SoAn Class of 2020 Graduates!

Hello All!

It’s certainly been a strange and challenging semester for students and faculty, but the global pandemic didn’t alter the fact that another cohort of SOAN students reached the finish line in their undergraduate studies at the University of Puget Sound. Although students and families were spread all over North America, we concluded our semester with an online celebration for our graduates.

Below you’ll find brief notes about the winners of our annual departmental honors and awards, followed by a list of our seniors’ thesis projects. As usual, that list of projects is a vivid testament to the latitude of interests that coalesce in the SOAN department. But first, the awards:


This special departmental award is given to a student majoring in sociology and anthropology for excellence in the major.

Alena McIntosh

Alena McIntosh

Alena McIntosh exemplifies many of our aspirations for students in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Her intellectual prowess is obvious to all the professors who’ve worked with her, but she couples that intellect with a considerate thoughtfulness that’s a product of her sustained interaction with both sociology and anthropology. She carries the perspectives she’s developed at Puget Sound to a frame of global concern, and the worldly footprint she’s developed has made her a more thoughtful and reflective American. In short, Alena is an excellent ambassador for our department, and we’re so very proud of her. Congratulations, Alena!


This special departmental award is given to a student majoring in sociology and anthropology for service to the department.

Tammy Smith

Tammy Smith

With her unique interaction with SOAN—a course each semester over many years—Tammy Smith steadily and assuredly wove her way into the consciousness of the department. Here, at the end of her time with us, our respect for Tammy has never been more clear. Tammy brought a clear-headedness to her assessment of what sociology and anthropology have to offer, and her intellectual maturity was a welcome counterbalance in many of the discussions and conversations we faculty members sought to foster in the classroom. The SOAN department is lucky to have been a part of Tammy’s journey, and wishes her continued success in the next chapters of her life. Congratulations, Tammy!


Abby Gustke

Mariah Thomson

Namiko Service
Mariah Thomson

Each year, the sociology and anthropology faculty designate departmental honors to a select number graduating seniors. This recognition is based on the students’ academic performance, as well as contributions to the culture of the department. We are very proud of this year’s honors recipients in sociology and anthropology, whose work in our department reflects insight, critical thinking, and a dedication to understanding the social world.


  • Avery Bearden
  • Alana Gutkin
  • Alena McIntosh
  • Tammy Smith

Sociology & Anthropology Class of 2020 Senior Thesis Titles

  • Abby Gustke — Food Truck Nation: Exploring the social meanings associated with the production and consumption of street food in America
  • Alana Gutkin — Starting over: An ethnographic examination of the Social Networks Among Elderly Immigrants
  • Alena McIntosh — Beyond the Gap: An Ethnographic Examination of the ‘Deep State’ and Political Polarization in Modern America
  • Allison Park — “Artificial Intelligence Redefining Intrinsic Human Qualities”
  • Avery Bearden — “Political Polarization on Twitter: Echo Chambers, Social Division, and the Disintegration of Democracy”
  • Emma Shields — “Implications of Climate Crises on Low-Income Communities in California”
  • Gabbie Berg — “The Paradox of the Female Athlete”
  • Gaia Bostick — “Historical Memories and Remnants of War and UXO in Present-Day Laos”
  • Isaac Wasserman — “Social Media and Identity: The Online and Offline Profiles”
  • Kate Harlan — “Society and Social Identity: How Stigma Marginalizes the Addict”
  • Katie Young — “I Can Do Anything A Man Can Do”: Understanding and Identifying Influences in Female Decision-Making
  • Liv Turner Sage — The Place where Music Happens: The Importance of Music Venues in Tacoma, Washington
  • Mariah Thompson — Interdisciplinary Conservation Science: Imperative to Conservation Success
  • Mariana Sanchez-Castillo — “The Gaze of American News Media: The Production of Vulnerability and Disaster in Puerto Rico”
  • Maxx Cohn — A Gender Ascender: Examining the Role of Masculinity in Safety of Rock Climbing Communities
  • Michael Carter — “Out of the Tower and onto the Ground: An Analysis of Degrowth in Cuba”
  • Namiko Service — “Language Socialization, Theory of Mind, and Narrative Practice: A Holistic Approach”
  • Rachel Dean — Latinx Representation in Curriculum
  • Rebecca Heald — “Multiplicity in Simplicity: A Study of Denim”
  • Sanjay Kambhatla — “Yoga for Health and Cancer”
  • Sarah Nickle — Transmission of the Kitchen: An Analysis of Young People’s Learnt Behavior Around the Production and Consumption of Food​
  • Soli Loya-Lara — “Style as Rebellion: Mexican-American Women in the Chicana and Punk Eras”
  • Spencer Monahan — “Unconscious Oversight: Religious Power and Political Systems”
  • Tammy Smith — Come Play with Me: Building Community and Cohesion in Neighborhood Parks

Again, we’re so proud of all of you! Congrats on your graduation, and we look forward to hearing about what comes next in your life journeys.



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