“Thinking Outside the Academy”: Working as an Applied Sociologist

While many sociologists are committed to and enjoy working within academic institutions, there is an increasing interest in, and need for, scholars to “think outside of the academy” and consider working in applied settings. In part, this is fueled by an economy that makes desirable academic positions less abundant. But it is also fueled by the important contribution sociologists make to non-academic research, education, and policy venues.

This session — presented at the Sociologists for Women in Society Winter Meeting in Tamaya, Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico on February 8th, 2013 — includes a panel of successful sociologists who are working in a variety of non-academic settings, including a think tank and in independent practices. Panelists include:

  • Gayle Sulik, Ph.D. independent social science researcher and writer, affiliated with the University at Albany Department of Women’s Studies, with expertise in medical sociology and interdisciplinary community research and a focus on medical consumerism, cancer survivorship, health policy, and the culture and industry of breast cancer.
  • Mindy Fried, Ph.D., Principal of Arbor Consulting Partners, who conducts evaluation research in the areas of work and family policy, public health, arts education, and community development in low-income and immigrant communities for universities, foundations, non-profit organizations, and government.
  • Chloe Bird, Ph.D., senior sociologist at the RAND Corporation, who studies gender differences in physical and mental health and social determinants of health, and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

Panelists shared their personal journeys in choosing applied sociology as a career, and gave insights regarding the pros and cons of applied sociology as a career choice. They discussed their opportunities for scholarship, the audiences they seek to influence, the products they create, and the finances of a non-academic career. After short presentations, panelists addressed questions from participants.

Here is Gayle Suik’s presentation. Download slides (PDF)

Sociologists for Women in Society Winter Meeting in Tamaya, Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico on February 8th, 2013.

To Comment, Please Email gayle.sulik@gmail.com