Luther College hosts Iowa Sociological Association annual meeting

The Iowa Sociological Association hosted its annual meeting at Luther College on Friday, April 25.

The ISA is an undergraduate-focused academic association organizing an annual meeting where undergraduates present their research. Student participants come from community colleges, private colleges and public universities across Iowa. The ISA provides a formal yet supportive conference environment for undergraduate students to present their work in sociology and social science-related fields.

More than 100 students and faculty from Luther and seven other ISA colleges took part in this event.

Luther sophomore Christina Hammerstrom presented her paper about­­ the impact of color in the purchasing decision of running shoes amongst the Luther women's cross country team, for which she won the Mary Alice Erickson Award for Best First-Second Year Paper.

"There were many great presentations and research projects that other students brought, and to be chosen for the award amongst them was an incredible privilege. It was also very exciting to be recognized for research that I actually enjoyed conducting and working hard on and I am overall very thankful for such a notable award," said Hammerstrom of the experience.

Along with the readings of papers by students and faculty, there was a performance of "The Forgotten" by Brotherhood Inc., an organization aimed at assisting African-American youth to envision and achieve successful futures. The play looks at the lives of four young black men as they face trials and tribulations in the inner city. Brotherhood Inc. strives to promote the reintegration of young men back into the community who have been, or are at risk of being, part of the criminal justice system.

Charlotte Kunkel, professor of sociology at Luther, is currently serving as president of the ISA. Kunkel has also served two other year-long terms, the first from 1998-99, and the second from 2007-08.

The first ISA meeting occurred on April 30, 1959, at Iowa State University, and had students and faculty from colleges such as Drake, Cornell, Grinnell, Iowa State, Simpson, Wartburg, and Luther. The ISA has met annually since 1961 and aims "to meet the particular and important needs of undergraduate sociology students, graduate sociology students, and sociology instructors in Iowa that are not being met through existing organizations."