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Sociology major Allen Tugade ’24 has been a dynamic researcher and student leader at PLU

Sociology major Allen Tugade ’24 has been a dynamic researcher and student leader at PLU

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Allen Tugade stands in front of a white wall with the PLU mission written on it in silver letters. Tugade is half-smiling and wearing a blue vest over a white button-up shirt.

Image: (Photo by Sy Bean/PLU)

May 28, 2024
By Fulton Bryant-Anderson ’23
PLU Marketing & Communications Guest Writer

As a student, Allen Tugade ’24 engaged in academic and applied sociological research on the student population of Pacific Lutheran University. Tugade was a member of Choir of the West and a well-known student leader on campus, serving as a Wild Hope Fellow and with the Associated Students of PLU (ASPLU). We sat down with Tugade to learn more about his PLU experience.

Tell me about your sociology capstone. 

My capstone is on financial aid in higher education. I am looking at how graduating students are affected by different demographic and financial factors, using a PLU dataset from 2010 to 2023. 

What is your hope for this research?

I am going to make a big ol’ presentation. Hopefully, it will be for Student Financial Services or even a retention committee. I want to make a difference before I skedaddle.

Why are you interested in this? 

It was entirely because of my own experience. I read a lot of Caitlin Zaloom – she is an anthropologist detailing this muddy gray area, middle-income folks who are making too much money to get need-based aid, but too little to comfortably pay out of pocket. I felt inspired by my own personal story to look more into it.

Who advises you? 

Dr. [Laura] McCloud, she is a financial sociologist, at least that is what I call her in my head. She helps me take so many risks that I never thought I could accomplish. Her door is always open for me. 

Tell me about your favorite class at PLU. 

My favorite class was statistical consulting with Dr. [N.] Justice. We learned practical skills that will help in work as a data analyst or consultant.

How has working with Campus Life as an ambassador for assessment, evaluation and research enriched your learning at PLU?

I am taking it as practice for what I want to go into, which is assessment evaluation. I take all the things that I am learning this semester, and I get to apply it. It is making recommendations to make an impact. 

Tell me about your experience as a non-degree-seeking music student. 

That was the first time I ever sang in choir [after voice lessons in high school]. I was in chorale. This year, I’m ending my time at PLU as a member of Choir of the West.

How did serving as a Wild Hope Fellow affect you? 

It changed the way I view my engagement with the world. It gave me tools for vocational discernment and helped me clarify a lot of things. The reason why I am where I am today is because I did a lot of listening to [my] inner voice. 

Looking back, what was the most impactful thing you did with ASPLU

I think the most impactful thing was working on the RAD Care campaign advocating for student faculty conversations about wellness. It is not really confirmed, but our campaign probably influenced a faculty workshop. Even though I could not see the impact, I got to hear about what it seems to have led to. 

What are your professional aspirations?

I’m planning on taking a few gap years before grad school. I want to get my PhD in social computation–people numbers–and go into applied research rather than academia. Until then, I want to get a job adjacent to the field. 

Any specific plans for after commencement? 

I am doing Vashon Opera. I am in the chorus, which is my first professional gig, yay! And in July, for the first three weeks, I am doing the [PLU] Summer Opera Workshop