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EIU Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Criminology

Department of Sociology & Anthropology at EIU Annual Newsletter - Fall 2017

Welcome from the Chair    Department News     Faculty Spotlight   
Student Organizations     Scholarships     Alumni Spotlight   
Make a Gift/Alumni Contact Information  PDF Version

Welcome from the Chair

Dear Friends of Sociology and Anthropology at EIU:

Greetings and welcome to our first annual Department Newsletter in an online format. I am happy to share with you some of the latest news from the Sociology and Anthropology Department.

One of the most exciting things happening this year is our celebration of the 50th Darren Hendricksonanniversary of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at EIU. Yes, our Department has now been around for 50 years! As part of our year-long celebration we hosted a reception in Blair Hall on the Saturday morning of Homecoming Weekend. It was a great opportunity to reconnect and reminisce. For those of you that were unable to join us during Homecoming weekend please be on the lookout for an announcement about an event in the spring on our Facebook page and in your email inbox.

Faculty in the Department have also been busy over the last two years developing and refining our undergraduate programs. Most notably, I am pleased to share with you that we now offer a B.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice alongside our B.A. in Sociology and our interdisciplinary minor in Anthropology. This new program in Criminology and Criminal Justice is already proving popular among both current and prospective students.

Not surprisingly, our current students continue to do amazing things, both inside and outside the classroom. Whether participating in internships, student-run organizations, study abroad, conducting research with faculty, or attending professional conferences, our students continue to make the most of their undergraduate education experience here at EIU. You can read more updates about some of our students, faculty, alumni, and the Department in the pages that follow.

It is always a pleasure to hear about the experiences and accomplishments of our alumni and friends, so please consider sending an update of what you've been up to since leaving EIU to or contact me personally at: Also, you can connect with the Department on Facebook. Finally, if there is anything we can do to help you please let us know.

Very best regards,

Darren Hendrickson, Associate Professor and Chair

Department News

50th Anniversary of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Yes, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology is 50 years old! While Sociology courses have been offered at EIU since the early 1960's, the actual Department of Sociology and Anthropology was created in 1967. Of course a lot has changed in 50 years. Did you know that the department offered a graduate degree in Sociology until 1985? Do Professor Holly with EIUi Alumni at the 50th Anniversary Receptionyou remember when the department was located in Coleman Hall? Were you on campus during the Blair Hall fire? There have certainly been a variety of changes-staffing, curriculum and even office locations-over the last 50 years but one thing that has not changed, and will not change, is our commitment to student success.

Coinciding with Homecoming Weekend earlier this year the department invited alumni, Dr. Gary Foster, Emertus Faculty, and Phillip "P.J." Thompson, Alum & member of the EIU Board of Trustees, at the 50th Anniversary Receptionemeritus faculty, and friends of the Department to join us to celebrate our 50th anniversary. It was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect and share stories of our times at EIU. For those of you that were unable to join us during Homecoming Weekend, good news, we are planning another celebratory event in the spring. Specific details about our spring event-date, time, location-will be forthcoming.

As part of our Anniversary celebration we are creating at "timeline project" that will highlight the best memories that you, our esteemed alumni, have of the department. We would very much like you to contribute memories to our timeline project. Please take a moment and submit your name, years of attendance at EIU, and favorite memories to the timeline project

Finally, in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology please consider making a financial donation to the department. How about $50 for our 50th? Your donation can be used to fund department projects that allow us to continue delivering a high quality educational experience to our students, support student research opportunities and travel to professional conferences, and purchase equipment to maintain state of the art classroom and lab technology. Donations to the Sociology and Anthropology Department can be made online. For those that would like to make a donation by mail a donor card is included in the PDF version of this newsletter.


New B.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology is excited to announce that beginning in the fall of 2017 we now offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Developed in response to student demand, this new degree is interdisciplinary, drawing on coursework and expertise in fields including: Criminology, Sociology, Political Science, and Philosophy. The program, which is already experiencing strong enrollment, provides a student-centered curriculum that enables students to think critically about the causes and consequences of crim and criminal behavior. More details about the Criminology and Criminal Justice degree are available on the website. 

Faculty Spotlight

Donald Holly, Ph. D.

This summer Professor Don Holly co-directed the excavation of a nearly six thousand year oldProfessor Holly digging a test pit while a visitor looks on, 2017 archaeological site on the island of Newfoundland, Canada. He was accompanied by current EIU student and Anthropology minor Charles Auteberry. This summer's excavation was the second year of a three-year collaborative research project with the University of Albany, funded by the National Science Foundation.

The project aims to understand the people who first settled the island after the retreat of glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age. Archaeologists call these people the Maritime Archaic, with a nod to the fact that they depended primarily on the sea for their livelihood; but relatively little else is known about them. Last summer the team made the remarkable discovery of a large Maritime Archaic campsite in the eastern Charles Auteberry (front & center)portion of the island. Excavations at the site since then have unearthed a stunning array of artifacts, including bayonets, axes, knives, scrapes, various other tools, and charcoal which suggest that this is one of the oldest known archaeological sites on the entire island of Newfoundland.

