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Spotlight - Fitz
Brittany Fitz
Brittany Fitz is a fourth year PHD student in the Department of Sociology here at Baylor University. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Baylor in 2009 and continued her education with a Master’s degree in Church-State Studies from the J.M. Dawson Institute for Church State Studies in 2011. It was this interaction between the church and state, along with its important social implications that drew her into the realm of sociology. In May 2013, she earned her Master’s in Sociology focusing on the impact of religious social capital on philanthropic activity. Her research continues and she expects her Doctorate degree to be conferred in May 2016. Brittany views her time spent in Waco as a great asset and influence to her research agenda, “Being able to watch the town that you live in, grow and change, in such a manner that Waco has, really steered my course of research into community."

Brittany's primary research focuses on community satisfaction where she attempts to answer the questions of 'what ties individuals to a community,' and 'what makes community development sustainable?' These questions are closely tied to her time spent at Baylor, "In the past seven years the city of Waco has come a long way in terms of economic and social development. The question on everyone's mind is whether or not the development is sustainable or just a passing fad." Brittany’s research attempts to address the issue. Her other areas of focus include Social Capital, Trust, and Image of God. Brittany currently has an article published in Review of Religious Research with her mentor, Carson Mencken, and has several other projects in the works.

She has been able to demonstrate her passion for sociology both on and off campus. On campus, Brittany has been able to share her love for sociology through teaching various courses from an introductory course to a deep analysis of social philosophy through the Honors College. She has also has been heavily involved in sharing her work in Applied Sociology with a few select seniors each semester through the Sociology 4303 internship program. In this program, Brittany guides students through the projects at the Center for Community Research and Development from start to finish. In addition to teaching, Brittany served as a Graduate Fellow to the Academy of Teaching and Learning last year. This appointment allowed Brittany to expand and apply her training in Applied Sociology as well as learn from the best professors on campus. She gained several new teaching techniques and made new connections across disciplines.

Off campus, Brittany has been able to share her research at seminars and conferences, “What is great about sociology is that our knowledge is applicable outside of our field.” Training in applied sociology has given her the ability to attend conferences outside of sociology. In 2013, she attended the Southern Association of Institutional Research's annual conference in Orlando expanding her network of colleagues and contacts while developing a skill set of data analysis. In addition, she regularly attends the annual meetings of sociological and social science associations such as the regional Southwestern Social Science Association and the Southern Sociological Society.

Additionally, her work at the Center for Community Research and Development has proven to be very fulfilling. Client-based research and data analysis is a specific subset of sociology that will prove very useful outside of the academy. “I could not imagine accomplishing what I have away from this program. The statistical training is incomparable. Our professors are so enthusiastic about their interests that the environment is a great marriage of be challenging while being warm and welcoming.”