Undergraduate Institution: St. Cloud State University
Undergraduate Major: Economics and Anthropology
MAPSS Graduation Year: 2011
I came to MAPSS to bolster my background in sociology and prepare for a doctoral program. In my first quarter on campus, a seminar in the sociology of consumption exposed me to a whole new way to think about the relationship between consumer goods, identity and social class. The course was so great, it shifted my focus within sociology entirely and I decided to explore why people choose to host and travel in Airbnb and CouchSurfing in my thesis research. I worked with my advisor, Dr. Karin Knorr who taught the Sociology of Consumption course, to study how authenticity, imagination and a desire for human connection influence our consumer decisions. Two great methods courses – involved interviewing and hermeneutic sociology – helped to boost my research chops. After graduating, MAPSS helped me get accepted to a PhD program in sociology at the University of Minnesota. Ultimately, after a year in the program, I decided academia wasn’t for me and now I am working in advertising as a brand anthropologist. I’m using everything I learned in MAPSS to help brands understand why we buy what we buy, and how we use products to express ourselves and relate to each other. I wouldn’t have gotten hired, or even considered for the job, without my MAPSS experience.