Alumni share career journey, advice with students


The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Anthropology and Sociology hosted the Alumni Networking Panel on Nov. 11.

The department celebrated its 40th year at USM and organized two seminars and the panel discussion to mark its anniversary.

Chair of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology Ann Marie Kinnel opened the program with a welcome speech. She said she was grateful to welcome past and present students to the university.

“This is the first big event and, hopefully, not the last where we welcome our alumni after homecoming and allow them to share their experiences with our students,” Kinnel said. “I and all our faculty members are happy to celebrate the 40th year at the university.”

The panel consisted of 16 alumni, and current undergraduate and graduate students were encouraged to engage in the panel discussion. The panel introduced itself and explained its journey from student life at USM to each person’s most recent career position.

The panel included alumni Flint Brent, Sam Butz, Kaitlyn Hall, Jennifer Hotzman, Rita McCarty and others. Most of the alumni thanked the faculty members for their guidance and suggestions and gave special thanks to anthropology and sociology professor Edwin Jackson, who has served the department since 1987.

Jackson said he would motivate his students by telling them to always be ready for an opportunity, to take it and apply knowledge to their fields.

“The event was successful to meet its target of welcoming our past students and allowing them to share their ideas for our present students,” Jackson said. “[We want them to] get ideas about their career and be mentally prepared for their goals. It is the proudest moment in teaching to see our students succeed in their designated field.”

The students asked the panel about their careers, ways to follow them and job seeking tips for after graduation. Junior biology major Louise Berryhill said she thought the panel was informative and learned about the diversity of careers.

“I did not know how diverse the sociology and anthropology field was,” Berryhill said. “I wouldn’t have known the diversity of this field if I hadn’t attended the discussion event.”

Kinnel said the department will organize other events in the spring semester.

“I am thankful to the alumni for accepting our invitations and supporting us,” Kinnel said. “Their words are really valuable and inspire our students for their future plans.”