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Sociology Alumni

Michael Wilkinson '15

Michael Wilkinson works for the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development at Tufts University. He primarily does research on operating pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. He also assists in writing several letters of solicitation to various companies and foundations and proposes projects the Center might do in exchange for grant funding. The most interesting task Wilkinson completed at work is to propose a long-term, multimillion dollar precision medicine research collaboration to senior members of the Tufts CSDD and Northeastern University. 

"My advice to current students would be to embrace all the resources you have at your disposal, especially the professors that teach your classes. Every member of the Sociology department is more than happy to help you with any trouble you may be having and even just to chat about mundane topics. They will greatly enjoy hearing what you have to say and you just might make a friend for life. Never underestimate the value of the critical thinking skills you are taught in the sociology classroom."  

Kayla Walkling '14

Kayla WalklingSince graduation, Kayla Walkling has been working as a peer mentor for a community service agency in Southeast Massachusetts. Her position is funded through a Department of Mental Health grant that aims to improve services for transition-aged youth across the state. Her work is a blend of direct work with clients, community outreach, data collection and research. She helps support young adults with mental health challenges by offering advice on how to navigate mental health services, find local resources and aiding in the general transition into young adulthood. She also collects data for the Department of Mental Health, collaborates with other organizations and participates in statewide committees advocating for youth voice. She hopes to eventually earn a Master's degree as she advances in the agency.

"Studying Sociology allowed me to have cultural competence and understand how individuals impact and are impacted by their communities." 

Allison Hajjar '13


Allison Hajjar, works as a Therapeutic Mentor and a Therapeutic Training and Support Specialist for The Key Program, a local non-profit that aims to assist troubled youth and their families in pursuing productive and rewarding lives. She works with youth ages 5-21 and their caregivers to assist them in meeting their particular goals. Typical components of her job are planning a community-based activity for a client, assisting with an in-home therapy session, assisting family with coordinating with other service providers and helping patients/clients navigate systems like school, DCF and DMH. Hajjar began the Macro Social Work Master's program at Boston College in the Fall of 2015. The program is research, policy work and advocacy based.

"My Sociology degree provided me with a 'big picture' view and very global perspective that has allowed me to be empathetic when working in direct care. Studying under the passionate professors in the UML Sociology Department also taught me to be investigative and innovative. These skills are vital to having an understanding of the population I am working with and being creative, but still effective in how I am improving the issues before me, no matter if they are on an individual level or systematic level. My advice to current students: Don't be afraid to talk with professors and other community leaders. Networking helps you know what career options are out there and what employers are looking for."

Laura Carter '13

Laura carterLaura Carter works as a Behavior Therapist for Beacon ABA Services, Inc. She provides in-home early intervention services to young children who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She works extensively with these children and their families to help increase personal independence and adaptive skills within the home. During her time with the company she has been promoted to a Lead Therapist. As a Lead Therapist, she is responsible for the development, implementation and the daily oversight of the programs for each of her clients.

 "My experience with the UMass Lowell Sociology Department was nothing short of amazing. The professors went above and beyond to help me succeed. They were always there to offer me guidance when I needed it. My adviser helped me explore potential careers and gave me great advice on graduate programs when I was considering applying. I appreciated the fact that I was able to form close relationships with my peers because of the close-knit sociology community. I value the opportunities I was given through my practicum experience. I was able to work with a newly emerging non-profit organization that offers financial literacy services to low-income women. It opened my eyes to the non-profit world and inspired me to work in a direct services field. Overall, I am extremely satisfied with my experiences with the sociology program at UMass Lowell."

Shaena McDaniel Lawyer '13


Shaena McDaniel Lawyer works as an Intensive Care Coordinator at Children's Services of Roxbury where she facilitates Care Planning Team meetings and creates Individualized Care Plans for youth and families with serious emotional disturbances. Through her small business corporation, Social and Life Services Inc., Lawyer specializes in helping young mothers and teen girls reach into their self-esteem and pursue resources that will ensure their success in life.

Analissa Iversen, '12 Annalissa

Analissa Iversen, is a current MPP/MBA in Nonprofit Administration candidate at Brandeis's Heller School for Social Policy and Management. After graduation, Analissa spent two years serving as an Americorps VISTA at the United Teen Equality Center (UTEC) in Lowell, Mass. While at UTEC, she managed program evaluation efforts and built systems for UTEC's continuous learning and improvement.

“I proudly tell others that I am a UML Sociology Alum. The Sociology Department at UML feels like a family, with professors that are willing to go the extra mile to help you succeed. The department also offers a strong emphasis on research methodology, a unique characteristic in comparison to other undergraduate sociology programs. I graduated with a portfolio containing three research projects I independently designed, implemented and analyzed. Through coursework and research opportunities, the department provided me with both a critical and sociological mindset, as well as the hard skills needed to make an impact on larger social problems. I have been so grateful for these skills during my work in the emerging field of program evaluation.”

Alex DeFronzo '11 

Alex DeFronzo manages a youth program at NFI Massachusetts, Inc., a nonprofit that works with youth and families in the North Shore and the Merrimack Valley. Alex manages a program that assists families in staying together and keeping their children at home and safe. He works directly with children and their caretakers to help provide them with a better life and safe environment. A Sociology background helps shape DeFronzo and his fellow workers, for the challenges that arise on the job, "having the ability to peel back the layers of an issue to discover it's core, the point it originates, makes Sociology graduates a very big asset to us," he says.

"I would advise undergraduate students to get some real work experience before beginning graduate school. The field of human resources is a great place to do that because you are exposed to almost all public and nonprofit systems that exist in the commonwealth, from healthcare to the court system. It is a good way to discover what your passion in the workforce is, and can be helpful in pursuing your educational goals later."

Alex is always looking to bring on Sociology graduates to his team at NFI, Inc. If anyone is interested in a career working with children and families contact Alex at

Jordan Ellis '11

Jordan EllisJordan Ellis graduated from the Sociology Department in 2011 and continued on to complete a Master's in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2014. After completing his M.A., Ellis landed a position as an adjunct professor for the UMass Lowell Sociology Department. The passion and the support of the faculty of the Sociology Department inspired Ellis to pursue graduate education to become a teacher. Graduate education was always something he wanted to pursue, but he chose the University of Wisconsin because the school would match and develop his main research interests, which include social education, ethnic relations and social inequality. The department and Ellis are excited about the perspective he brings to the department. He enjoys teaching Introduction to Sociology, Race and Ethnicity and Sociology of Education.

"The faculty at the department was very supportive. They always made themselves available for their students. I loved the passion the faculty had for the field. They were especially helpful in the graduate school application process”