Ronald Pikes, who graduated from the sociology master's program in 2015, will be pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of California, Davis in the fall of 2021. From there he hopes to teach and use his research and music interests to help assist independent music artists.
Since he graduated in 2015, Pikes has been very busy pursing these music interests. He interned in NYC for a company that used an online platform matching musicians with performance venues. From there he moved back to his home in Flint, MI, where he did marketing work with an independent record label and trained as an audio engineer and thus began recording and mixing records. At this time, he also worked at a children’s home as a quality assurance coordinator. His music pursuits led him to LA where he assisted a few independent musicians with their businesses by providing templates and checklists as well as production and marketing. For a steady income Pikes found a job teaching remedial education classes. He currently also is involved in founding a book club, writing a series of DIY personal finance articles, co-producing an interlude on a recently released hip-hop album, developing the marketing strategy for a small podcast, and teaching music theory one-on-one online.
Pikes has much to say about the program at ISU that influenced his journey. “Going to Illinois State University for a master's degree in sociology was one of the best educational decisions I have made in life. The program led to opportunities that helped me flourish as both a teacher's assistant (TA) and a student.” He specifically recognizes his TA advisor, Dr. Mike Dougherty, and other department professors, Dr. Willetts, Dr. Pitluck, and Dr. Sprecher. Pikes is especially grateful for his thesis committee, Dr. Burr, Dr. Wellin and Dr. Hunter for all their advice, instruction, guidance and encouragement, specifically the courage to follow and incorporate his interests with sociology.
Pikes explains, “With help from the faculty, and especially my thesis committee, I developed the foundations for thoughts and ideas that I will continue to pursue at the University of California, Davis. I cannot imagine there would have been a master's in sociology program better suited for me than the program at ISU.”