After two years of intensive excavations, it is now time to take a long close look at what was found. To that end, Professor Holly will spend the coming summer with his colleague cataloging and studying the artifacts. Soon after, they hope to share the results of this spectacular discovery with the broader archaeological community and public.


Jennifer Stevens, Ph. D.

Dr. Jennifer Stevens joined Eastern Illinois University's Department of Sociology and Jennifer Stevens, Ph. D.Anthropology in August 2015. Dr. Stevens completed her doctorate in sociology with a concentration in law and society at Purdue University. Her research focuses primarily on pre-trial release and the effects of incarceration on families. While completing her disseration, Dr. Stevens spent numerous hours observing pre-trial proceedings in local courts, often having to "go to jail" to observe these hearings. Dr. Stevens was able to observe how family members interacted with the court and began to expand her research to include the experiences of family members in the criminal justice system as well.

Dr. Stevens is excited to be a part of the new Criminology and Criminal Justice major at Eastern. She teaches courses in Introductory Criminology, Corrections, and is developing a new course in Crime and Media for Spring 2018. Dr. Stevens enjoys teaching students through examining "real-world" crime cases and looks forward to developing more courses in the future. In her spare time, Dr. Stevens likes to cheer on the Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers, travel, and watch as many crime-based TV shows as possible. 

Student Organizations

Alpha Kappa Delta

The 2016-2017 academic year was an exciting year for the EIU AKD chapter Eta. We welcomed 12 new members, invited guest speakers, engaged in scholarship and community service, and we were named AKD Chapter of the Year.

AKD Members at the Sociology/Anthropology Honors ReceptionOur chapter has been very active on campus and in the surrounding community. Our members donated clothes to people who lost everything in multiple devastating tornadoes in Southern Illinois. Some members volunteered as hotline counselors for SACIS (Sexual Assault Counseling and Information Service). We held a Scentsy fundraiser and a Halloween movie night to benefit a local domestic violence shelter and also sponsored Red Cross blood drives. All of the campus and community service activities and extensive volunteer hours of the AKD members resulted in well over 200 hours of cumulative volunteer service.

We capped off the successful 2016-2017 academic year being named the AKD Chapter of the Year. This award speaks to the dedication and excellence of our members, not just this year, but for previous years as well.


Criminal Justice Club 

EIU Criminal Justice Club members at the Federal Prison in Terre Haute, IndianaThe fundamental mission of the Criminal Justice Club is to enable students to belong to an organization which will stimulate high academic expectation, person achievement, and thoughtful engagement on the campus and in the community. Students from many academic disciplines with an interest in criminal justice contribute to the diversity of the organization.

Each year the Criminal Justice Club invites professionals from many different areas of criminal justice to discuss aspects of their professional fields with EIU students. In the past, guest speakers have included probation officers, chiefs of police, lawyers, detectives, and even a canine demonstration! One of the exciting activities the club participated in last semester was a comprehensive tour of the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. Students were given extraordinary access to the places where inmates live and work. In addition, the students met with administration, mental health professionals and correctional officers who thoroughly discussed their positions and answered questions from students.  



William G. Wood Award

Each year the Department of Sociology and Anthropology formally recognizes a graduating senior who exemplifies academic excellence and a commitment to service with the William G. Wood Award. The 2017 Wood Award Recipient, Larissa Kmetz, is a spring 2017 graduate of Eastern Illinois University with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Community Larissa Kmetz, 2017 William G. Wood Award winner with Dr. Michael Gillespie (left) and Dr. Darren Hendrickson, Department Chair (right)Health. Coming to EIU from Peru, Illinois, Larissa was very active on and off campus, for example she served as the Coordinator of the Charleston Food Pantry through the EIU Office of Civil Engagement and Volunteerism, represented the Department of Sociology and Anthropology on the College of Sciences Student Advisory Board, and she was a member of Alpha Kappa Delta. Additionally, she spent the summer of 2016 as a research fellow at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln conducting research on minority health disparities and she completed an internship during her senior year with the Coles County Health Department.

As a graduating senior, on top of receiving the Wood Award, Larissa was one of twenty-five university-wide recipients of the EIU Alumni Association Distinguished Senior Award. Larissa is currently a first year graduate student at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA working towards a Master's in Public Health degree with a concentration in community health and prevention. After completing this program, she hopes to begin a career in public health working on socioeconomic health disparties.

Richard and Kathy Hummel Scholarship

Cassidy Webb, 2017 Recipient of the Richard and Kathy Hummel Scholarship
The 2017 recipient of the Richard and Kathy Hummel Scholarship is Cassidy Webb. From Marshall, Illinois, Cassidy is earning a double degree in Sociology and Psychology, with a minor in Anthropology. Her favorite course thus far has been Gender Roles and Social Change with Dr. Soboroff, which has also influenced her to pursue a graduate degree in social psychology. Cassidy is currently studying abroad at Cardiff Bay in South Wales through EIU's study abroad program.




