Department of Government and Sociology

student leading classroom

In the Department of Government and Sociology, we will lead you on a path of exploration into the public sector— but we also lead you to a path of self-discovery as an active citizen in an ever-evolving world.  

From in depth courses on constitutionalism and public service systems to graduate degrees in public administration and criminal justice— you have endless opportunities to learn from some of the most dedicated and talented faculty at Georgia College. And your time in the programs won’t stop in the classroom. We cultivate a sense of independence and curiosity in our students, which leads to undergraduate research, public service projects and internships.

After graduating from Georgia College and the Department of Government and Sociology, you’ll be equipped with everything you need to not only enter into careers at the international to local levels— but to be a leader in the process. 

Alumni News

Georgia College Graduate joins United States Airforce
Airman First Class Taylor Hyatt, (Political Science major and Georgia College graduate, class of 2020) recently enlisted in the United States Air Force.  In basic training, A1C Hyatt was tasked with the responsibilities of an academic monitor, ensuring his flight retained all the information to take the final exam to graduate.  Based on his exceptional performance on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test performance, A1C Hyatt began training to be a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) sensor operator, or a copilot in an unmanned aerial vehicle known as a drone.  A1C Hyatt recently passed his fundamentals air test and will likely be flying aircraft in the next few months.

Before enlisting in the Air Force, A1C Hyatt excelled as a Political Science major, serving as an intern for the Georgia House of Representatives majority caucus.  As part of his internship, he coordinated meetings, wrote speeches, and provided constituent services.  After his Georgia legislative internship, AIC Hyatt interned for the United States Congress in the office of Representative Austin Scott, where he recorded constituent attitudes in Georgia's 8th Congressional District.


Mr. Ralph Staffins (MPA Class of 2008) has been named to Georgia Trend's 2021 "40 Under 40."


Georgia College alumni makes it to an office in the White House. Allison Hooker is a Georgia College Political Science graduate; she later went to George Washington U for graduate work in East Asian studies and has worked for the State Department for the past 15 years or so.  For the past couple of years, beginning in the Obama Administration, State has posted her to the National Security Council as a Korean policy expert.  Now, it appears that she is the leading Korea expert on the NSC. Her office is in the White House. Two weeks ago, she was with VP Pence when he was in Korea for the opening ceremonies of the Olympic games. Now she’s in Korea for the closing ceremonies, accompanying Ivanka Trump. This article mentions her in regard to the idea that Ivanka may be meeting with both the South and North Koreans in a possible diplomatic breakthrough, and Allison is the person who would be advising the US diplomatic team.

Sociology Alumni Share Experiences and Insights with Current Sociology Students
Sociology’s Senior Seminar recently hosting a series of alumni panels which included former students working in the non-profit and social services sectors, as well as graduates who had gone on to graduate school in a range of fields. They shared advice with the students, including the importance of connecting with people and being willing to talk about one’s skills in a meaningful way. Each also shared how thankful they were for the small class sizes and high quality interaction they had with program faculty that helped them be better prepared for post-college life than many of their peers.

Students shared that they appreciated being able to talk with others who are now out in the world and also hear about the benefits of doing graduate work. Laura Blackman had this to say, “I would like to thank the GC alumni for taking the time out of their day to speak to our class. It was very incredibly comforting and inspirational to be able to hear what post-graduate life is like first hand. I was immediately drawn to Tegan, as our passions are very similar, and she has inspired me to aim for similar goals as hers. The panel showed me that there are endless possibilities out there for sociology graduates, you just have to be willing to put yourself out there.”

The entire department thanks these individuals for giving of their time to connect with our current students.

Heather Appleby, a native of Macon, GA. graduated from Georgia College in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Spanish. After graduating, Heather worked as a Substance Abuse Counselor until 2012. Upon moving to Atlanta, she joined the staff of Atlanta Center for Medical Research. Heather began at ACMR as a research assistant, but quickly moved into the role of a clinical research coordinator. Soon after, she began to move into the role of training coordinator. Heather ultimately took over the coordination and delivery of training for ACMR. In May 2015, Heather left ACMR to begin a two year Master’s program in School Counseling at Georgia State University. Heather is currently completing an internship at Simpson Elementary School and will graduate in May 2017 with a Masters of Education in School Counseling.

Tegan Hurley graduated from GC in 2011 with a degree in Sociology and earned a non-profit leadership certificate. After graduation, she participated in AmeriCorps, worked with Habitat for Humanity and Easter Seals of Georgia. She currently works as the Organizational Coordinator at American Community Gardening Association.

