Brian Knop – Alumnus Spotlight
Survey Statistician, Demographic and Decennial Research Group, U.S. Census Bureau
Hometown: Brandon, MS
BA in Sociology, minor in English (2009)
MA in Sociology (2011)
Why and when did you decide to major in sociology?
I decided to major in sociology my junior year at UM. I originally planned to minor in sociology after taking an intro course and finding it interesting. The more sociology courses I took, the more I got excited about studying it and couldn’t get enough.
Please tell us some significant accomplishments/favorite memories from your time at UM.
I got to learn from amazing professors and make some life-long friendships on a beautiful campus. I got the opportunity to be a part of the steel drum band in the music department and some other great communities on campus.
How would you summarize your educational/career path since UM?
My time at UM led me to getting a PhD in sociology from Florida State University. The sociology faculty at UM were incredibly helpful in the daunting task of applying for graduate school programs. This led me to my career as a demographer for the U.S. Census Bureau. As a demographer, I research trends related to families in the U.S. I write reports, papers, and create data visuals on topics such as fatherhood, same-sex couples, and child well-being. I and my colleagues use research to better understand various populations in the U.S. and also to find ways to improve our data. I love my work and am so thankful for the academic and professional development that I received as a student at UM.
What is the value of studying sociology in today’s world?
Sociology exercises a lot of different muscles: research and data work, writing, critical thinking, theorizing, empathizing. These skills make you a strong job candidate and an informed citizen and member of society.