Name: Marimar Suárez
Major(s) and Minor: Double majoring in Linguistics and Sociology
How did you choose Sociology as your major?
I took a sociology class when I was in high school as an elective and I fell in love with the class. When I came to Rutgers, I took Introduction to Sociology with Professor McLean to fulfill a core requirement. However, I enjoyed the class so much that I decided to double major in Linguistics and Sociology!
What is it about your chosen field (and the department) that appeals to you?
I just love the idea of being able to analyze a problem as a structural issue instead of viewing it from an individualistic perspective. Through my sociology classes, I have been able to understand that many social, economic, and political problems can be traced back to structural, society-wide trends that impact people on an individual level. Sociology has also taught me how important and impactful the process of socialization is on the development of human beings. The way we act, speak, problem-solve, and even the way we process information has been molded by our upbringing and by environmental, social, and economic conditions. Finally, I find sociology classes fascinating. I am able to take classes on such varied and important topics. I have taken classes that have focused on law, on drug use, on race relations, and even on our health. They are all so different, but they are equally important.
Do you have a favorite class/professor within your major?
Honestly, all of my sociology professors have been engaging, passionate, and student-oriented. If I had to pick my favorite class so far, it has to be Race Relations with Professor Wilhelms. I genuinely looked forward to this class. The racial relations and implications have shaped the American history. However, high school history classes don’t tend to focus on the underlying racist policies that have shaped what the United States is now. This class was extremely eye-opening. We focused on how race plays a role in housing policies, in the education system, in college admissions process, and even in the way people view taxes. The scary part is that even though our what we learned in class happened more than 50 years ago, we can still see the same trends occurring nowadays. Professor Wilhelms makes the class even more entertaining. He is so knowledgeable and he is able to grasp our attention so easily. He relates the course material to his life which makes it much to understand. I encourage you all to take this class!
What are your favorite academic experiences outside of your major?
I was a research assistant for the Graduate School of Education and I worked for Professor Dake Zhang. Her research project was titled the Improving Student Performance in Math Problem Solving. As a research assistant, I had to go to a school in South Plainfield and tutor students with learning disabilities on fractions and proportions. I want to be a teacher, so this experienced directly related to my career path.
What are your other Rutgers activities?
Getting involved is extremely important! I am currently the Secretary for the Rutgers Union Estudiantil Puertorriqueña, which is basically the Puerto Rican Student Association. We plan meetings and events to unite the Puerto Rican community at Rutgers. Additionally, I am the Liaison Officer for Rutgers BuildOn. BuildOn is a non-profit organization that focuses on ending the cycle of poverty through education. I am also involved with the non-profit organization called Institute for Domestic and International Affairs. We plan Model United Nation Conferences for high school students such as Rutgers University Model United Nations and Philadelphia Model United Nations. During my freshman year summer, I was an Orientation Leader for incoming students and during my sophomore year summer, I was a Logistics Intern for the Department of New Student Orientation and Family Programs. Finally, I am a Scarlet Ambassador. This is just a fancy term for tour guide that works for the Rutgers Visitor Center!
What are your plans following graduation?
I am planning on applying to the English as a Second Language Five-Year Master’s Program in the Graduate School of Education. After graduating, I hope to go back home to Puerto Rico and become an English teacher or continue my studies in order to enter academia. Sociology is a great field to major in if you are going into the education field because it allows you to understand student’s individual and collective needs. I am hoping that everything I have learned in my sociology classes will help me become a well-rounded teacher.