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SOCI 190: Introduction to Sociology

Name: Minda Jerde
Hometown: Portland, Ore.
Major: Hispanic Studies
Professor: Kate Luther, assistant professor of sociology

Psych 190

Minda’s advice to first-year students: “Get involved. Investing time in your courses, sports, clubs – anything – makes you so much more content. There is so much to take advantage of!”

Minda Jerde ’13 remembers the first time she was scheduled to see her professor, Kate Luther, during office hours. “She made us come in so we could improve on our test,” said Jerde. “I was nervous.”

She didn’t need to be. Professor Luther decided that she’d ask students to visit her office as part of her Sociology 190 Inquiry Seminar. “Just spending 15 minutes in office hours with each of my students changed the class dynamic,” she recalled. “They were more comfortable and I was able to help them problem-solve any difficulties.”

It’s was all part of Luther’s strategy. She knows the first-year students who take her 190 class are often new to sometimes- challenging sociological concepts like stratification, gender socialization and white privilege. By making sure students are comfortable with her and the other students, she knows they all can discuss the topics openly.

“When you come to college, you have all these big questions – things you probably wouldn’t discuss in high school,” said Jerde. “This class, with just first-year students, made it less intimidating. We could speak much more freely.”

Isn’t that what university life is about? Jerde thinks so.

“The class made me think about society in a totally different way. It affirmed certain beliefs, and on others, it changed my mind – for the better.”

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