Our Grads

Paris Mercier, '20, Double Major in Sociology and Political Science, Minor in Justice, Law & Society

Paris Mercier, '20Since receiving my double bachelors in Political science and Sociology with a minor in Justice, law and society from Washington College life has continued moving in such rewarding ways. I am now a Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate for the government serving the Air Force active duty and dependent population within the Department of Defense (DoD). It has been both challenging and deeply rewarding. I recently transitioned from my previous role as a Program Manager at CASA DC where I provided a unique perspective and a strong foundation in advocacy work with the juvenile justice and foster care population. At CASA DC, I honed my skills in program management and developed a deep understanding of the complexities surrounding child abuse, human trafficking and juvenile justice in DC. Now, as part of the Air Force team, I am committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of service members and their families.Every day, I am faced with the task of providing support and guidance to survivors of domestic abuse within the Air Force community. Whether it's assisting them through legal processes, connecting them with resources, or simply lending a compassionate ear, I am dedicated to empowering survivors and helping them navigate their journey towards healing and justice in whatever form a survivor desires to pursue. My role is not only about addressing immediate crises but also about advocating for systemic change and fostering a culture of prevention and accountability within the military.Simultaneously to my full time work I am pursuing my Master's in Justice, Law, and Criminology at American University. It has been instrumental in deepening my understanding of the legal and criminological aspects of domestic abuse and society as a whole. Through my studies, I am gaining valuable insights into the underlying factors contributing to domestic violence and the broader societal implications. Armed with this knowledge, I am better equipped to advocate for effective policies and interventions aimed at combating domestic abuse and promoting a safer, more equitable society. My journey as a Domestic Abuse Advocate for the Air Force is a testament to my unwavering commitment to serving others and creating positive change in the world with the education and foundation I received at WAC.

Rachel Martinez, '18, Major in Sociology, Minors in Political Science and Gender Studies

Rachel Martinez, '18

"During my time at Washington College, I was a Presidential Fellow, a memberof the Cater Society of Junior Fellows, a member of several national honors societies, and captain of the women’s tennis team. I earned the Centennial Conference Women’s Tennis Scholar Athlete of the Year award, the Doris T. Bell award for women’s athletics, the Margaret Horsley award for sociology, and the Louis L. Goldstein award for public affairs. Since graduating, I worked for several years on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. as a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee while attending Georgetown University part-time for my master’s degree in public policy. I have recently begun my newest adventure as a Senior Advisor in the Biden-Harris White House. 

My experience at Washington College helped me become a strong critical thinker, writer, and researcher—skills that have been vital to my professional success. Sociology opened my eyes to the inequities in our society, and inspired me to want to change the world. With each of the intriguing and challenging sociology courses I took, I further grounded my passion for justice in empathy and evidence. In my professional life, sociology has given me a unique understanding of the American social fabric, our social structures, institutions, and social interactions, which allows me to glean key insights for political action. This sociological lens also enables me to analyze the potential intersectional impacts of policy, and thus work to craft better, more equitable solutions to the issues our nation faces. I am forever grateful to sociology, and the professors at Washington College, who helped me find and pursue my passion successfully."

Nicholas O’Meally, ’15, Double Major in Sociology and Theatre

Nicholas O'Meally '15

“After receiving my bachelor’s degree in Sociology, I attended the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice for my master’s degree in social work. While enrolled, I focused on clinical social work with children and adolescents. My background in Sociology aided me in my ability to discuss topics such as socioeconomics and cultural competency with my peers and being able to analyze the ways in which we are influenced and labeled by society aided me in seeing the realities of my clients. Additionally, my undergraduate studies in feminist theory helped me look closer at the ways in which men talk about mental health differently from women.

Having earned both my Master’s of Social Work and my state licensure, I am now employed as a permanency caseworker in the Greater Philadelphia Area. My role is to aid foster children and foster families through the adoption process and to help new families interested in adopting become certified. Sociology taught me how to confront the racial and economic biases we all inherently have, and that we must look further into why society deems certain behaviors as more acceptable than others. In my everyday practice, I must confront expectations I may have when walking into a client’s home or when asking them about their beliefs surrounding discipline and child-rearing. Sociology not only challenged me to look at our world from a detached lens but prepared me for a career in social work by forcing me to remove my own values while helping others improve their lives.”

Avanti Gabourel, ’14, Major in Sociology,  Minors in Justice, Law & Society, and Music
Avanti Gabourel '14

"After college, I spent 3 years as a Treatment Support Specialist in Martinsburg, West Virginia working directly with youth ages 12-18 at a residential care facility. I had the opportunity to work with kids from all over West Virginia, some from very rural areas. My background in sociology especially helped me to identify many environmental and external forces that affected the youth and their families. Although I may have had differing opinions or political views with some of the residents, learning about where they came from helped me to make sense of their course of thought and behaviors. Now, I work as a Case Manager at a family support center in Frederick County Government guiding younger adults ages 16-24. We focus a lot on Trauma-Informed Care and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) when delivering our services. My sociological background has helped me notice commonalities among different populations. I am able to identify the social and economic barriers respective to the places people come from. My job essentially is to try to remove those barriers in order to propel people further into success. I help them set short-term and long-term goals and provide frequent reminders to help stay on track. Typically, I make referrals to resources or provide them transportation, which may assist them to advance in their career and education. 

Doing my best to understand someone’s culture is crucial in helping me build rapport and gain trust. Sociology helps build a foundational openness and willingness to view things with fresh eyes. I feel I am successful at what I do because I am always considering a person’s dynamic in relation to their various social groups. One should consider the relationship an individual has with others, and within the communities, they are part of. This encourages me to view without judgment or to see how different dynamics affect/produce the hardships people are facing.

My goal as a case manager is to help all people who face adversity beat obstacles and attain self-sufficiency. This comes through immense skill building and education. For most people I work with, it is about surviving day-to-day. It is hard enough knowing where you will end up tomorrow, let alone achieving long-term dreams. Many at-risk populations do not see the potential within themselves. Often they do not believe in their ability to amount to anything, so it means a lot when I can empower them and be their cheerleader. Seeing their success feels incredible."