MA in Sociology

Drew Bonner, 2021

Drew Bonner

As a graduating MA student in Sociology at George Mason University, I also serve as a Graduate Professional Assistant within University Life’s Office of Assessment and Planning. Before attending Mason, I completed my undergraduate degree at Mount St. Mary’s University with a dual BA in Sociology and Criminal Justice and a minor in African and African American Studies. With an interest in both academic and applied sociology, I was attracted to George Mason’s Sociology Department’s academic rigor, reputable faculty and emphasis on public and applied sociology. These aspects have greatly supported my academic and professional growth, providing the necessary skills and sociological imagination to make effective contributions in my program and the broader community.

My research interests include food environments, food insecurity, food justice and nutrition education. I began exploring these topics as an undergraduate and have expanded upon this intellectual project in my studies at Mason. I am working to complete my Master’s capstone project, which explores the relationship between dietary habits and educational outcomes for adolescents. In addition to this work, I have been able to collaborate on research initiatives related to food assistance, nutrition education and Community-Based Participatory Research. These collaborations include working as a Research Assistant for the Produce Plus Direct Evaluation program, where I conducted and analyze interviews using open and focused-coding measures to evaluate program participants’ food access experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. I was also able to conduct an independent analysis of pre-survey and post-survey data of the Community Food Educators program to inform a SNAP-ED Conference Presentation centered on the program’s effectiveness in delivering nutrition education. All of these projects have contributed to my continued growth as an independent researcher and effective social change agent.

Currently, I have been collaborating with a research team to develop a research framework and rubric that seeks to eliminate hegemonic preconceptions of the dominant culture of research through education on equitable and ethically founded Community-Based Participatory Research. In the future, I plan to continue my work with Community-Based Participatory Research by co-leading projects and program evaluations focused on food education and nutrition education. In the Fall of 2021, I will be continuing my studies as a Sociology PhD student. I look forward to continuing my academic endeavors and contributing to the great efforts toward social change within the GMU Sociology and Anthropology Department.