What department are you a graduate student in?
I am a graduate student in the Sociology department.
Why did you decide to go to graduate school?
I decided to go to graduate school to investigate how our understanding of gender affects our political systems and processes, and to pursue a career in academia. I had just finished my bachelor’s degree in sociology and gender studies at the University of South Florida, and graduate school seemed like the next step for my career.
Did your interests change throughout your program?
My interests changed quite drastically due to the influence of my fantastic advisor. I became far more interested in social movements and political sociology, and have now shifted my focus to understanding how identities related to social movements and political philosophies are created and maintained in online spaces. Additionally, I have focused on studying extremist groups, particularly male supremacists, and I have had the pleasure of serving as a co-founder for a research institute on the topic of male supremacist movements (the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism).
What do you want to do with your advanced degree?
I would love to use my degree to teach political sociology courses at the university level, and to continue pursuing research on the impact of online discourse on political processes.
Pierce Dignam is a Ph.D. candidate in the FSU Department of Sociology. He studies the intersection of social movements, gender, collective identity, and politics in the digital age. You can learn more about Pierce here.