PhD in Sociology

Carol Petty, 2021

Carol Petty

Describe your dissertation, thesis, or capstone (if you completed one):

My dissertation analyzes subjectivities of citizenship articulated in state-led projects for immigrant integration. I study education programs designed to integrate asylum-seeking migrants into German society, particularly programs serving young adults. My project addressed two primary questions: how do participants in educational settings constitute, bridge, and shift symbolic boundaries surrounding nationality and citizenship? And, how does intercultural education render opportunities for democratic participation and social membership? My broader research interests center the relationship between cultural change and democracy.

How did your academic experiences in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences impact you?

I have been in CHSS for a long time. It is difficult to say how exactly the life of the mind cultivated here has impacted me. Perhaps it is enough to say that education has liberated my thinking from the more pernicious illusions of our time.

Of which accomplishment(s) during your time at Mason are you most proud?

I am most proud of my work in fellowship with other graduate students. We worked together with limited resources to build a better world and we continue to do so in our new roles off campus.

Are there faculty or staff members who made a difference during your Mason career?

I can hardly imagine a better array of mentors than those who made themselves available to me during my time at Mason.
Mentorship is more than giving good advice. At its heart, it is the provision of a model of life, a model of the good life, of living with meaning, character, and integrity in a world that relentlessly tears away at these. I know no other person who so consistently achieves this quality of mentorship than my advisor and friend, Dr. Nancy Hanrahan.

What advice would you give to an incoming cohort of graduate students?

Stick together! I encourage incoming graduate students to create fellowship with each other. Tenaciously support your material and intellectual interests within and outside the university. Surround yourself with those who support you and tap into as many resources as possible.

What are your current career plans following graduation? What are your long-term career goals?

I am currently on the academic job market looking for teaching/research positions. I plan to spend time with my partner, Fabian, and continue life as a scholar and writer.