Cassie Taylor graduated in May 2011 with a double major in Sociology and Criminal Justice. From April 2011 she worked as a Support Coordinator with Georgia Support Services to coordinate services for persons with developmental disabilities. In 2012 she was hired as a Program Manager with RHA Health Services. Her degree and experience qualified her as a Developmental Disability Professional to work with people with exceptional behavioral and medical needs. She is currently working with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities as a Behavior Specialist.

Diana Bacallao graduated in 2016 with a major in Sociology and a minor in Criminal Justice. After an exhausting graduate school application process, she decided to attend NC State University where she studies Higher Education Administration. Diana currently manages a residence hall of over 400 students and supervises a staff of 10 Resident Advisors. Her degree in Sociology has given her a leg up in her graduate school classes as well as the insight necessary to help her student staff navigate a college campus experiencing racial tensions during of a contentious election season.

Jon German graduated in December 2013 with a major in Sociology. He worked at Mercer Engineering Research Center (MERC) as a CAD technician in Warner Robins from graduation until he moved to Knoxville, TN. He was hired by Oak Ridge National Laboratory in April 2015, working in the Geographic Information Science and Technology group. His degree and experience with statistical analysis and GIS qualified him to work on many projects, including the Population Density Tables project. The project supplies high resolution, global population statistics to government organizations, NGOs and relief organizations. He currently works at the lab part-time and began a Master's program in Human Geography at the University of Tennessee in August.

Faculty News
faculty book


 Professor Adam Lamparello has recently co-authored a book with former colleague Chuck MacLean, titled Justice For All: Repairing American Criminal Justice, which was just published by Routledge.


Professor Adam Lamparello has been invited to speak on the death penalty at the Academy of Criminal Justice Science's Annual Meeting, from March 15-19, 2022 in Las Vegas.


The Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council recently awarded to Dr. Sandra Godwin, and her co-author Helen Matthew Lewis, the Award for Excellence in Documenting Georgia's History. The award came as a result of the authors' new book A White Liberal College President in the Jim Crow South: Guy Herbert Wells and the YWCA at Georgia State College for Women, 1934-1953. The volume was published by Mercer University Press in 2021.

In addition, the same book has been nominated for two other awards by the Southern Historical Association and Georgia Historical Society


Congratulations to Government and Sociology professors Dr. Carrie Cook and Dr. Sara Doude on having their article published now on Taylor & Francis Online. The article is called "Sexual Minority Vulnerability and Fear of Victimization" and looks at a rarely researched area. The data used in it was collected from GC students.

The abstract for the article can be found at the following link:


Dr. Larry Elowitz Donates to GCinDC Internship Program 
The Government & Sociology Department of Georgia College and State University received a generous donation from Dr. Larry Elowitz, former Government and Sociology Department Chair. Dr. Elowitz was the first professor to fill the position as Chair of  the Carl Vinson Professor of Political Science at Georgia College and State University in 1983 and remained in the position until 2010. Dr. Elowitz received his B.Ed. and M.A. from the University of Miami (Fla.) and his Ph.D. in Political Science/International Relations from the University of Florida. He taught courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels: Introduction to American Government, American Foreign Policy, International Problems, Terrorism, National Security Policy, the Presidency, and Environmental Politics. Dr. Elowitz was Visiting Professor of National Security Affairs at the United States Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, AlabamaDr. Kelley Ditzel has been nominated by Georgia College for a Fellowship at Nielsen Center for the Liberal Arts at Eckerd College. Selected faculty will join sustained, cross-disciplinary, small group, professional development encounters in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2022.  


Dr. Sara Doude and Dr. Carrie Cook publish article titled “Sexual Minority Vulnerability and Fear of Victimization”. The article examines the shadow hypothesis, or the effect of specific types of fear on generalized fear of crime among sexual minorities. 


Dr James Daria, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, recently won a research grant to study the following "The Garínagu in Georgia: Garífuna Migration, Displacement, and Diaspora from Central America to the US Southeast."


Scott Buchanan's book cover

Dr. Scott Buchanan recently co-edited a volume on the 2020 presidential election in the South. Lexington Books released the book in September 2021.


Follow us on Facebook to view all the opportunities the department is offering.

