Cheryl Pruce (BA Urban Studies, 2008, MA Sociology, 2009)
Program Officer, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
"Growing up in a highly segregated area of Baltimore, Maryland, I spent a lot of my time at Stanford trying to understand the intersection of poverty, education, and race relations. Rebecca Sandefur’s Law and Society introseminar and Michael Rosenfeld’s Urban Underclass and Changing American Family courses changed the trajectory of my academic journey at Stanford, and my professional life after. What I loved most about these core-shaking classes was that they highlighted ways in which our society creates and maintains inequality, and then does a really good job of either blaming those who have been marginalized, or whitewashing history so we don’t hear their stories. For me, sociology classes brought out the truth: the painful truth of our racial and economic hierarchy. These classes taught me how to be a critical thinker, read arguments and figure out what makes sense, and how to analyze data in ways that would allow me to add my own voice to the discourse.
After graduating, I spent several years in the education policy research world in Washington, DC. I thought a lot about how we make sure that low income youth people have access to high quality educational opportunities and educators. I came in with the quantitative data analysis skills to be a strong value-add to my research teams. As I grew professionally, I came to learn that one of my strengths is helping organizations make sense of data to drive strategic planning and action. I am currently serving as a program officer at a foundation, where I support organizations who are trying to make the world better. My understanding of complex social issues, and how inequality operates on institutional levels, is critical in influencing the direction of the grantmaking we do.
Bottom line? Take all the soc classes you can. Uncover all the ugly truths about our society. And then spend every day of your life trying to create a more just and equal society. GO!"