Sociology and Anthropology Alumnus – Michelle Glass
Regional Director of Oregon Action
Career Path and Life Passions
Michelle is the southern Oregon regional director of Oregon Action, a state-wide social justice nonprofit. She is based in Medford, Oregon. As a sociology undergrad, Michelle interned with Oregon Action and discovered that its mission to build an intercultural movement for justice aligned with her personal values and desire for collaborative and meaningful work.
“I have a lot of latitudes to experiment and be creative, try things, and evaluate them. It’s like the antithesis of a corporate work environment and that fits me really well.”
At SOU, Michelle studied the dynamics of social inequality and community building. At Oregon Action, she works to alleviate inequality by building inclusive communities.
Useful Job Skills
In a typical day at Oregon Action, Michelle’s job might include writing grants and program evaluations, speaking with news media, organizing collaborative meetings with community partners, and orchestrating campaigns. The perspectives and skills Michelle developed as an undergrad provided a strong foundation for her current work. Studying sociology helped her understand how power and organizations work and honed her research, writing and public speaking skills. Michelle specifically credits her success in grant writing to the emphasis on writing in SOU’s curriculum.
“I wouldn’t be doing my dream job right now if I hadn’t taken sociology at SOU. I feel like my entire sociology degree was the perfect preparation for what I am doing today. It’s the background that I draw on all the time. I am very grateful.”
Advice for Students
Michelle advises students to go out into the world and gain experience in their prospective field before they graduate. Employers expect this. Michelle now mentors current sociology and anthropology student interns from SOU, helping them develop job skills, network, and explore opportunities to make a difference in the world.
“I came into the nonprofit world with my eyes open and not with some naive expectation that things were the way that the mission statement read; it made me a much more effective advocate for myself, my peers, and eventually the people that work under me. I think that is so important for young leaders [to know] when training in the workforce.”