New Sociology Prof. from Wythe County

Matthew Krauss, News Writer •


Photo by Hannah Long

Amy Sorenson, a new professor of sociology at Emory & Henry, is hoping to show students that sociology is an integrative study.

Sorenson will be teaching a brand new class in the fall about health inequality and disability, exploring how social class affects health. Sorenson heard a lot about Emory & Henry all her life, having grown up in Wythe County. She visited the campus when she was playing in chamber orchestra in middle school for a concert. “These nuns lived across the street [from my house] and brought me. That was when I realized just how beautiful Emory & Henry was….It was like this mystical, magical place – it was just so pretty,” Sorenson explained.

Although Sorenson grew up in the area she did not travel to Washington County often. Since then, she has enjoyed exploring downtown Abingdon and the outdoor opportunities in Damascus on the Holston River.

She said is excited to be teaching at a school with staff who are “very welcoming.”

She also likes that “I get to develop long term relationships with my students who care about social justice. I also like that I can stay in Appalachia.”

Sorenson was not a traditional college student who spent her college years attending trips, studying abroad etc.  Instead she had to raise her four kids while also attending classes at Virginia Tech and Eastern Tennessee State University. “That was pretty much my only extra-curricular activity,” she said.

The first thing she noticed after arriving at Emory was how many opportunities are provided for students. She was drawn to the campus because of the extensive opportunities offered to students such as the Ampersand Center, and Appalachian Center for Civic Life.

Sorenson’s love of sociology started by accident when she took a course on it in community college. She explained, “Sociology works for me because I have a wide variety of interests and sociology allows me to explore these.”

Sorenson is currently teaching Intro to Sociology, Social Problems and Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality, subjects where she gets to explore how inequality affects our daily lives.

She has many plans to expand the sociology program including reviving the sociology honors organization and the sociology club. She also wants her students in the spring to participate in service learning. This will allow them to meet and serve the “marginalized groups” discussed in class.

Looking to the future, Sorenson wants to develop the sociology program to help students, whether they are in a sociology major or not, and both inside and outside the classroom.

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