I came to Mary Baldwin as a transfer student from Virginia Commonwealth University. I needed a smaller school and smaller classes for my specific learning style. Hence, I transferred to Mary Baldwin College so that I could attend smaller classes and so I could have the personal attention that I needed and feel engaged and challenged at the same time.

From the very beginning MBC offered me, as well as others, a plethora of leadership opportunities as well as learning engagements. The campus was small enough so that I really felt as if I knew most people; the campus was like a family away from home. During my three years at MBC, I was very active with not only a full class load and a part-time job, but with extra curricular activities as well. I played on the soccer team for two years, was an R.A. my junior year, and sat on the Honor Council my senior year.

When I began classes at MBC, I knew that I had an interest in human interaction, but I had a hard time defining what it was that I wanted to study. I dabbled in biology and did some coursework in English, but to no avail. However, I took one sociology class, Death and Dying, and I was sold. I knew exactly where I wanted to be. Thus, I declared my major in sociology.

The sociology department was amazing. I felt like I was truly supported in my major and I knew that if I didn’t understand something or I needed extra help, there was always a sociology faculty member with their door open. This is what I loved the most about the department; the openness and availability. Also, the vast knowledge in different areas that each of the faculty employed was far more than I could ever imagine. In addition, the faculty also embraced diversity in every sense. This meant a lot to me as a student.

When looking ahead toward graduation, my only goal was to graduate! My plans did not include graduate school in the least. However, my mind quickly changed as I talked to the sociology faculty members more and more. They built my self-esteem as a student and made me realize that I could make it into graduate school and that I would succeed. After my long awaited graduation in May of 2006, I went on to attend Virginia Commonwealth University’s nationally ranked School of Social Work master’s program. There, I am focusing my study on health disparities among minorities in lower socioeconomic statuses. I will graduate this coming May 2007 with a master’s of social work (MSW) as well as a public administration certificate in non-profit management. After my education is complete, I would like to open up a non-profit health clinic that provides health care to minorities in poverty with equal standards of care. As I doubted myself in my ability to succeed in a master’s program, I look back and laugh because now I’m in the process of applying to PhD programs nationwide.

Truly, it is amazing what academic coaching and support can do for one student. I believe I am a prime example.

Ayden Petrone ’06

My name is Tiffani Jeffries and I graduated from Mary Baldwin College in the spring of 2006. I am currently working at CSR Incorporated (Consulting Services and Research Incorporated) in Arlington, Virginia as a research assistant. I was able to obtain this position because of my background in sociology, specifically because I took Social Science Statistics and Research Methods. I used my experience with statistical packages such as SPSS as leverage on my resume and during my interview process. I loved the sociology department because the study of people encompasses many of my immediate interests in health care, social justice, and civic involvement. I think that a major or minor in sociology is useful in any career path because it increases your ability to understand people and society.

Tiffani Jeffries ’06