Name: Don Sawyer


Title: Professor of Sociology 

Company: Quinnipiac University 

What They Do: Teaches courses like, Sociology of Race and Sociology of Hip Hop

Originally From: Harlem, NYC (Abraham Lincoln Projects)

College: Hartwick College, Syracuse University

Field of Study: Undergrad: Psychology with a focus on multicultural counseling; Master’s and Ph.D in Sociology 

Recommended Books: 

Listen in to the interview:

A Few Notes From the Show:

  • You want to Tweet this: Gotta have a plan.  Talk to people who are in positions you aspire to be in.
  • Gives where he is from credit for his success
  • Had a strong community that included his peers that stood shoulder to shoulder with him
  • You should become a professor so you can have the summers off…not really
  • Opportunity to do research and add to the community and society
  • Working on research about the concept of educational success and Black males
  • Working on research on re-entry of formerly incarcerated Black and Latino males.  We know about the numbers but we don’t know their stories or what they are facing.
  • His biggest goal is for students to come out of his class, not wanting to be a sociology professor but to be able to be a critical thinker. Being able to take in information, synthesize it and make a thought of their own.
  • k-12 teaches us to regurgitate.  In college you have to think
  • Don’t want students to just be mindful consumers, but also a critical producer of the culture you are participating in.
  • We talk about his Hip Hop sociology course which is not a music appreciation course.
  • Practice applied sociology to help find solutions.
  • Gotta have a plan.  Talk to people who are in positions you aspire to be in.
  • Getting a Ph.D is about perseverance not how smart you are
  • Actually got a “D+” in his Introduction to Sociology class and now he’s a sociology professor.
  • Being the only Black person can be lonely.  Have to remind yourself you deserve to be here and you can do the work
  • Survivors guilt: a lot of my friends didn’t make it.  Have to remind myself that I’m inspiring them.
  • Sometimes deal with the question of “am I competent enough.”
  • You have to be ok with your upbringing.
  • Your peers may be abel to call their parents for help, but you can’t.
  • Used to think your mentor had to have a similar background

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