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Sociology Department sparked alumnus’ undergraduate career

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For 22-year-old Isaac Sanders, the start of his undergraduate career as a student-athlete was a rough patch. His journey at The University of Tulsa began with a scholarship offer from the track and field program.

“I did not know what to expect when it came to being a student-athlete, being a college student and transitioning away from home for the first time,” Sanders said.  “After my first semester, I felt lost. I was so stressed about beginning my season and juggling school while traveling to meets.”

Isaac

Sanders with a fellow KU graduate student

The pivotal moment of his undergraduate career happened when he declared his sociology major and enrolled in a sociological imagination class with Professor Jean Blocker. Sociological imagination “is the willingness and ability to look at the connection between who we are as individuals and the larger historical, social and cultural forces that shape our lives,” Blocker explained.

The course helped Sanders envision his role within a larger social context. He gained confidence as a student and athlete. Attracted to social work, Sanders developed his life motto: “I will not sit at a table that is not accessible for all. And I take it seriously.”

“TU’s Sociology Department was a bright light that I walked toward that never disappointed,” he said.  “I am thankful every day I chose the path I did with the great people who helped me along the way.”

Blocker reminded him that sociology “is not just about life in college, it is about life.”

Sanders social justice interest expands past his undergraduate career. As a self-described social justice warrior, Sanders is attending The University of Kansas to pursue a master’s degree in social work with a macro concentration.

“I am using every skill that my undergraduate experience has given me to excel in the program,” he said. “The synthesizing and critical consciousness that I acquired at TU has given me the ability to be at the top of my class. I think of every single person in TU’s Sociology Department every time I see ‘great synthesizing work’ on my essays. I was pushed and challenged so well that graduate school feels manageable.”