Brenda Taylor Moody

After working eight years as a permanent sub in Madison County, Brenda Taylor Moody (B.A. Sociology/Psychology, 2012), decided to return to school and pursue a degree in education and psychology. That all changed with her first sociology class with Dr. Nancy Finley (retired). Brenda is one of several sociology graduates who have found value in a double major in sociology and psychology. “Though it was just an introduction to sociology, I felt as if everything that I wanted to do in psychology made sense because of the sociology class. I was introduced to the idea of systems that I didn’t realize existed. I knew that there were things like race and gender that made a difference in a person’s life, but I was blind to the other effects of institutions on individual life,” she says.

One of the highlights of Brenda’s studies at UAH was the opportunity to attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in Washington D.C. “I along with 5 other women took that long drive. It was great getting to know each other on the way, then meeting with strong women from all over the world, hearing their experiences, and learning how they addressed gender stereotypes in their culture.”

Brenda works for Wellstone Behavioral Health (formerly known as the Mental Health Center of Madison County), and is also the President of the Huntsville chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-H). She finds herself relying on sociological insights on a daily basis as she navigates the challenges of working with schools and organizations experiencing decreased funding in servicing clients, and the continued stigma of mental illness that haunts those clients. She explains, “When I hear people use the phrase “they just don’t want to learn” or “they are just lazy and looking for a handout, I see the divisions created by institutional racism, classism, sexism, etc. I teach my students to see the big picture and to use available resources to attain each step in their life plan. My job does not pay a lot and if you are looking for that huge payout this isn’t the profession for you. But if you are looking to make a difference through advocacy, policy changes, and personal perceptions, or just lending a hand to help people navigate the system… this is for you. “