Assistant professor, Sociology, Economics and Anthropology
Olivia Hetzler, professor of sociology, always found herself drawn to the intricacies of social interaction, but it wasn’t until the end of her junior year in college that she found her calling in sociology.
“It was kind of a bittersweet moment, since it was too late to switch majors,” recalls Dr. Hetzler. “I graduated with my B.A. in psychology, but continued to read sociological research for ‘fun.’”
She began working in the field of social work but soon realized that advancing her career would require further education. She attended the University of Missouri, Columbia for her master’s degree in sociology and then earned her Ph.D. there, too.
Social work and volunteering in domestic abuse shelters helped shape not only her academic interests but also her perspective on society. Being able to work on social issues on an individual level helped her to see the issues of poverty and abuse as more than words in a textbook. She also encourages her students to participate in volunteer work to give social issues more meaning and to help them understand how they affect society as a whole.