Redefining the Classroom

Third LSSU sociology student in three years earns state recognition

Posted: November 30th, 2012

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Another Lake Superior State University sociology student has received statewide recognition for undergraduate research conducted as part of her academic program. Whitney Brooks, a senior sociology major from Millersburg, received the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Paper Award during the annual conference of the Michigan Sociological Association this fall.

The award is given annually to one student in the state of Michigan who demonstrates excellence in quality and implementation of the research design, significance of topic, analysis of findings, discussion of implications, and clarity and cogency of writing. Brooks’ research project, which quantified the effects of differing parenting styles on the sexual attitudes and behaviors of young adults, was advised by LSSU Sociology Prof. Kirk Mauldin Ph.D.

“The study found that parenting styles do not affect the sexual beliefs and actions of children as much as how you communicate with them about sex,” said Brooks. “While kids who perceived their parents as being more controlling did tend to wait until they were a bit older before having their first sexual experiences, it didn’t seem to have an impact on their beliefs or ultimate behaviors. An interesting finding to come out of this study was that the marital status of parents didn’t seem to affect the age at which their children first engaged in sexual interactions. Ultimately, the study seems to suggest that communication with your kids is one of the more important things you can do for them.”

OUTSTANDING WORK -- Whitney Brooks poses with a citation from the Michigan Sociological Association that she earned with a research project she conducted while studying at LSSU. (LSSU/John Shibley)

Click here for a print-quality version of this photograph.

“This honor is the third state-level research award given to LSSU sociology students in the last few years and we are very excited to have Ms. Brooks continue to validate our focus on undergraduate research,” said Mauldin.

In 2011, Yiliang (Eva) Wen, of Shaanxi Province, China, received the MSA’s Outstanding Student Research Paper Award, and in 2010, Kathleen Holstege of Sault Ste. Marie was recognized as the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Student by the Michigan Academy of Sciences, Arts and Humanities.

Brooks works for Great Lakes Recover Centers as a primary clinician at the women's New Hope House in Sault Ste. Marie.

"I love my job very much,” she said. “I truly enjoy working with women and helping them recover from their addictions so they may have the healthy life they desire and need."

No stranger to hard work, Brooks said it paid off as she balanced her studies with work.

“I am extremely thrilled and honored to receive this award and am grateful to have had the opportunity to compete for it,” she said. “It is very rewarding to see that all the hard work I put into my thesis project paid off! I am very excited to see where this will take me from here.”

For more information on LSSU sociology, visit LSSU Academics. -LSSU-

CONTACT: Tom Pink, 906-635-2315,; John Shibley, 635-2314,; Prof. Kirk Mauldin, 635-2156,