Student Star: Sean Chinn

Sociology major ready to educate the next generation

Name: Sean Chinn
Major: Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
Graduation: Spring 2013

“I am elated to serve as an educator. … The question I have for my future students is, 'Are you ready for Mr. Chinn?”

Volunteer. Tutor. Mentor. In his four years as a student at Florida State University, Sean Chinn Jr. has come to fully embrace any activity that helps others advance in life. Not only does he practice “giving back” with passion, but is known for encouraging others to do the same.

“By motivating my peers to get active, I have seen them join service groups, go on service trips, join registered student organizations, study abroad in Japan and even gain internship experiences,” Chinn said. “I am happy that my peers find me to be the ‘go-to’ person for campus involvement.”

During his years at Florida State, Chinn demonstrated leadership in the field of education in a number of ways, including his service as a member of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy’s Student Leadership Council.

“While serving on the Student Leadership Council, I have been able to provide out-of-the-classroom learning experiences and opportunities for social science students at FSU,” Chinn said. “For instance, the 2013 Internship Festival, one of the Student Leadership Council’s most successful events, connected social science students with local employers for internship opportunities. The feedback from the business community and student body was very positive and showed a high demand for subsequent Internship Festivals.”

Annette Schwabe, the director of Undergraduate Studies in Florida State’s Department of Sociology, nominated Chinn for the Student Leadership Council and was his instructor for three of his courses — Medical Sociology, Social Problems and the Sociology of Lifestyle capstone course for outstanding majors.

“Sean’s thoughtfulness and perceptiveness fuel his effective leadership,” Schwabe said. “He uses his incisive sociological insights to draw people together to solve problems. Sean is also remarkably creative, personable and energetic. He will surely go on to make positive change in the communities in which he works well into the future.”

Chinn also served as the program assistant for the Professional Opportunities Program for Students Inc., an educational nonprofit program. The POPS program exists in six other cities in Florida. However, Chinn and POPS District Director Regina Bryant worked tirelessly to launch the Tallahassee chapter in 2011. At POPS, Chinn taught professional development to high school students throughout the school year and helped them find paid internships during the summer.

“I absolutely loved my job at the POPS program because I was able to spend an entire year transforming my high school students into young professionals,” he said.

Elsewhere on campus, Chinn single-handedly organized a “Clean Up College Avenue” project for the university’s 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. He served as a volunteer tutor for an after-school program at Grace Mission Episcopal Church in Tallahassee and volunteered at the Salvation Army, helping to organize clothes and other donated goods for the needy.

In addition, Chinn served as the assistant coordinator for the university’s Youth Mentorship Program. In this role, he mentored students at Pace Secondary School and Ghazvini Learning Center, two alternative schools in Tallahassee, and coordinated enrichment activities to help his fellow mentors enhance their mentoring skills.

Chinn also served as a teacher’s assistant for the university’s Social Justice Living-Learning Community. Through his high level of involvement at Florida State, Chinn was asked to become a Seminole Torchbearer, a Garnet and Gold Scholar and a Service Scholar.

In his years at Florida State, Chinn performed more than 400 hours of community service to the Tallahassee community and will graduate with an Undergraduate Certificate in Leadership Studies from the Center for Leadership and Social Change.

With an eye toward helping to end poverty, Chinn has long-term plans to use his degree to establish a K-12 academy to give the next generation more options through education. In the short term, Chinn has been accepted as a 2013 member of Teach for America and will be stationed in Miami as a 6-12 grade English teacher.

“I am elated to serve as an educator,” Chinn said. “As a first generation college student and sociologist, I have learned about external factors that are associated with securing a good education such as race, class and socio-economic status. I will work toward closing the achievement gap by tailoring information to address the students’ specific needs.

“There is a fine line between a teacher and an educator,” he said. “A teacher relays information to the pupil, but an educator masters the art of tailoring information to meet the pupil’s needs. Educators are the true engines of learning! The question I have for my future students is, ‘Are you ready for Mr. Chinn?'”

Produced by the offices of Information Technology Services, the Provost, Student Affairs, Undergraduate Studies and University Communications.