Alumni from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology have forged exciting paths to success.
“Our department faculty members are proud to have witnessed the growth of our undergraduate and graduate students throughout our various programs,” said Roberta Villalón, Ph.D., Professor and Chair. “Our students have succeeded in becoming professionals in the public, private and third sector as well as scholars pursuing and completing doctoral programs into professorship positions. The breadth and depth of our programs together with the dedication of our faculty in mentoring all of our students, ensures their success in discovering and then, reaching their personal, academic and professional goals. Noah and Julie: Congratulations! You're joining a distinguished group of successful alumni!”
Though he once intended to attend medical school, Noah Powers ‘19C found his own path to success at St. John’s. After taking an introductory Anthropology course in his first year, Noah realized it was a good fit for him.
“The technical aspects of medicine weren’t what I was looking for,” he said. “With anthropology, you can study everything, including science, history, language, and religion.”
He elected the combined degree program in Anthropology and Business Administration with the goal of joining a consulting firm that uses social sciences to improve how companies serve their clients. For summer 2019, Noah was awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship with New Visions for Public Schools, an organization that designs, creates, and sustains charter schools throughout New York City. In his role, Noah supports the policy unit in qualitative and quantitative research to develop programs, apply best practices, and assist in organizational projects.
Truly a Renaissance man, Noah elected minors in International Studies and the Philosophy of Science while an undergraduate at St. John’s. He finds his M.B.A. studies a perfect balance to his undergraduate major in Anthropology. “The Anthropology program is self-directed, whereas the M.B.A. is more structured,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to develop and nurture a wide range of knowledge and interests, and now I’m learning to refine that knowledge and apply it to the business world.”
Noah, who grew up in North Attleboro, MA, found a mentor in Associate Professor Anne M. Galvin, Ph.D. Under her supervision, he completed a research project focusing on the impact of the opioid crisis on Native Americans for his senior seminar thesis. “From my sophomore year on, Dr. Galvin was a guiding influence for me,” said Noah. “She helped me translate my foundation in cultural anthropology to practical applications and supported my autonomy in exploring my interests and goals.”
“It has been exciting seeing Noah grow as a scholar over the last three years,” said Dr. Galvin. “He came to his first anthropology class with curiosity and enthusiasm about learning. Over time, Noah took full advantage of the tools anthropology has to offer to hone his own critical thinking abilities and learned how to apply anthropological research methods to important human questions.”
During his junior year, Noah studied abroad through the Discover the World program. He previously completed marketing internships with The Club at New Seabury in Mashpee, MA and the Powers Energy Corporation in North Attleboro, MA.
“Noah’s unique background in Anthropology and Business will give him a bright future in professional contexts where deeper understandings of human behavior and sophisticated interpretations of qualitative and quantitative data are relevant,” said Dr. Galvin. “I’m looking forward to seeing what he ends up achieving once he leaves St. John’s.”
During the summer prior to completing her M.A. in Criminology and Justice at St. John’s, Julie Direso ‘16G landed an internship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. That internship turned into a full-time position as Security Analyst in the Port Authority’s Performance, Policy, and Planning Unit, which Ms. Direso describes as her “dream job.”
In her role, Ms. Direso’s primary responsibilities include producing monthly crime statistics, managing crime reporting, conducting analyses on police activity, writing policy, overseeing the sealing and expungement of criminal records, providing technical assistance to system-users on the police force, and serving as point person during the Port Authority’s FBI-mandated transition from Summary-Based Uniform Crime Reporting to Incident-Based Crime Reporting (NIBRS). In addition, she also supervises five staff members including two principal office assistants, an intern, a crime analyst, and a programmer.
“I’m actually doing what we learned to do in class, like coding reports for the FBI and statistical analyses and projections,” said Ms. Direso. “This job is perfect for what I wanted to do, and I love the work that I do every day.”
Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Ms. Direso attended Penn State University to study criminology and law as an undergraduate. She was considering law school, but received a graduate assistantship opportunity at St. John’s and decided to enroll in the M.A. program instead. “New York City is the epicenter of security analysis, so I knew this was where I should be,” she said.
In addition to uniform crime reporting, which she learned with Associate Professor Judith Ryder, Ph.D., Ms. Direso draws upon the statistical knowledge she gained in the M.A. program. She also credits the program with helping her develop time management skills. “Graduate school teaches you how to prioritize and streamline your practice so that you’re able to accomplish deliverables in a timely manner,” she said.
“It's very exciting when our graduates find work that aligns so well with their skills and talents,” said Dr. Ryder. “This has been the case with Julie who is now at the cutting edge of crime reporting. She was always a great student who regularly assisted others--particularly with statistics. Julie has continued to motivate current students through presentations that directly link classroom studies with the profession, and by sharing current internship and job openings.”