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Pioneer Stories: Shawn McGuffey

“I had wonderful mentors at Transylvania, and I was attractive to many graduate programs thanks to research experience I gained through a summer internship examining the effects of gender, race, and class on children’s development.”

Shawn McGuffey with students

Shawn McGuffey, assistant professor of sociology at Boston College, used his Transylvania experiences as a launching pad for his career in higher education. His summer internship resulted in a journal article co-authored with Transylvania sociology professor Brian Rich, who was McGuffey’s senior seminar adviser.

“The article, which was originally published in 1999, has been reprinted in at least four other academic venues,” McGuffey says. “I have since received grants and awards based on similar lines of research that I first cultivated at Transylvania.”

McGuffey majored in sociology and anthropology with minors in multicultural studies and women’s studies at Transylvania. His professors encouraged him to become involved in the student activities of the Anthropologists and Sociologists of Kentucky, another valuable undergraduate experience. He took top honors two years running for best student paper, first for one on children and gender roles and then for a paper on Kentucky’s relationship to a Southern identity.

McGuffey holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he received two Teaching Excellence Awards and an Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award. At Boston College, he teaches undergraduate courses on African-American society and race, class and gender, and graduate courses on gender and society, and black families and society. His research on child sexual abuse was featured on the PBS public affairs series Frontline in 2006.

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