After Barnard

What do Sociology Majors do?

Amalia Holub in 2010, Class of 2006

HolubSince January 2010, I have been working in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the New York-based non-profit Institute for Transportation & Development Policy. ITDP works around the world to promote environmentally sustainable and socially equitable transportation. My work specifically entails collaboration with the Buenos Aires city government on bicycle promotion and infrastructure, Bus Rapid Transit development, and livable streets initiatives. I also write for and oversee our local blog, Transeúnte Argentina, which covers mobility and public space issues. I plan to return to school for a Master's degree in Urban Planning in the near future. My sociology education from Barnard shapes my approach to all that I do, from thinking about the social impacts of transportation policy to my cultural assimilation in the wonderful city of Buenos Aires.


Nicole Leavenworth in 2010, Class of 2006

LeavenworthOver the last four years, I have worked in the Internet marketing industry as the Senior Manager of Internet Research.  My undergraduate degree in sociology gave me the presentation, analytical and writing skills that enabled me to grow the research division and facilitate the retention and acquisition of clients.

However, I recently felt a need to change careers, and I am currently enrolled in the Masters of Gastronomy program at Boston University. Gastronomy is not only the appreciation and understanding of the preparation and consumption of foods, but it is the study of the social and cultural relationship between food and the human experience.  In a way, I never forgot my senior thesis as a sociology major, A Sociological Investigation Into The Restaurant Industry – A Look At The Chef, Designer and Consumer.  I am in the process of merging my knowledge of the Internet marketing field with sociology and gastronomy to enter a career in the culinary industry.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, suggestions, or thoughts:


Leda Ward in 2010, Class of 2009

Leda WardLeda is currently working as a birth doula.  She attends births in hospitals, birth centers, and even tiny New York City apartments.  In addition to working with women privately, she serves low-income women through a government-funded program called Healthy Start Brooklyn.  She decided to do this work after learning all about birth in the fantastic Sociology of Health and Illness class (her favorite Barnard class to this day) and through her thesis research on midwifery.

When she is not attending births, Leda volunteers with The Doula Project, through which she provides doula services to women choosing abortion.  She also works part-time at Metro Minis, an Attachment Parenting oriented baby boutique, where she co-moderates a weekly breastfeeding support group.  


Yael Hammerman in 2010

I am currently in Rabbinical School at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS - on 122nd Street and Broadway – I haven’t managed to leave the Barnard ‘hood quite yet). Given the fact that the rabbinate is my “family business” (full disclosure: my father and brother are rabbis, and my husband is also a rabbinical student), becoming a rabbi may have seemed like the obvious, default choice. However, I struggled with deciding to become a rabbi, and my vision of what the rabbinate will be for me is different from their visions. Moreover, I am a woman, and my father, brother and husband clearly are not.

I therefore decided to look beyond my inner circle for inspiration and mentors. In this pursuit I wrote my Barnard Sociology undergraduate senior thesis about female rabbis and ministers. Academically, my thesis was a meaningful way to culminate my undergraduate studies at both Barnard and JTS (where I did the Double Degree program). Sociologically, the topic had not previously been studied, and I wanted to add new knowledge to the field. Personally, I wanted to use my academic studies as a tool to find female rabbinic role models to see if I would be motivated by their work to follow my own rabbinic path.

My thesis research gave me the invaluable opportunity to speak honestly and intimately with a diverse group of inspirational women rabbis who are challenging and expanding the boundaries of the rabbinate. Their ground-breaking work and diverse professional portfolios encouraged me to pursue the rabbinate myself, as they showed me that there are many ways of being a 21st century rabbi, and more women are needed for this sacred work. I love my Rabbinical studies so far and am thankful that my Sociology Thesis research helped point me in this direction.


