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Stefanie Wellons

Graduate Student    
Education

M.A. in Sociology, University of Notre Dame
B.A. (dual) in Sociology, Psychology, Georgia State University

Specializations

Ethnicity, Gender, Education, Racism, Identity

Biography

If reality originates in the mind, how do thoughts become felt and experienced collectively across time and space? How do ideas become real(ities) especially in the context of domination? These questions, coupled with my lived experience as a Black Woman, motivate my research on the complex interplay between identity, culture, and power in (re)producing and contesting racist-sexist structures particularly observed in education and penal institutions. My work therefore draws on various, yet interconnected, subfields and theories like: sociology of knowledge, cognitive sociology, social networks, social psychology, and critical theory. I am currently working on a paper where I use critical race theory to investigate the role of schools in forming raced disproportionality in school discipline.

Prior to joining GSU, I worked, for three years, as Lead Sociology Instructor at Aiken Technical College. My teaching philosophy is simply that “I learn to teach; and I teach to learn. To do one without the other is to do neither at all.” I am especially fascinated with integrating African-centered pedagogies and critically reflexive action research to build and sustain inclusive, equitable learning communities for both students and teachers.

In 2014, I earned a Master’s degree in Sociology with a specialization in education from the University of Notre Dame, where I primarily focused on immigration, ethnic identity, and the school-to-prison pipeline. Graduating magna cum laude in 2010, I obtained dual Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Psychology from Georgia State University, while concurrently completing both the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program and University Honors Program.

As a first-generation college graduate and previous first-time teacher, I know firsthand the importance of mentorship and social support for academic success. To uplift, I assist GSU’s Black Student Achievement events and the annual SAEOPP/McNair conference. I also serve on the SAGE Award Committee for the American Sociological Association’s Section on Teaching and Learning, which professionally develops committed scholar-teachers in sociology.

When not reading, writing, and volunteering, you can find me dreaming at nature parks, working out, or trying new vegan dishes.