College Papers

Immigration

In the article, America’s Immigration Policy Fiasco: Learning from Past Mistakes, Dr. Douglas Massey provides an overview of the history of Latin-American immigration policy, particularly in regards to Mexico, over the last half-century beginning with policy changes in the sixties.

The policy changes were set into motion by the civil rights movement of the period which created a popular movement towards stamping out racism, particularly within government institutions.  While these changes were in many ways beneficial to Asians, Africans, and Eastern Europeans, they threw a monkey wrench into the migrational system between Mexico and the United States where many of the immigrants were temporary workers who would return to Mexico at the end of an agricultural season. The changes limited the number of legal visas that could be obtained, but it did not lessen the number of people to come over the border but rather simply served to change their status from legal to illegal.

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Being Professional

Progress

I’ve mentioned the research I’ve worked on for the last year and a half with my former advisor. Now it looks like we do have something concrete to show for it.

I wasn’t able to make it, but today my professor and our co-author presented a paper at the Alabama-Mississippi Sociological Association annual meeting. It’s my first post-graduation success.

In August I will be traveling to Philadelphia to present another paper we’ve co-written together at the annual meeting of the Society for Study of Social Problems. I will also be presiding over a session.

These feel like victories to me. It means I’m still moving forward after graduation. That the research I’ve been working on and assisting with has produced something. That even though I was a non-traditional student, I was still able to participate in opportunities similar to those that present themselves to more traditional students.

At this moment in time, I am happy with where I am. I am working in research like I had always hoped. I feel like I am making use of my education. I am still involved in the academic aspect of sociology, and working on writing and research even after graduation.

I hope things keep moving in a positive direction, that I am able to keep learning and growing as a researcher and sociologist.

College Papers

It feels like an unfinished thought

Gleitman, Gross, & Reisberg define natural selection as “the mechanism that drives biological evolution”. This mechanism is a process that takes place over generations, as organisms who were able to successfully reproduce pass on traits that helped them survive to that point. Structural traits are physical attributes like hair. One of the examples provided was in regards to sticklebacks of Lake Washington. As murky water that had provided them cover from predators began to clear, sticklebacks with heavier armor became more likely to survive predator attacks and were more likely to reproduce. After fifty years of parents passing this trait down to offspring, the more heavily armored fish became dominant in the lake. Behavioral traits are not physical but rather are things that are done by an organism like being protective of your young, such as certain species of bird in which a mother bird flies from the nest and feigns injury to draw a predator from her offspring. This is more than simply a single extremely maternal bird because the behavior is seen in many female birds across many species of bird.

Our biology plays an important role in our behavior because our hormones and nervous system play a significant role in how we react to stimulus, and damage to our brain or nervous system can have a drastic impact on our behavior. Someone with higher than normal levels of testosterone is likely to be more aggressive than other people, and therefore more prone to angry outbursts or violence. It’s important to understand how biology affects our behavior because it means we can research ways to treat behavioral abnormalities through biological means – such as attempting to raise or lower hormone levels or affect the actions of neurotransmitters to alter or control behavior.

Biology is not the end all in understanding behavior, though, as there are other aspects that can influence it such as experience and learning. When confronting a new situation someone will behave a certain way, and if they have a positive experience they are likely to behave that way again but if they have a negative experience then they may attempt a different approach if they confront a similar situation in the future. This is an area where the ability to be flexible can play an important role, because if you are unable or unwilling to alter your behavior in the face of negative results than you are unlikely to find success.

Gleitman, H., Gross, J., & Reisberg, D. (2011). Psychology. (8th ed.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

College Papers

Childhood Obesity

According to the documentary Tipping the Scales childhood obesity has become a major problem in the United States. In Arizona, the documentary states that 1 out of 4 kids is overweight. The CDC puts that number at 1 in 6 nationwide for both children and adolescents (CDC, 2015).

Personally, I do believe that parenting and parenting style are major factors in the issue of childhood obesity.

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