For sociology instructor Kristen Callais, there’s power that comes from one reaching out into local communities today that can help shape a better tomorrow.
Callais believes that discussion amongst people asking simple questions can sometimes be the solution to solving personal and interpersonal problems throughout communities. This is why she enjoys teaching students who will soon graduate and go out into the world determined to make a difference.
“I lovebeing a social, and I honestly never thought that I would ever be teaching., Callais said.
As an adjunct instructor in the sociology department, she teaches Intro. to Sociology, Intro. to Social Work, Sociology of Aging and Community Development.
The impact that college professors make on students follows them throughout their entire professional careers. Callais feels that teaching gives her a better appreciation for not only her field of work, but also for the future social workers whom she has had the chance to impact.
“I can’t explain how excited I get when I receive student evaluations at the end of each semester,” Callais said. “Much like in social work, teaching is exciting knowing that you’re empowering people, that will be going out and empowering others.”
Although born in Shreveport, Callais moved to Thibodaux at the age of two years old and always lived across the street from Nicholls. She earned a bachelor of Science in General Family and Consumer Sciences with a minor in Psychology and Addictive disorders. She continued her education, going on to receive her Masters of Social Work from Tulane University. Since earning her degrees, she has ventured into many different areas within social work. She is presently a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer and a Parent Education Program facilitator,. Along with hthis she is a member of the Rotary Club of Thibodaux, Nicholls State University Alumni Board and National Association of Social Workers.
In the near future, Callias hopes to add classes and programs to expose students to valuable and educational environments in order to gain what she calls “priceless experience.”
Callias explains the possibility of having a positive community development program, such as The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, here at Nicholls as a class for students is something the Thibodaux community could benefit from.
According to the program’s site, The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program is an educational program that involves the practice of bringing incarcerated and non-incarcerated people together for engaged and informed dialogues. This allows for transformative learning experiences that invite participants to take leadership in addressing crime, justice and other issues of social concern.
The program would be part of the 300-level class, and would aim to strengthen conversation between offenders and students at the same time which allows all participants to encounter each other as equals. She hopes to have the class and program merge by Spring 2018.
Her advice to students is to find out what works best for them while still in school, and that no amount of experience is too much.
“I am all about strength perspective. You find a strength and you work with that,” said Callais.