Roanoke College Junior Presents at Sociology Conference

by roanokecollege on April 17, 2014


Roanoke College junior Alex Berryman recently presented his research earlier this month at the Southern Sociological Society Annual Meeting in Charlotte, NC. Alex’s research project was titled “Managing Transportation and Economic Volatility: What Can Policymakers Learn from Rural Low-income Families?” He also presented this project at the Research showcase in Fintel Library last Friday. Alex’s research began in late 2013 and he is currently doing an independent study this semester. He is also going to be a summer scholars this summer.

Alex mentions that he chose to study transportation inequality

“to apply lessons from my variety of past courses as well as to hopefully contribute to social change that is personally meaningful. Coming from a rural home and offering free automobile repair to select families consistently exposes me to discrete aspects of familial hardship within America.”

His project addresses how owning an unreliable automobile affects a rural low-income family’s ability to keep employment.

“This social phenomenon contributes to the social reproduction of poverty as well as familial hardship- or the inability to afford proper medical care, housing, as well as nutrition.”


Alex’s faculty mentor for this project was Dr. Lane Destro who specializes in rural poverty and social policy. Alex met with her once a week and communicated almost every day when working on this project. Alex notes that working one-on-one with a professor

“develops a stronger bond that enables learning to continue within a personalized venture. A more casual friendship can also evolve which is atypical when we consider the formality of school.”

For students considering research opportunity, Alex points out that:

“Research is an additional avenue towards becoming integrated on campus. Independent research is extremely flexible and is designed to conform about the student instead of the student being forced to perform predefined tasks. I doubt that many other institutions provide such an abundant inventory of learning opportunities as Roanoke.”

For more info on the Southern Sociological Society, please visit:

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