skip to main content
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
University of Mississippi

Elizabeth Taylor – Alumna Spotlight

Elizabeth TaylorDoctoral Student in Social Work, University of Missouri


Home Town: Whitesboro, TX
Transfer Student from Grayson County College
BA in Sociology, minor in Society and Health (2018)


“A Social Problems course at my community college inspired me to use social research to produce positive change in the world.  When I served as International Vice President of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society someone convinced me that sociology would provide the knowledge and skills to build comprehensive solutions.”

As a transfer student from Grayson County College, Taylor joined the Honors College in her junior year and received the coveted Barksdale Award – $5,000 for a project of research or humanitarian effort.  She conducted qualitative research on the interaction between policy, organizations, and social actors within the field of sexual abuse.  She traveled to Dublin, Ireland, to interview employees of a nonprofit that provides services to survivors of sex trafficking and prostitution.  She interviewed a sexual assault advocate in the US South who works primarily with the LGBTQ community.  In her ethnographic study of the organizations, Taylor clearly saw that researchers and practitioners exist in silos and she wants to bridge this gap.

Taylor has several possible career paths in mind, from the NGO world to a governmental agency combating human trafficking.  In later years she wants to work in academia, educating and mentoring future leaders.  “Ultimately, the goal is the same: to influence positive social change through social scientific research, empirical evidence, and data-driven policy.”

After earning her MA in Sociology at the University of Missouri, Taylor is a doctoral student in the MSW/PhD joint degree program from the University of Missouri. Her broad research interests include criminal and juvenile justice, treatment for co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders within corrections, specialized treatment courts, trauma-informed care, and evidenced-based social policy. She is currently working as a graduate research assistant for the Prison Research and Innovation Network (PRIN), a multi-site community based participatory research project that aims to investigate climate and culture within different prison settings. Research teams across the country will use the data collected to inform the development of interventions and policies aimed at improving climate and culture within the prison environment.  She is also completing an advanced practicum with the Division of Offender Rehabilitative Services within the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Why study sociology at UM?
“The department is full of dedicated faculty who are leading researchers, phenomenal teachers, and transformative mentors. There are endless opportunities to engage in scholarship and broaden your research skills.  I worked on various community-based research projects that were extremely rewarding and instilled in me the value of a collaborative approach.”