CURF Introduction!

Hi everyone! My name is Devin Potts and I am one of the recipients of the CURF grant this year. Currently, I am a junior here at Pitt majoring in Emergency Medicine and minoring in Sociology. One fun fact about me is that I am a huge musical theater nerd and have been to 42 performances as of September 2023.

Earlier this year, I began working with Dr. Nathan Katz in the sociology department on a project on how White Supremacists use and cultivate the punk music scene to foster and promote their ideals. In order to conduct our research, we utilized a qualitative research methodology in which we analyzed interview transcripts of amateur made fan magazines (fanzines) of punk bands in White Supremacist scenes.

We feel this research is extremely important to the world of sociology because rather than examining White Supremacist music by focusing on recruitment, we look at how they construct their internal culture. This differentiates our approach as we tackle the subject from a completely different angle and therefor; open a door for scholars to further elaborate on the origin of modern day white supremacy.

Although I’m not a Sociology major with explicit research interests in these types of fields, this project has been a great introduction to the world of Social Science Research. Currently, I’m a student paramedic and a huge part of the EMS field involves seeing different type of demographics and social situations. With this project giving me a solid introduction into sociological research, I hope to take the skills I’ve learned and start applying them to curating projects of my own that examine the EMS System and uncovering hidden biases EMS professionals have when it comes to treating patients of various races, socioeconomic status, Sexual and Gender Identities, and unconventional family models. As mentioned before, the CURF will help me achieve these goals by allowing me to apply academically learned research methods to real life situations.

Also, while my research is very different from others apart of this cohort, I would like to elaborate on the importance of Social Science research as a whole. Research in this field allows us to understand the formulation of society. Much like STEM, we seek to uncover the hidden truth behind how humans function and key processes that allow us to do so. It’s fascinating in some capacities as there are key social concepts one would never even think of that explain why humans act in a way with others. Throughout the duration of these blog posts, I hope to share some of these with you and hope you’ll find the same interest as I did when I first started. Thank you and I look forward to sharing more with you!

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