Latinx/Chicanx background I wanted to learn more about my roots. Latin America and even Mexico where my parents are from is huge. Learning about its history and how it applies to me being a first generation Latinx student at a PWI college. It helped me realize how important being a voice and an advocate for my community was. So that’s why I am part of Culturas de las Razas Unidas to be that voice and be an advocate, and being part of Mujer a Mujer has helped me find a group of womxn who support and uplift you during hard times.

What advice would you give to other first-generation college students?
The advice I have for first-generation college students is to keep going and to keep pushing. Que si se puede! It does not matter how hard it seems right now- you can do this. Go at your own pace and don’t compare yourself to others. Be true to yourself and to your work, never be afraid to ask for help. And remember that no matter how lost, stressed, and overwhelmed you feel, you are living exactly where you dreamed of or prayed to be for so long. 

Read more about this year’s Homecoming Court members here.