A Shippensburg University alumna explained her experience in the sociology field and “life after Shippensburg” to students Wednesday evening in Grove Forum.
Melissa Cidade, a survey statistician at the U.S. Census Bureau, presented her dissertation on bullying as part of an initiative by the sociology department to show graduates at work.
In the presentation, “That’s The Very Definition of Bullying! The Case for Measurement Error in a Federal Survey,” she discussed research from her dissertation for her doctorate at George Mason University.
Rather than looking into bullying from a sociological perspective, her research focused on the differences between definitions of bullying written by government agencies. Cidade also focused on the effects these have on data collection and statistics.
During her presentation, Cidade frequently tied in certain elements and aspects of her research to courses in the social work major. Cidade said she hopes that those who attended the presentation walk away understanding the importance of having focused and specific questions when conducting sociological research.
“How you ask the questions informs the answers you get,” Cidade said.
In addition to her presentation in Grove Forum, Cidade also spoke to two sociology classes during her visit. She explained what her job entails and how her time at SU allowed her to hit the ground running both in her graduate programs and professional career.
Cidade’s visit to SU is part of the sociology department’s effort to encourage their students to “envision success,” and expose them to a wide variety of experiences and career paths.
The department invites several SU alumni who work in the field to speak about their experiences in their graduate programs or careers. So far this semester, Cidade is the third alumni Barbara Denison, SU sociology professor, has invited to speak in her class.
“I think it’s a very positive response,” said Denison, when asked how students were responding to the alumni guests. “She threw it out there and asked people to ask what they wanted to ask, and so there was quite a number of questions, and they kept that dialogue going for a good amount of time.”
For students majoring in sociology, it’s a great chance to be exposed to the wide variety of career parts available to them, according to Denison.
And for alumni like Cidade, it’s a chance to give back to their alma mater and the programs, and professors who helped them succeed in their professional lives. Cidade said was thankful for her time at SU, praising the opportunities offered at the university.
“Not only did I learn invaluable skills like how to build an argument driven by critical thinking and data,” Cidade said. “But through my internship and my involvement in various clubs and activities on campus taught me how to talk to people of different backgrounds, how to work on a team, and how to network and build community.”