Ian Callahan '14

Ian Callahan, Class of 2014, Sociology major, has been selected to deliver the Student Address at this year's CHSS Convocation.  

Ian loves sociology because he loves people. “Observing them, entertaining them, studying them, or even analyzing them, I never found myself bored or uninterested,” he said. Sociology, the study of people in groups, is the foundation for a wide spectrum of careers. Education, politics, social work, and communications are four of the fields that Sociology majors find careers in.

Callahan wasn’t always a sociology major, though. He began his Montclair State University career as a musical theatre major. After two years in the program, he realized that sociology is his true passion.

“I knew I made the right decision when I took "The Sociology of Rich and Poor Nations" with Dr. Sangeeta Parashar.  We explored current events, including international affairs and global inequalities.  Every discussion was enlightening and motivating, and because of that course, I became a more informed citizen of the world.”

Callahan is part of the Honors program, where other courses also influenced his decision to change majors, too. “One of my Honors seminars, "Ways of Knowing," was very challenging and thought-provoking, and a lot of our discussions in that course featured sociological concepts,” he said.  “These ideas and perspectives on society amazed me, and my professor actually recommended that I change my major to sociology.  I took his advice, and I am so happy I did.”

When asked if any particular faculty member was especially influential on him, Ian replied, "Yes, Dr. Parashar has been an incredible mentor during my time in the Sociology department.  As I changed my major, my Honors Program advisor, Dr. Waters, recommended that I reach out to Dr. Parashar to pursue research opportunities.” He sought her as a mentor. “I enrolled in one of her courses, and since day one, we've planned research opportunities together. I was lucky enough to be recognized for our research at the Eastern Sociological Society's Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland this past February.  My poster was selected as one of five "best undergraduate posters," which was a huge honor, but I couldn't have done it without Dr. Parashar!"

Throughout Ian’s educational journey, Dr. Parashar continued to be a strong influence. “She has brought so much joy and inspiration to my education-- I could never thank her enough,” he said.

Callahan graduates in May 2014. He knows he is not finished with his education yet and plans to continue studying sociology, possibly up to the doctorate level. “I am interested in qualitative research, particularly ethnographic studies,” he said. He hopes his post-graduate education brings him overseas, where he can experience sociology alive in various cultures around the world. One of the ways he plans to attain his experience is working abroad next year.

“I've also applied to teach English abroad in Spain during the upcoming academic year, in an effort to try out teaching and gain a cultural experience simultaneously.”

For the long term, Callahan sees himself working in academia.

When he changed majors, Ian was able to hold onto enough musical theatre credits to graduate with a minor from the program. Working in the arts complemented his sociology work well because the arts are such an important pillar of human civilization.

“It is so important for people to connect and exchange knowledge for the sake of society as a whole.  Without that, we can't develop as humans,” he said. “I want to be a part of that exchange, and I want to incorporate all of my passions into a career that will achieve this goal.”