Sociology Seniors Partner with OU, OSU Graduate Students

In the fall of 2011, sociology students in the senior capstone course were asked to evaluate a new after-school bike club program that a local non-profit, Tulsa Hub, hopes to conduct at Kendall-Whittier Elementary School. Tulsa Hub’s ultimate goal at Kendall-Whittier is to encourage children to bike to school under the supervision of parents, teachers, and volunteers.

In order to undertake a full study of the feasibility of students in the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood biking to school, a collaborative team of graduate students from the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and the senior sociology students from the University of Tulsa was assembled. While the students from OU and OSU gathered geographic data about the neighborhood, the TU students charted student transportation data, and interviewed parents and local police officers about their conceptions of how safe it is for children to walk or bike to school.

Students from all three universities presented their data and analyses to representatives from Kendall-Whittier, the City of Tulsa, and Tulsa Hub at a symposium in December. The results of the study conducted by the TU students will help Tulsa Hub craft a plan to educate and build support for the program among teachers, parents, and local law enforcement.

The sociology seniors had the opportunity to use data collection and research skills developed throughout their undergraduate careers in a real-world setting. They also gained valuable experience in managing a large project with collaborators from several different agencies. As a class, members of the capstone course agreed that their experiences working on this project prepared them for tasks and projects that await them in their post-graduation employment.