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Sociology Ph.D. Candidate New PRODiG Fellow at SUNY Plattsburgh

prodig lee thorpe

A doctoral candidate in sociology at West Virginia University is the latest SUNY Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion and Growth — PRODiG — fellow to take up residence at SUNY Plattsburgh.

Lee Thorpe Jr. joined the SUNY Plattsburgh Department of Sociology this fall where he plans to complete his dissertation by next spring, he said.

“My dissertation focuses on relationship formation for LGBTQ+ individuals,” Thorpe said. “After that, I plan to continue conducting research in the areas of social psychology, sexuality, and gender.”

He became interested in the PRODiG fellowship to help him “become the best academic, and sociologist, I can be. I hope to encourage sociology students, as well as those majoring in other disciplines, to continue their studies in sociology and understand the benefits of sociology.

“To me, sociology is a way of viewing life. If students can understand how sociology enables them to view their social world critically and engage those critical thinking practices into their everyday life, then I believe I have changed the world in some sense,” he said. “If I can engage students to a point where they consider majoring or minoring in sociology, and/or continuing their education after the undergraduate level, then I have made a difference.”

Thorpe, originally from Brentwood, Long Island, earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Stony Brook in 2012 and his master’s in humanities and social thought from New York University three years later. His primary areas of research and teaching interests are in sexualities, gender, social psychology and sociological theory; his dissertation focuses on the formation of LGBTQ+ relationships and the factors that influence maintenance and/or dissolution of these relationships.

PRODiG was created to increase representation of historically underrepresented faculty at the state university system, including underrepresented minority faculty and women faculty of all races in STEM fields.

According to SUNY, the program’s goals include introducing early-career diverse faculty to the unique aspects of a SUNY comprehensive college, providing mentorship and support to increase future success and retention of students, and increasing opportunities for existing faculty and students to work with underrepresented early-career faculty, enriching each campus and creating a collaborative network across the state.

The first fellow at SUNY Plattsburgh, Dr. Samantha White, came to campus as part of the first round of competitive funding in fall 2020.

Thorpe said that following his time as a SUNY Plattsburgh fellow, he looks forward to continuing his academic career, teaching in a setting similar to the SUNY system.

“I believe this fellowship will be beneficial in that it will help me learn my role as an academic, provide me an opportunity to understand the culture of a smaller, comprehensive college, and allow me to engage students in a setting I previously had not experienced,” he said. “As a PRODiG fellow, I have been given an opportunity that many have not and I hope to demonstrate to other students who come from a similar background that they, too, can achieve something great.”

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