Aimee Kelmel, a sociology senior at IU Southeast, was recently accepted into the American Sociological Association (ASA) Honors Program.
As part of the competitive program, Kelmel and 38 other undergraduate students from around the U.S. attended the 110th ASA Annual Meeting, which was held from Aug. 22-25 in Chicago. The students came from several universities, including Princeton University, Vanderbilt University and the University of Chicago.
In addition to being accepted into the ASA Honors Program, Kelmel was awarded a grant from the ASA, which enabled her to travel to the meeting.
During the meeting, Kelmel presented a paper entitled “Gender Equality: Not even in the Fantasy World” at a roundtable paper session, and she attended several other paper sessions. Kelmel had also presented her paper at the IU Southeast Student Conference in April.
Kelmel learned about the activities, sections, and governance of the ASA while meeting and speaking with sociologists representing graduate programs around the U.S. Kelmel said she enjoyed hearing the sociologists’ ideas, contributions and feedback.
“A lot of (the meeting) was just establishing peers in the field, so that whenever you work in academia, you have to have people to peer review your research,” Kelmel said. “So it was good to establish those networks. Now I know people from all over the country who I can have to collaborate with.”
Kelmel also attended “Conversations With…” sessions featuring prominent sociologists. The sessions were reserved for students in the ASA Honors Program. Kelmel said the sessions focused on jobs inside and outside of the world of academia, as well as tips that are useful when applying to graduate school.
“We talked a lot about getting ready for graduate school because the program was focused on students who are interested in graduate school,” Kelmel said. “I learned more about writing the personal essays that you submit when you apply to graduate school.”
The ASA is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. The organization was founded in 1905, and it promotes sociology as a science and as a profession.
To participate in the ASA Honors Program, students need to be nominated by a sociology faculty member. If nominated, students need to submit a recommendation letter from that faculty member and a completed application.
Gregory Kordsmeier, assistant professor of sociology, nominated Kelmel for the ASA Honors Program. Kordsmeier is Kelmel’s faculty sponsor.
“Aimee is a tremendously talented and hardworking student, who exemplifies the best qualities of the students we have in the sociology program at Indiana University Southeast,” Kordsmeier said. “We can expect great things from her in the years to come.”
Kelmel said she didn’t believe it at first when she was accepted into the program. She later found out at the meeting that the acceptance rate was below 50 percent.
“I wasn’t expecting to be accepted, because I found out about the application process a week before it was due,” Kelmel said. “Whenever I got the email, I had to read it several times to make sure that I was reading it right and that it was supposed to go to me.”
Kelmel said she is thankful for the experiences she gained during the meeting.
“I found the experience to be an incredible opportunity to learn and grow as an aspiring scholar and am looking forward to using all I learned as I apply to graduate school in the future,” Kelmel said.