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Pictured Left to Right: Dejanee Perkins and Hayley Johnson.

Photo Credit Perkins and Johnson

Students of the Department of Sociology at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) presented original research at the Mid-South Sociological Association Conference, October 21-23, 2021. 

The Mid-South Sociological Association (MSSA) is a valuable organization for sociologists at all career levels in the Mid-South region and across the United States.  The MSSA annual meetings provide sessions on the cutting edge of research interests including but not limited to deviance, criminology, gender studies, theory, disaster, and immigration studies. In addition, each meeting includes round tables and panels focusing on professional growth in the areas of teaching, tenure, and applications to graduate schools.

This year the conference was held in a hybrid format, allowing students the opportunity to virtually present their research. 

Dejanee Perkins (‘21 Sociology) presented "People Were Just Being Weird” Microaggressions and the Alienation of Black Women in Nursing Schools.” Dr. Christina Steidl served as the advisor for Perkins’ Capstone project. 

“My experience at MSSA was really great! Initially, the thought of having to present was very stressful. However, once I actually got into the Zoom chat, very much less stressful. It was also really nice to see what other people have been working on, and just seeing how interested and passionate people are.” 

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to analyze the experiences of Black women in nursing schools, the majority of which are classified as PWIs (Predominately White Institutions). This study focuses on the microaggressions experienced and the feeling of alienation while attending the PWI. This study employs a case study at one mid-sized university in the south. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five participants, and the participants were asked about their interactions in the Bachelor of Nursing Science program. These microaggressive interactions caused feeling of exclusion, invisibility, and hypervisibility. Data reports that students felt feelings of exclusion, but never alienation. This study concluded that microaggressions do not lead to the alienation of Black women in nursing schools, but rather more feelings of exclusion and general discomfort. 

Hayley Johnson (‘22 Theatre & Women’s and Gender Studies) presented “Violence of Gender Norms on Etsy." Johnson’s paper also won the 2021 Women’s and Gender Studies writing competition in the analytic category.  

"If I am being honest, this terrified me, intimidated me, and I almost just didn't apply because I wasn't confident that my paper would be accepted, but if I have learned anything in my time at UAH it's to always take the opportunities that scare you because they're usually the best ones." 

Abstract: This paper serves as a sociological lens into the gender norms that appear on Etsy. There are many different shopping platforms that are used by consumers when shopping for Valentine's gifts. Etsy, an online shopping platform that features handmade and custom items, provides an intimate look on consumers' Valentine's Day shopping habits. Upon reviewing the top results of "Valentine's Day gifts for him/her," the undertones of hegemonic heteronormativity in Valentine's Day gifts can be discerned. It can be concluded through social learning theory that the cultural norms present on Etsy reinforce hegemonic standards of the subservient female and dominant male in a relationship.

For questions about student research opportunities in the Department of Sociology, please contact