Undergraduate Alumni Stories

Our department seeks to support and build upon the richness and diversity of the region in which we are embedded. Our alumni report that our core classes in theory, research methods, and social statistics gave them meaningful skills that they use in their daily work. Are you interested in being profiled? We're always looking to connect with our Alumni! Contact us at socadvis@umn.edu.

Soc Alum Seguin

Charles Seguin

BS Sociology, 2008
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of Arizona(Fall 2016)

Charles Seguin ’08 pursued graduate study in Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and starts as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona in Fall 2016. His research interests include historical sociology, social movements, mathematical sociology, and the sociology of culture. Charles has won numerous national awards for his papers, including studies of media attention to social movements and the mathematics of superstardom. His work has been published in leading sociology journals, including Social Forces and the American Journal of Sociology. His dissertation examines the politics of lynching in the U.S. in 1880-1930. During his time at the University of Minnesota, Charles completed two research projects through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, and he credits this experience with deepening his interest in pursuing an academic research career.


Muneer Karcher-Ramos

BA Sociology, 2008
Current Position: Director of the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood

Muneer Karcher-Ramos, '08, is the Director of the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood, which uses education as a tool to end multi-generational poverty in the Frogtown and Summit-University neighborhoods by creating early pathways of opportunities leading to college and career success. In his role, he works with activists and civic leaders to transform urban education and address root causes to education inequities. Muneer specializes in applying community- and culturally-valued approaches to working with communities who have historically been unheard, and often muted, in public programs and policy. After completing his undergraduate degree in the Department of Sociology, he completed his master's in sociology at the University of Chicago. Prior to his current role, he did applied research at the Urban Education Institute in Chicago and at Wilder Research in Saint Paul for four years.

Lisa Skjefte, Profile

Lisa Skjefte

BA Sociology
Current Position: American Indian community liaison for Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

Lisa is a citizen of the Red Lake Nation of Ojibwe. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Lisa is also a co-founder of an Indigenous Women's Wellness movement called KWESTRONG, Kwe, pronounced "qway" in the Ojibwe language, means woman. KWESTRONG organizes an American Indian Women and girls Triathlon, Run Bike Canoe, each year on the Chain of Lakes in Minneapolis.

Lisa began working at Children’s Hospitals an Clinics Minnesota in the fall of 2014. In her current role, she works with the Advocacy and Health Policy and Social Work teams to connect patient experience and community voice back to Children's. Lisa has helped launch an initiative called The First Gift, a space for American Indian community members to come together to make baby moccasins to give back to American Indian families whose babies are in the Special Care Nursery and NICU units.

Portrait: Jill Fonseca

Jill Fonseca

BA Sociology of Law, Criminology, & Deviance, 2006
Current Position: Probation Supervisor

The BA sociology of law, criminology, & deviance major definitely helped me obtained my first probation officer position here at the county. The major is pretty well known among hiring supervisors, especially alumni. When I was working as a court clerk prior to probation, a hiring supervisor asked what my undergraduate major was and when he found out it was sociology of law, criminology and deviance, he offered me an interview for the probation officer position.

Once I became a probation officer, the sociology of law, criminology and deviance major helped me identify and understand human behavior and concepts related to the practice of probation. It allowed me to understand on a more global perspective, life circumstances influencing our clients in society on a daily basis. Understanding the structure of society and how social institutions influence development was key to my position in probation. Now, as a supervisor in our department, having the ability to identify public need and services based on a variety of diverse societal factors allows for more targeted interventions and strategic focus on rehabilitation. Overall, my major provided a good foundation for continued work in this field. 


Joseph Sass

Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology (Law, Crime, & Deviance) 2002
Current Position:Police Officer

I have been a police officer for the city of West St. Paul for the past ten years. I believe my degree in Sociology (Law, Crime & Deviance) gave me the tools to think critically and objectively which I have applied in virtually every shift I work. I came to understand that everyone’s circumstances and experiences are different which gives me the ability to adapt as necessary depending on the situation and people involved. Communication is a vital skill in law enforcement. I believe my degree in Sociology provided me with the confidence to communicate effectively with people of all different backgrounds.


Jilian Koski

BA Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance, 2015
Current Position: Criminal Investigator for the Minnesota Attorney General's Office

The first thing I realized post-grad is how thankful I was to have such an encompassing major. Sociology of law, criminology, and deviance provided me with a great opportunity to learn more about my passions in criminology and criminal behaviors, while tying in the Sociology aspect studying the development, structure, and functions of human society in general.

With a major and classes tailored to study criminology, I was able to get an internship with the Minneapolis Police Department my senior year in the financial fraud/narcotics unit. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had- personally and academically. As an extra perk, being a sociology major provided me with many scholarship opportunities to finance my internship. The combination ofstudying criminology and experiencing criminal behaviors first hand solidified that I had chosen the right major and future career path. Before graduation, I was offered my dream job of being an Investigator for the Minnesota Attorney General's Office. I investigate allegations of Medicaid fraud as well as allegations of vulnerable adult abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. I love what I do; I am constantly learning and I get to study criminology in the real world every day.

Portrait: Jenny Scherber

Jenny Scherber

BA Sociology, 2008
Current Position: Project Manager - Operations and Integration and Land of Lincoln Health

Not only did my major in sociology lay the foundation for my future career, it has also shaped the lens through which I view the world. What I loved about studying sociology was learning how societies are shaped by people and their behavior and how societal constructs are both created and influenced by those factors. This fascination inspired a deeper understanding of health disparities and a passion to help shape healthy communities that led me to pursue a master’s degree in healthcare administration. I am able to apply the critical thinking skills and knowledge I learned to solve problems in the rapidly changing health care environment as a project manager with a non-profit health insurance cooperative in Illinois.  I used these same skills when I was a Onestop Counselor helping students!

portrait: Neeraj Rajasekar

Neeraj Rajasekar

BA Sociology, 2012
Current Position: PhD Student in Sociology at UMN

I am one of the few people I know who actually gets to do what he loves. My undergraduate sociology degree at the U of M was instrumental for getting into and succeeding in graduate school. I am currently a second-year PhD student in sociology at the U of M. Ultimately, I plan to become a professor at a college that emphasizes teaching. Some of the things that really helped along the way… My theory class with Professor Teresa Gowan and my honors proseminar course with Professor Joachim Savelsberg gave me the writing skills and foundational knowledge to be an effective sociologist. Research methods was not my favorite class, but it paved the way for me to get an undergraduate research assistantship—in retrospect, I appreciate its value. I was also an undergraduate teaching assistant, which has made a positive difference in my ability to teach writing skills to current undergraduates. I gained a lot at the UMN through my time in various classes, student organizations, and campus life, but there is no place that has better prepared me for where I am today than the sociology department.

Portrait: Riku Kawaguchi

Riku Kawaguchi

BA Sociology of Law, Criminology, & Deviance, 2014
Current Position: PhD in Sociology at North Carolina State University - Chapel Hill

There are many things that my years at University of Minnesota helped me to get into the graduate school and to better prepare to be a PhD student. In addition to taking classes, I tried to get myself involved in the research at the sociology department. Writing and research skills I gained from "Research Methods," the UROP project I did, and my honors thesis as well as becoming a research assistant for graduate students were crucial and benefit me everyday. Becoming an undergraduate teaching assistant as well prepared me to take on more roles and to do my graduate teaching assistant job effectively.

Ways to Connect with CLA Students
Students are looking to connect with you, our alumni. They're looking for advice, career stories, mentors, informational interviews, internships, and even jobs. Can you help? A day, an hour, or even the few minutes it takes to answer an email can make a big difference. Learn how you can connect with CLA students here.