She earned her undergraduate degree from one of the country's largest institutions, the University of Texas, and felt that the large, more anonymous atmosphere for an advanced degree was not what she was looking for. "I knew that I would not thrive in a graduate program as large as theirs, where incoming cohorts are 30 or more," she says. "At Baylor, the average cohort is about three people, which is a definite selling point for me."
The New Braunfels native is studying applied sociology, and focusing on Latino studies and statistics and research methods. "These interests fit perfectly with the research already being done in my department, especially by Dr. Robyn Driskell, who actively researches in these areas as well," she says. "Through my work with Dr. Driskell, I have been able to further my research in these areas, and acquire several publications, as well."
She arrived and hit the ground running, a hallmark of graduate study in sociology at Baylor. By the end of a student's first year, they are actively researching, presenting papers and even teaching. "When I first came here, I did not want to teach, but I found myself loving it," she says. "I would have never known that this was something I would like to do if I hadn't been given the opportunity by Baylor."
Elizabeth also works at the university's client-driven, non-profit research center, the Center for Community Research and Development, which provides a variety of research services, including mail and telephone surveys, questionnaire design, population trend studies, data collection and analysis, sampling designs and focus groups. "The graduate applied sociology students essentially run the research center, supervising all of the research from implementation to the presentation to the clients" she says. "These experiences are, in part, what make us marketable to potential employers outside of academia."
In many ways she feels that even though Baylor graduate education differs greatly from undergraduate education here, that the family atmosphere she has experienced remains the same. "Every student that comes in to Baylor knows from the moment they walk through the Graduate School doors that they are welcome here," she says. "I have worked in the Graduate School as Dean Lyon's research assistant for three years now, and every time a new student walks into that door with a question, someone will drop whatever they are doing to help with whatever [students] need, going out of their way to make things work."