Stephanie Gangemi ‘06

Stephanie Gangemi ‘06

Sociology concentration: Criminology

Minor: Gender Studies

Additional Education: MSW at Columbia University; currently enrolled in PhD program in Social Work at Smith College

Jobs after Wagner College (selection): Correctional Social Worker at Riker's Island; Mental Health Director at El Paso County Sheriff's Office in Colorado Springs; Private Psychotherapy Practice

Current job: PhD student in Social Work (research example: “Are They Mental Health or Behavioral?” Toward Object Relations Translation for Corrections Officers. (2018 Seidenberg Paper Winner); adjunct professor; Forensic Mental Health Consultant

Why did you decide to major in Sociology? I initially started Wagner as a music major but after my first sociology class with Dr. Esser, I knew that I needed to switch. Sociology quickly taught me that studying people's patterns, norms, values and problems is the most fascinating, important and provocative work. Once I began to think more critically about our social world and things like race, gender, inequality, and politics, I couldn't stop thinking and haven't stopped since my first sociology class in Fall 2002.

How has your Sociology degree (what you learned in your classes, readings, assignments, etc.) helped you in your job (and personal life)? Earning my sociology degree prepared me to think about so many disciplines and perspectives in the world to include psychology, philosophy, public health, economics, history, the arts and more. In particular, studying sociology at Wagner taught me that it is not enough to just think about these things but that we must act and through my internships, I learned that I had the skills and energy to do so.

What is your fondest memory of a Sociology class? One of my fondest memories of a sociology class was listening to Dr. Lybrand talk about working in correctional facilities with youth. He made something that seemed frightening and impossible at the time seem not just feasible but enjoyable and inspired me to get outside my comfort zone to see how much I could help.

Do you have any tips for current Wagner (Sociology) students? My advice is to try out new internships, volunteer opportunities and jobs that push yourself beyond what you believe you can do. I started Wagner thinking I was going to play the violin as a career. If someone would have told me in my first semester that I would go on to spend ten years as a therapist in jails, I would never have believed them. Some days I still don't believe it. Connect with professors whose work you respect, they want to support your learning and they believe in how far you can go. You may be just one person but you can make a difference beyond your wildest dreams!