Lyz Crane in 2010, Class of 2005

Lyz CraneI came to Barnard with dreams of a double major in psychology and music studies hoping to understand how music can affect individual development. I left Barnard with much loftier goals in 2005 as an urban studies major with a concentration in sociology.  The sociology department gave me the language I needed to describe how I saw the world--as a series of interconnected systems--while urban studies gave me the playing field on which I wanted to apply my understanding of these systems, i.e. place-based change.  I realized I could find ways to use assets like arts and culture to help develop entire communities instead of just individuals.

For five years after graduation I worked at an organization called Partners for Livable Communities in Washington, DC ,where my focus was on arts and culture as a community building and economic development force, community engagement, neighborhood and regional community development, and more.  Lessons from various Barnard classes on equity and the complexity of social systems and aspirations helped inform all of this work.  I had some amazing opportunities while at Partners to travel and speak internationally, write and publish reports, and build my professional network.  In 2010, I left DC and returned to NYC to pursue a Master of Public and Nonprofit Administration and Policy at the NYU Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.  In the future, I expect to apply this degree in the public, nonprofit, or philanthropic sector on cultivating quality of life through cross-sector initiatives.


Justine Lai in 2010, Class of 2009

LaiI am currently working as the Clinic and Research Coordinator at Mount Sinai Hospital's Eating and Weight Disorders Program. In addition to clinic administration, I coordinate studies on two opposite ends of the spectrum - men who use anabolic steroids and women with eating disorders. At Barnard, I was a double-major in psychology and sociology. I had always planned on majoring in psychology, and decided by my sophomore year that I wanted to be a clinical psychologist. However, I fell into Sociology by accident - I took an intro class my freshman year and found it incredibly interesting, and just kept going from there. I'm endlessly thankful I made the decision to major in Sociology - I loved the intimacy of the department, that I had flexibility to take classes at both Barnard and Columbia, the emphasis on seminars, and the fact that I knew or was familiar to most of the professors. And now, a year post-graduation, I've actually decided to switch career paths from psychology to a public/community health, a decision partly inspired by my volunteer work in college, but also by my Barnard sociology coursework. I'm also really grateful that I had the experience of writing my thesis, as taxing as it was, as the experience doing interviews and qualitative analysis will be invaluable in my future work. So ironically, while when at school I thought that my sociology major was "just for fun," while psychology was the degree that actually reflected my future path, I'm finding it to be quite the opposite. But I don't think that I would have reached this decision if I hadn't had such a great experience with my sociology professors and classes.


Aleen Tovmasian in 2010, Class of 2009

TovmasianAfter working in digital advertising throughout my tenure at Barnard, I was offered a position full-time for post-graduation. Prior to accepting the associate planner role at the boutique digital advertising agency, I set my stipulations for the contract: a summer off to explore my roots. Consistent with the theme of my thesis, immigrant communities and the development of a collective identity, I explored the Middle East and post-Soviet Armenia. After four months of gallivanting, volunteering, working, and seeing sights, I returned more than prepared to settle back into life in New York. A few months shy of my one-year in the working world, I was offered a new position at a significantly larger agency called PHD working in pharmaceutical advertising. Who knows where I'll end up next, but hopefully it'll be back in school learning!


Zöe Lewin in 2010, Class of 2009

zoe lewinIn addition to majoring in sociology while I was at Barnard, I was also in the Education Program and received my initial teaching certification in grades 1-6. After graduating from Barnard in ’09, I got a job working as an Associate Teacher at The School at Columbia University. It’s a two-year position, and last year I was a 3rd grade associate teacher and this year I am kindergarten associate.  This past summer I started working towards a Master’s degree at Teachers College to be a literacy specialist, and I am now taking classes part-time.  My plan is to find a position working as a lead classroom teacher next year.

Majoring in sociology was really valuable for me, and I think it paired nicely with my study of education.  The Barnard Education Program, in particular, focuses heavily on education theory and teaching for social justice, so there was a lot of overlap. I found the professors in the sociology department to be incredibly helpful in providing me with the freedom and support to explore and research areas of sociology that are particular to my interests.  My background in sociology has helped shape my views of education as well as my current teaching practices.