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Haley Baker poses for photo at her workstation

Haley Baker

“The whole sociology staff is amazing. I wouldn’t be here without them. They have really helped me home in on what I really care about, and they are able to give you the extra bit that you need. They’re always open and willing to speak to anyone. That’s amazing.”
Major: Sociology
Hometown: Clarksville, Tennessee
Involvement: Sociology Club, the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Kappa Delta sociology honor society, tutor

Haley Baker’s biggest moment at Austin Peay might have happened during her first semester when she decided to take Introduction to Sociology. Baker hadn’t declared a major, and she wouldn’t pick sociology for another year, but that hybrid online and on-campus class helped shape her future.

“It was a different class because it was their first class, I think, where they made it so every professor in the sociology department taught one specific thing, so for every section of the course, they had a different professor, and I think that really brought me in,” Baker said. “I was drawn to sociology because I knew there was something wrong – with social inequalities and social stratification – and I needed to know what it was.”


A year later, while she was trying to pick a major, “I talked to my friends to see what I actually was interested in, then I remembered that class and how it impacted me and had a very strong effect on everything I thought about.”

Now as she enters her last semester at Austin Peay, she is conducting research with sociology associate professor Dr. Ying Ma about first-generation immigrant students and their persistence to continue college.

Baker also had the chance to present the beginnings of her research at the 2017 Mid-South Sociological Association annual conference in Chattanooga.

“I love the subject and the ability to be one-on-one with my professor, her guiding me along the very real process,” Baker said.

Baker’s last semester will be entirely online.

“The online classes have helped because of the flexibility,” she said. “They have given me the opportunity to pick up an extra job. It’s really nice to have a full and open work schedule and be able to be a full-time student.”