The Western Program
at Miami University
Student Profile: Carissa Rae Fry (2014)
Carissa is an Individualized Studies major with a focus in law, ethics, and social justice. She would like to create a student non-profit (Scraps) and to work in the Over-the-Rhine area of Cincinnati.
"My objective is to better understand how laws, social beliefs and sociological norms impact social stratification and what we now call deviance. By introducing a wider interdisciplinary scope of inquiry, I hope to further analyze how people view deviance based on social stratification and justice. And by furthering my understanding of unequal opportunities and injustice, I hope to redefine how deviance is viewed, and provide more opportunities for deviants to achieve in society.
"I will integrate the concepts I learn in political science, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy into a unique field of my own design. These concepts will help me to better understand the reasons behind power and privilege, as well as social injustice, the philosophy behind laws that govern our country and the policies that impact people, as well as what approach is best to change these laws."
Starting a Non-Profit
"Because I'm very interested in helping to fix social injustices within the confines of laws in communities, I am trying to start a non-profit called Scraps, representative of scraps of the American dream. After seeing parts of my town destroyed in a flood that wiped out half of our 'poor areas,' I was awakened to how disadvantaged these families were. None of them had insurance on their houses or money to rebuild. So I set off in search of homes and buildings within my town and surrounding area. Much to my surprise, I found several within just miles of my house. The impact of good shelter can affect what kind of sleep a person gets, the environment they group in, and how conducive it is to studying for academic success. Rebuilding houses for these people can help restructure their lives.
"I'm also well aware that equalizing social injustices is more than just providing good housing. There is also inequality in education and healthcare, due to laws and stratification within society. I think if more people were aware of it, more would be done to create justice for those who are disadvantaged. For these reasons, I want to push for changes in laws that foster social injustice. As Gandhi said, 'You must be the change you wish to see in the world.' I figure that I should start spreading awareness now if I want to see these changes that level disadvantages in society."
"For my senior project I want to capitalize on the usage of sociology, urban development, ethics, and political science. During the spring of 2013, I hope to renovate a dilapidated house in downtown Cincinnati. I hope for it to be the first renovation of Scraps.
"I'll also incorporate criminology. I'd like to study juvenile delinquents and what, if anything, keeps them from becoming repeat offenders. I hope to find a law or social perception that impacts disadvantaged people and see what can be done to change their disadvantages. By working with and evaluating these disadvantaged groups I hope to find ways to gain more equality for these disadvantaged groups.
"My thesis will utilize my passion for sociology and my interests in the languages and cultures of other people, while still requiring research in the area of law and politics. This will help me to accomplish something I have a passion for, fulfill Honors Program and Western requirements, and serve as preparation for law school."
"One of the most rewarding experiences I've had at Miami is mentoring at-risk youth from the Talawanda School District (Oxford's district). I've learned so much from the kids and they've instilled in me a new vivacity for life. I like to think that I've served as motivation or inspiration for them to pursue goals that they feel are too 'far out' to achieve. More than anything, I just want to be someone who will listen to them."
"My degree should prepare me for a joint JD/ PhD program in philosophy, with an emphasis on ethics, so that I can teach while working at a law firm. I enjoy philosophy and it will help teach me to critically question the application of ethics in society.
"Teaching abroad will also help in my goal to fight injustice. Teaching in Chile will provide cultural immersion, and allow me to gain more knowledge of the language. I'll teach abroad after I graduate with my Bachelors or once I obtain my graduate degrees. A better understanding of the Spanish language will help me fight social injustice in the U.S. as a result of language barriers."