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Faculty Focus: Amy Armenia
Faculty Focus: Amy Armenia
Sociology Professor Amy Armenia
-story by Kaitlyn Sewell '15
For Randolph-Macon College
Professor Amy Armenia, teaching students how to
is a golden experience.
“I love watching students develop the skills to find answers to questions they have about the world,” Armenia shares. “I love my job because I want to work with—and get to know—my students.”
“Boys Don’t Cry” and Other Courses
During the 2012-2013 academic year, Armenia taught her first First-Year Experience course (
), “Boys Don’t Cry ”: Masculinity in Literature and Society, with
Professor Marisa Cull.
“Our students did qualitative interviews with men of different ages and walks of life, and we put all of those interview transcripts in an archive for the students to read,” Armenia explains. “Then they created character-driven short stories inspired by the interviews and illustrating some of the themes we studied throughout the semester. We had 10 of the students read excerpts of those stories on
.” Armenia believes the FYE program is a great first step for new Yellow Jackets. “The advantages of our FYE program are the opportunity for students to get a broader understanding of the college and their next four years, and the help of a dedicated advisor.”
Armenia also teaches Social Class and Inequality, Race and Ethnic Relations, Foundations of Sociology, and Research Methods.
“My favorite part of Research Methods is helping students conduct and present their own research, which is driven by their own questions,” Armenia shares. “They’ve done projects about public opinion on gun control, volunteerism, and discrimination towards the LGBTQ community.”
Under the guidance of Armenia,
Sean Smith ’14
is currently studying the LGBTQ community’s access to services for people in abusive intimate relationships in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Smith is analyzing the competency on the provider’s end as well as the willingness of the LGBTQ community to use the services.
“What I have discovered thus far is that rural services providers are doing more outreach, but with fewer resources—that is, their outreach is done via word of mouth and they typically do not turn anyone away,” Smith says. “In terms of suburban providers, I am discovering that they find it challenging to get individuals within the LGBTQ community to use the services or even acknowledge that Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a prevalent issue within the community.” Smith explains that, because IPV is traditionally framed as a topic solely affecting middle-class Caucasian women (male-on-female abuse), members of the LGBTQ community are typically excluded from the spectrum of victims.
“Professor Armenia makes some of the most complex topics simple to understand in a variety of situations,” Smith says. “I tended to think on a grand scale in terms of research ideas, but Professor Armenia was quick to reel me back in and patiently help me dissect issues that are current and related to my areas of interest. In addition to molding students into future competent researchers, she is one of Randolph-Macon’s most valuable researchers and resources in social science education. She is invested in ensuring that her students are always operating beyond what they believe they are capable of.”
Armenia takes advantage of the opportunity to work with faculty from neighboring institutions. “I recently finished an edited volume titled
Caring on the Clock
, with two of my collaborators. Paid-care work is an incredibly important topic, but few people have looked at these workers as one group, to understand the challenges they face—poor pay and terrible working conditions—and what the consequences of these challenges are for the workers and those they care for,” she explains. “Mignon Duffy (University of Massachusetts) and Clare Stacey (Kent State University) are longtime colleagues whom I’ve known for several years through sociology conferences. We were graduate students at the same time, doing dissertations on paid caregivers.”
Outside the Classroom
In her spare time, Armenia enjoys drawing and painting, and participating in the Monument 10K race every year. She also has a three-year-old daughter who keeps her on her toes.
Armenia joined the R-MC faculty in 2008 and received the
Thomas Branch Award for Excellence in Teaching
in 2012. Previously, she taught at University of Massachusetts Amherst, Rollins College, and Hofstra University. She earned her B.S., M.A., and Ph.D. at University of Massachusetts Amherst.
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