Discovery in Sociology


Sociology students work in close, active collaboration with professors at Whittier College.

Together, this team of learners conducts sociology research projects that push the boundaries of knowledge and inquiry.

A music festival at nightDeep Dive into Music Festivals

The Life is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas draws more than 100,000 people a year. About that many flood the Coachella music festival every day of its two-weekend run. Cities pop up overnight, pulsating with music and rhythm. But in this self-contained whirlwind of pop idols and hip-hop legends, in a swirling mass of fans from all walks of life, do people find harmony?

Colin James wanted to know, and his sociology studies at Whittier have given him the tools to investigate. Sociology examines how people relate to themselves and to the world around them, and music festivals create one extraordinary environment. Using one to analyze the other combines James’ passions into exciting research that asks the question: How do music festivals build a cohesive community, and what role does social media and technology play in that sense of community?

Through copious interviews with festival attendees, Colin examined how their communities form, how people can feel included or excluded, and what distinguishes these festivals from one another. Colin’s which he hopes includes helping produce festivals where everyone feels comfortable—in harmony.

Research in the Community

Students start making real impacts while they're enrolled at Whittier. Through the approaches to social research methods course, students break into teams of three or four to conduct a pilot research project in partnership with a community agency.

For example, students have worked with Whittier First Day Coalition on homelessness; the Conversation Corps of Long Beach on work, conservation, and education; Boys and Girls Club of Whittier on after-school programs; Bridge of Faith on foster care; and the L.A. County Department of Public Health on health and wellness.

These collaborative research projects develop students' familiarity with their community, ways to serve, and the opportunities for further internships and employment available at local organizations.


To learn more about internship opportunities in sociology, visit The Weingart Center for Career and Professional Development.