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Press Release

Barbara Laskin

Macalester Sociology Senior wins Midwest Sociologists for Women in Society Paper Competition
Third time in four years a Macalester Sociology senior
has won this award

March 29, 2010 – St. Paul, Minn.– Macalester senior Sociology major Alexandra Zoellner has won the 2010 Midwest Sociologists for Women in Society Undergraduate Paper Competition for her paper “‘I’m a Community Clinic Kind of Gal’: Coping with Emotional Labor in Community-Based Organizing.” Zoellner will receive the award and present her paper during the joint annual meetings of the Midwest Sociological Society and North Central Sociological Association on April 2 in Chicago.

In her paper, Zoellner examined distinct ways that workers in a mission-driven reproductive health clinic experience emotions in their work. In contrast to previous research that examined workers in service industries who have to manage emotions to please customers, Zoellner studied reproductive health workers who were drawn to their job for political, rather than financial, reasons. To collect her data, Zoellner interviewed approximately half the staff of a community, reproductive health clinic. Her findings showed three separate ways in which workers drew on emotions in their work: interacting with patients, supporting other staff, and coping with a sometimes hostile political environment. Furthermore, she found that recent staff cutbacks significantly altered workers’ ability to succeed in managing emotions in the workplace.

Zoellner’s award marks the third time in four years that a Macalester Sociology senior has won the Midwest Sociologists for Women in Society Undergraduate Paper Competition.

For further information, contact Erik Larson (, 651-696-6309).   

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,958 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement.