AUCA sociology alumni Marina Khonina career story

AUCA sociology alumni Marina Khonina career story

April 10, 2020


-I started my Bachelor’s degree at AUCA in 2005. By then, I had already spent several years in the workforce, and because I had been working in writing and translation, I had initially thought of doing a degree in journalism. When I spoke with AUCA Admissions, however, they suggested that I consider sociology. I met with several instructors from the Sociology Department and made my decision on the spot. I am still not sure what prompted the admissions officer to make that suggestion, but I was very happy with my choice of major, both during my years at AUCA and ever since. 

-While studying at AUCA and after graduating, I worked as a conference interpreter with international organizations. It might seem at first glance that interpreting and sociology are unrelated. However, in my work, I often had to draw on the concepts that we discussed in class and even completed several academic translations in the social sciences. After graduating, I moved to Istanbul, Turkey, where I worked as a research assistant, as well as an interpreter and translator and, later, as a community manager with an international humanitarian non-profit. In that role, understanding group dynamics, as well as larger social issues, like global inequalities, was tremendously important. Being able to design surveys and conduct focus groups were some of the skills that helped ensure that the communities I worked with were able to contribute to decision-making in the organization. More generally, the skills of critical thinking and academic reasoning that I started developing at AUCA were crucial to both my professional development and my growth as an individual. 

-I always loved learning and research, and I knew that I would eventually want to pursue a graduate degree. Last year, I moved to Vancouver, Canada to begin an MA in sociology at Simon Fraser University. I have a deep interest in sports, and in my research I am exploring how social and cultural factors might shape athletes’ experiences. As someone who practices a sport, I have a lot of questions about the experiences of female-identified athletes, and I think that sociology offers great tools to try to answer these questions. 

-One of the highlights of the past year was working as a teaching assistant in an introductory sociology course with undergraduate students from very diverse backgrounds. Exploring sociology with them was a great experience and reminded me of the time when I, myself, was taking my first steps in the social sciences.

-To those undergraduates who are considering taking a sociology course, I would strongly encourage them to take the leap. At the very least, you will discover a new lens through which to view the world, and if you decide to major in sociology, it is a field that can offer so many varied opportunities! 

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