Jacq Congello '17

Jacq Congello '17

Major: Sociology

Why did you choose to study sociology?

To be honest, I started sociology by chance. I was determined to become a doctor like my parents so I focused on taking physical science classes. My advisor encouraged me to take a class outside of my major discipline to expand my knowledge. I took Introduction to Sociology with Char Kunkel because I had no idea what sociology was. After that first class, I wanted to take more classes. I realized that I had more passion for the social sciences than I did for the physical sciences, so I started pursuing sociology instead. Now I know that sociology is what I want to study.

How does Luther’s sociology major stand out among other colleges?

Luther's sociology program well-rounded. The department offers different courses on various topics that are all interconnected. Faculty studying racial inequality still have knowledge of gender inequalities or classist problems. Other colleges lack this mindset. They take classes related to their interests but ignore other parts of sociology that still link to their topic.

The sociology program has also challenged me to look at everything from many perspectives. One way we learned to do this is by challenging the texts we read. It’s typical to read texts and take what they say as the truth. Now, I find myself arguing with authors all the time. We learn how to critique works. Something else we have learned to do is to ask ourselves “What next?” In class, we don’t just study a problem. The professors leave it up to us to take what we learn and put it into practice. Sociology at Luther has helped me realize that, for some social issues, we are the next step.

How would you describe the sociology faculty?

In one word: family. The faculty invest in providing each student with the best tools to succeed. There is a large amount of mutual respect. They encourage me to follow my passions and help me understand sociological ideologies. The faculty have provided me with unique opportunities, helping me learn inside and outside the classroom. They have helped me find my passion and focus.

What has been your most valuable Luther experience?

My most valuable experiences at Luther include the panels and movements I have seen on campus. These include transgender housing and restrooms, Islamophobia, and Black Lives Matter. I can see how students take what they learn in the classrooms and apply it to real life situations. It shows the power of the students. We have also been able to work alongside faculty and staff, allowing us to gain experience outside of the classroom.

Do you have a leadership story to share?

The most inspiring story I have is how I formed an organization. A group of my friends and I wanted to start a knitting club. When we first applied for the organization, we estimated perhaps ten members or so. We ended up with a list of over 130 members. There were times when we questioned making the group, but I’m glad we formed it. Our projects allow us to give back to other groups and organizations, such as our making scarves for a local Scarves in the Park project. If there is something that interests you and you want an organization for it, do it. We took a small hobby and shared it with others and today our organization is more than we ever expected it to be.

What is one class that you would recommend to all students?

I would recommend any sociology courses. There is a lot that we can learn about humanity; sociology offers those lessons. A particular sociology class I especially loved was Social Seminar: Social Instructions. The best way to teach others is to make it engaging, and this course personified this mindset. The books that we read were fun and interesting while still packed with information and sociological theories.

I have been working on a student/faculty collaborative research project since the beginning of my junior year. It studies the racial attitudes and actions of Olmsted County in Minnesota. Being able to work side-by-side with experienced sociologists has been an unforgettable learning experience.

—Jacq Congello '17


  • Concert Band
  • Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Write On!
  • Norse Knitters
  • Chi Theta Rho
  • Just Action
  • Standing for Social Justice