Alumni Spotlight: River Price and his Work as a Social/Clinical Research Specialist

The Department of Sociology continues to highlight its recent graduates' success by introducing River Price. River graduated from App State in 2018 with a BS degree in Sociology with a concentration in Social Inequalities and a minor in Philosophy. Here are his answers to questions about his success since graduation and how sociology has assisted with his accomplishments. 

1. What have you been doing since you left App State? 

I graduated from App State in December 2018. I worked in retail in Blowing Rock until July 2019 for the remainder of my lease in Boone. I moved back home to the Triangle after leaving Boone and briefly worked as a courier for an asphalt company while I applied for jobs more aligned with my long-term career goals. In January 2020, I started working as a Social/Clinical Research Assistant at the Collaborative Studies Coordinating Center (CSCC) with the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill. As an RA, I worked on a National Institute of Health-funded project researching chronic low back pain called "BACPAC." My roles on the project included helping prepare presentations, supporting committees and working groups, developing and testing forms, maintaining the MS Teams for the project, and managing the data access and publication request process.

In early 2022, I was hired as a Social/Clinical Research Specialist at the CSCC. I continued working on BACPAC, but I joined a team researching severe asthma (PrecISE). As a Research Specialist, my role expanded to include more work with the regulatory side of research, safety monitoring, data management, and user account access. I was also recently involved with launching a large trial for BACPAC called the BEST (Biomarkers for Evaluating Spine Treatments) Trial.

2. How did sociology at App State help or prepare you for your recent successes?

My experience working as a Research Assistant for Dr. Robert Perdue in the Sociology Department at App State was instrumental in getting my job at CSCC. My research-centered courses while obtaining my Sociology degree also gave me a background in research concepts and best practices for surveys/forms that were key to my success working at the CSCC. I have been involved with patient advisory groups, and my background in sociology prepared me for applying the context of patients' perspectives as we listened to their feedback on what is important to them. Lastly, I have been allowed to work on a couple of hiring committees, and my courses in sociology helped me be cognizant of how biases can affect the hiring process for new employees.

3. What advice would you give new sociology majors moving forward in our program and into the job market?

I would emphasize the importance of getting as much experience outside the classroom (e.g., internships, research assistantships, independent studies, etc.) as possible. Most people applying for professional jobs already have college degrees, so you must make yourself stand out from other experiences. Additionally, the internship I took while at App State was with Western Youth Network, and that experience made me realize that working in that field may not be the best fit for me. I later worked as a research assistant for Dr. Perdue and realized that was much more in line with what I enjoyed and wanted to do for a living. Experience outside the classroom can reveal what you enjoy or don't enjoy, which is crucial for getting a job.

Congratulations to River, and the Department of Sociology wishes you continued success!

River Price
Published: Oct 10, 2022 9:53am