Opportunities for Current Students

The criminal justice and criminology departments at the University of North Carolina- Charlotte (UNC-Charlotte) and the University of South Carolina (UofSC) have each been awarded National Science Foundation grants to establish Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs.

University of North Carolina, Charlotte -   REU Site: Crime Analytics

The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte is seeking applications for its REU Site: Data Science and Crime Analytics. The REU site brings together 9 selected undergraduate students to work with faculty from multiple departments to work on a research team during the 10-week program. Students will conduct research, attend workshops, and receive a stipend ($5,000), travel ($500) and food ($1,000) allowances, and university housing during the 2021 summer program. See attachment for more details.

Students can also obtain more information on the Crime Analytics REU program and how to apply at:

For further inquiries about the Crime Analytics REU program, feel free to contact the Program Director at


University of South Carolina - REU Site: Disparities in the Criminal Justice System  (REU-DCJS)

The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina is seeking applications for its REU Site- Disparities in the Criminal Justice System. The REU site brings together 9 selected undergraduate students with graduate students and faculty in the department to work on one of three research teams during the 10-week program (May 23 – Jul 31, 2021). Students will conduct research, attend workshops, and receive a stipend ($5,000), travel ($500) and food ($1,000) allowances, and university housing during the 2021 summer program. See attachment for more details.

Students can also obtain more information on the REU-DCJS program and how to apply at:

For further inquiries about the REU-DCJS program, feel free to contact the program at

Employment Opportunities

Check back soon.

Message from the Chair

The Department of Government and Sociology at Georgia College is committed to providing all of its students with an education that offers in-depth study and a breath of experience through our programs.  Our faculty and curriculum focuses on engaging and challenging students to grow both academically and personally as they prepare for careers in their chosen fields or by continuing their studies at the graduate level.   The undergraduate programs include the BA major and minor in Criminal Justice, Political Science and Sociology, and a minor in Anthropology.  At the graduate level we offer two degrees, the Master of Public Administration and the Master of Science in Criminal Justice.  

With 25 dedicated full-time faculty, the department prides itself on promoting a student-centered learning environment in pursuit of intellectual excellence.  As active scholars in their field, our faculty have been recognized with outstanding teaching, research and service awards.  Our programs share a commitment to the highest standards of academic quality and faculty work closely with students as teacher-scholars to advance their goals.  By embracing our liberal arts mission, we strive to create an academic environment that aims to assist the development of life-long and independent learners. 

Our students have opportunities to become involved in undergraduate research, public service projects, and internships.  They learn in and beyond the classroom through civic engagement, study abroad, work on archaeology sites, etc.  Several courses offer students opportunities to work with local citizens and public school students in citizenship and community-based programming.

Once again, welcome to the Department of Government and Sociology and on behalf of the faculty I invite you to contact us with any questions and encourage you to learn more about our work!

Scott E. Buchanan, Ph.D.
Department Chair

Department Student News

Anthropology minor Lauren Stone presented her ethnographic research project titled "Homemaking Through Green Spaces Among Refugees in Clarkston, Georgia" at the fourth annual "Posters at the Georgia State Capitol" event on March 30, 2022. The event was organized by the Georgia Undergraduate Research Collective and highlighted selected research projects from undergraduate students from colleges and universities throughout the state of Georgia. 


Political science major, Mr. Stelious Spirou, is presenting a research paper titled, "Rational Choice Theory, Social Background, and COVID Pandemic Attitudes," at the 2022 Southwestern Social Science Association meeting in San Antonio, Texas in April.


Anthropology minors Ren Stone and Julia Devane navigating a kayak during their recent ethnographic research on tourism and sustainability in southern Belize. 

2 Anthropology minors navigating a boat



In February 2021, two of Georgia College's mock trial teams competed in the American Mock Trial Association's regional tournament and were very successful. 

Team A, which consisted of Lillian Renaud, Daria Brown, and William Cook, defeated Boston College and the University of Mississippi. In addition, Lillian and Daria won Outstanding Attorney awards.

Team B, which consisted of Jordan Bell, James Robertson, and Carson Schuler, was also successful and on day two defeated Boston College. In addition, Samuel Tucker won an Outstanding Witness award.

gcsu's february 2021 mock trial team
Criminal Justice Podcast

Voices of the Returned: Life After Incarceration is a podcast created by Criminal Justice Associate Professor Dr. Alesa Liles and her students. The podcast features formerly incarcerated individuals and others impacted by mass incarceration. To listen and learn more, visit here