Cornell students earn research awards from the Iowa Sociological Association

Cornell College students earned awards for their research in two out of the four categories at the Iowa Sociological Association’s (ISA) annual meeting. Eleven students and two faculty members attended the meeting at the University of Iowa at the end of April. They joined students from University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, Central College, Luther College, Loras College, Grinnell College, and Kirkwood Community College in presenting and hearing research about topics such as child sex trafficking, college hookups, LGBQ issues, and mental health in the criminal justice system.

The ISA focuses on research and recognizes the best undergraduate conference papers in four categories, of which Cornell students earned two. Hayley McKie ’16 earned the Stephen Wieting award for integrating theory and research in her paper, “LGBQ Identity, Authenticity and Heteronormativity,” which began during the inaugural year of the Cornell Summer Research Institute (CSRI) in 2015. The W. Ward Reynoldson award for the best paper on criminal justice went to Jessie Freeman ’17, Conor Moore ’18, Jani Mustaffa ’17, and Madison Serrett ’17 for their work, “Mental Health and the Criminal Justice System: A Bipartisan Report by Mental Health America & the Heritage Foundation,” which they created as part of SOC 364: Deviance and Social Control.

“The ISA provides students an opportunity to be practicing, professional sociologists,” said Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Tori Barnes-Brus. “Cornell students are inspired by attending the ISA. This conferences challenges students to develop strong work, builds their confidence as sociologists and researchers, and introduces them to a community of fellow scholars.”

Cornell College students have a long history of earning recognition at the ISA, earning eight awards over the last nine years, including the 2015 Mary Alice Erickson Award for the best freshman-sophomore paper. That award went to Alex DeSena ’17, for her paper, “Exploring the Effect of Judeo‐Christian Religions on Heteronormativity and the Relation to Religious Conservatism.”  

This year, DeSena presented new work initiated during the 2015 CSRI, Erinne Smith ’17 presented research completed during SOC 484: Research Design and Data Analysis, and Ruby Linkhart ’16 and Mallory Turner ’17 each presented public sociology papers created in ENG 382: Reporting from the Margins. Attendees also heard from keynote speaker, professor Lisa Slattery Walker from University of North Carolina, Charlotte, who gave a talk on her current research on controlling and transferring status effects of gender in small group tasks.

ISA was established in 1959 with a goal of providing opportunities for Iowa undergraduate and graduate sociology students to present research.  The association meets each year to hold an event where students present their papers and posters to those in attendance. 

Cornell College hosted the ISA in 2009 and will host it again in 2018.

Jani Mustaffa ’17, Conor Moore ’18, and Madison Serrett ’17 hold their award, the W. Ward Reynoldson award for the best paper on criminal justice.
Hayley McKie ’16 earned the Stephen Wieting award.