Stan, Dee, and Meagan Braden Scholarship

Ariana Romero, from Chicago, Illinois, is the 2017 recipient of the Stan, Dee, and MeaganAriana Romero, 2017 Recipient of the Stan, Dee, and Meagan Braden Scholarship Braden Scholarship. A double major in Sociology and Psychology, she just completed a study abroad program in Australia to complement her studies at EIU. Ariana's favorite course thus far has been Introductory Sociology because it helped everything come together. Originally enrolling at EIU as a Psychology student, after her Introductory course with Dr. Woodley, she was hooked on sociology. After graduation, Ariana plans on attending graduate school and pursing a career as a child psychologist.





Sociology and Anthropology Alumni Scholarship

Lauren Eberle is a senior Sociology major from Crystal Lake, Illinois and the Lauren Eberle, 2017 Recipient of the Sociology and Anthropology Alumni Scholarship2017 recipient of the Sociology and Anthropology Alumni Scholarship. Her favorite classes have been Gender Roles and Social Change, Social Stratification, and Sociological Theory. Currently, Lauren is working on an honors undergraduate thesis that focuses on survivors of domestic violence, which she plans to complete before graduating in the spring of 2018. She is interested in pursuing a career as a legal advocate for survivor of domestic violence.



Robert and Luz M. Whittenbarger Scholarship

Carlos Collins, 2017 Recipient of the Robert and Luz M. Whittenbarger Scholarship
Carlos Collins is a Sociology major from Chicago, Illinois and the recipient of the 2017 Robert and Luz M. Whittenbarger Scholarship. Carlos's favorite class thus far has been Social Stratification with Dr. Deerman, commenting how this course forced him to think critically and challenged him to put forward his best effort. Carlos aspires to a career in social research and public service educating policy-makers and the legislative process. Notably, as an intern, he has completed two independent ethnographic projects ventured around black inner-city youth, which has sparked his interests to conduct research and attend graduate school.




Alumni Spotlight

Kyle Breen: The Sociological Study of Disasters

Kyle Breen, from Bloomington, Illinois, graduated from Eastern Illinois University in the spring of 2015 with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. While at EIU Kyle developed a passion for sociology, particularly the sociology of education. During his junior and senior years Kyle participated in the departmental honors program which led to him completing an undergraduate thesis, analyzing the relationship between student proficiency scores and food programs in schools. Kyle was able to present his undergraduate thesis Kyle Breen (left) with EIU professor Dr. Bill Lovekamp (center) and current LSU professor and advisor Dr. Michelle Meyer (right) at the Natural Hazards Workshop in Boulder, Colorado, July 2017research at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research in Spokane, Washington in 2015. After graduating from EIU Kyle returned to Bloomington, Illinois where he was employed doing social work for a non-profit organization. However, in 2016 Kyle decided to continue his education and accepted an offer to enroll in the Ph. D. Program in Sociology at Louisiana State University (LSU) in the fall of 2016.

At LSU Kyle's research interests shifted from an exclusive focus on the sociology of education to the intersection of education and the sociological study of disasters. Working as a graduate research assistant for Dr. Michelle Meyer, who has expertise in the sociological study of disasters, Kyle has begun a project examining college student reactions following the Louisiana flood in 2016. As a graduate research assistant Kyle has also had the opportunity to work in both the Department of Sociology and the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute (SDMI) at LSU. Kyle's work with the SDMI has included a report on hurricane evacuation behavior in Southeast Louisiana, which was submitted to the government and presented at the Natural Hazards Workshop in Boulder, Colorado, and a project looking at reentry for individuals following hurricanes. He also recently helped draft a grant proposal to conduct qualitative research on the "Cajun Navy," a volunteer organization of private boat owners that assists with search and rescue efforts following disasters. Finally, Kyle continues to be active in the sport of Ultimate Frisbee. Having played on the collegiate teams at both EIU and LSU, Kyle is now a member of the coaching staffs at LSU and Catholic High School for Baton Rouge (the 2017 National Championship Team).

Make a Gift

Please help continue the tradition of distinguished teaching, learning, research, and service in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology by making a gift to support students and faculty. In these challenging fiscal times in the state of Illinois your financial contribution plays a critical role in helping ensure that students have the best educational experience possible. We are very grateful to our friends and donors for their generosity.

You can make your donation to the Department of Sociology and Anthropology online or mail your donation along with the donor card in the PDF version of the newsletter.

Alumni Contact Information

We would very much like to know what our alumni are up to. Please send us an email to and update us about how you are, where you are, your current position, and any other news you would like to share.

Alternatively, you can send us an update to the following address:
     Department of Sociology and Anthropology
     Eastern Illinois University
     600 Lincoln Avenue
     Charleston, Illinois  61920

Our hope is to highlight many of the great things that you, our esteemed alumni, are doing in future newsletter.







Related Pages

Contact Information

Eastern Illinois University
Department of Sociology/Anthropology

Blair 3170
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-3123

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