valpolife logo laportecountylife logo nwindianalife logo Share good news

PNW Grad Propelled by Volunteering and Activism

As a scholar of sociology, an activist and a volunteer, Kirsten Markusic immersed herself in her local environments to make a positive impact.

The Whiting resident discovered stepping out of her comfort zone and expanding her perspective to be integral to her academic achievements.

Making her mark on and off campus
While attending Purdue Northwest, Markusic served in the PNW Social Justice Club since 2015. During that time, she was able to grow the membership of the organization, and she gained first-hand knowledge figuring out how to organize and lead others.

“Learning how to get people to be involved and interested is a huge challenge,” she said of her experience organizing a student demonstration on the Hammond campus.

In addition to her campus organization involvement, Markusic spent her free time volunteering locally with the East Side Community Council in Hammond, a group that helps at-risk youth and provides positive community events.

Visiting Cuba
Markusic took advantage of an opportunity to study in Cuba for one week in March 2017. The class spent time experiencing the culture, learning about the revolution and social movements, and discovering the environment of the country from a local perspective.

“Studying abroad in Cuba was a big deal and opened the door for me to go back,” said Markusic. “I loved it.”

Upon her return to the United States, she was looking for the next step in advancing her academic career and found a conference presentation to be a logical step. Coincidentally, the Association of Humanist Sociology conference was taking place later that same year in Havana, Cuba.

Her drive to explore her field gave her the opportunity to revisit Cuba, present her research on sociology and meet with like-minded scholars in the same field of study.

“This was an exciting moment from which I learned a lot,” she said. “I met people associated with humanist sociology who strive to make the world a better place.”

“It really validated my aspirations,” she said of her experience at the conference.

Interacting in the classroom
“She did so well in my classes that I chose her to be a supplemental instructor,” said Professor of Sociology Alan Spector.

In recalling how she organized study groups for students, introduced new information through hand-outs and created study guides for students, he said, “Of the many students I have had assisting my class, she was one of the best.”

By expanding her horizons and taking the initiative to research her field first-hand, Markusic reflects upon her four years at PNW positively. “The faculty is always accessible and supportive,” she said. “Students here want to make the world a better place.”

Markusic graduated from Purdue Northwest with a Bachelor of Science in sociology with a minor in history at the Saturday, Dec. 9 commencement ceremonies on the Hammond campus. She looks forward to continuing her education at PNW and pursuing her master’s degree in History.

Purdue University Northwest
Purdue University Northwest (PNW) is a student-centered university that values academic excellence, supports growth and celebrates diversity. Located in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago, PNW fosters a vibrant academic community through high quality and engaging undergraduate and graduate education. For more information about PNW, visit

Copyright © 2018 Ideas in Motion Media