2010 Meeting (UNI)

The Iowa Sociological Association is an undergraduate-focused academic association that is focused on organizing an annual meeting where undergraduates present their research. Student participants come from community colleges, private colleges, and public universities across Iowa.

2010 ISA Conference at University of Northern Iowa

 The Iowa Sociological Association (ISA) Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 24, 2010 brought together nearly 75 student and faculty participants from Iowa colleges and universities to the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) campus in Cedar Falls, IA. This conference provides a unique opportunity for undergraduates from across the state of Iowa to present their research to peers, parents, and professors and to discuss and defend their work in an academic atmosphere. Papers sessions included Sociology of Gender, Students as Subjects, Media Analysis, Criminal Justice, and Issues of Group Behavior, Education, Class and Work.  In addition, this year the ISA for the first time introduced a research poster competition and professionalization workshops to the annual conference, as well as hold the annual business meeting. 


This year, at UNI a total of 21 students submitted papers and posters to the ISA conference.  Four awards for student papers are presented to participants: the best paper submitted by a junior or senior, the best paper submitted by a first or second-year student, the best paper on a criminal justice topic, and the best paper integrating theory and research. A fifth award was introduced by UNI to recognize the best poster submission. 


The winner of the Manfred Kuhn Award for best paper submitted by a junior or senior was

Brandon Kramer, University of Iowa, for his paper, “Polychronic Technology Usage: Understanding Intra/Intergenerational Variation of Multitasking in Diverse Groups."

(Faculty Advisor- Dr. Mary E. Campbell)


The winner of the Steve Wieting Award for the paper best combining theory and research was Nichole Baker, Grinnell College, for her paper, “Caring, Producing, or Healing: Perceptions of CNA Work." (Faculty Advisor- Dr. Karla Erickson)


The winner of the Mary Alice Ericson Award for the best freshman-sophomore paper was Carrie Eischeid of the University of Northern Iowa for her paper, “The Perception of Women who Defy the Standards of Body Size.”            (Faculty Advisor- Dr. Marybeth C. Stalp)


The winner of the Ward Reynoldson Award for the best paper on a criminal justice topic was

Zach Hartje, Simpson College, for his paper, “Judge-Jury Divergence and the Race of the Defendant.” (Faculty Advisor- Dr. Mark Freyberg)


The winner of the ISA Poster Award for 2010 was Aaron Lockwood, from Buena Vista University, for his poster, “An Examination of the Last Statements of Texas’ Death Row Inmates, 2000-2010.” (Faculty Advisor-Dr. Neal McNabb)


The conference included a keynote address by Dr. Joel Best, from the University of Delaware.   In his address entitled, “We’re All Winners: Life in a Congratulatory Culture” Professor Best argued that we live in a society where every kindergarten soccer player receives a trophy.  Although sociologists have traditionally viewed status as a scarce resource, ours is an era of status affluence.  We award ever more prizes and educational honors, we designate lots of heroes, and we carefully rate and rank all manner of phenomena.  What are the causes–and consequences–of abundant status? Over 80 people attended this talk.

 A pre-conference talk entitled, “The Stupidity Epidemic” was held the evening before at the UNI campus with approximately 150 people in attendance from the university and the larger community.  In this talk, Dr. Best discussed the following points.  There is a widespread perception that we’re getting dumber–that our schools are failing, that today’s students are “The Dumbest Generation.”   But claims about a crisis in American education have a surprisingly long history, and a review of the available evidence offers some surprising findings that force us to consider just why we believe in a Stupidity Epidemic.

 We would like to thank the following groups for financial assistance in bringing Dr. Best to UNI: the MSS Endowment Committee’s Visiting Scholar Grant, the MSS State Director Funds, the Alpha Kappa Delta International Honors Society for Sociology, the UNI Sociology Club and the UNI Criminology Club, the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Criminology, and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. The event ran smoothly due to our Office Manager, Wayne Fauchier and the helpful department staff of Sociology, Anthropology & Criminology at UNI.  Finally, we thank Iowa Public Radio (KUNI), UNI’s University Marketing and Public Relations, and the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier for helping us to promote these events.