Frantasia Hill – Sociology


Katie Fox, Contributing Writer

Coming into college, Frantasia Hill thought she wanted to study something within the sphere of health, but she wasn’t interested in the natural sciences. She explored her options, considering political science, religion, education and more. However, after taking Contemporary Families with Dr. Catherine Harnois, Hill’s interest in sociology was sparked.

“After reading her midterm, I reached out to tell her how impressed I was,” Dr. Harnois recalled.

Another professor, Dr. Saylor Breckenridge, can attest to this level of Hill’s intuition. Breckenridge remembered, “She enrolled in my Social Statistics course as a sophomore, and right away, stood out as someone with keen attention to sociological science and great skill with data analysis.”

After loving the class and the faculty, Hill knew sociology was the major for her.

Hill will graduate with a concentration in the social determinants of health and well-being, which she says is helping her transition to her next phase of life as she will pursue a master’s degree in Public Health at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health with a concentration in health behavior. This perfectly caters to her interests of food insecurity and health inequities, and Hill is excited for her plans to prepare her for whatever future career awaits.

Faculty in the sociology department regard Hill highly, selecting her as a recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Student Award, which is given annually to a sociology major who “embodies excellence in coursework, makes consistent thoughtful contributions to class discussions, and puts sociology into action in extracurricular work,” according to the department website. Outside of the classroom, Hill worked as an undergraduate research assistant with a Wake Forest law professor when she was considering law school, and more recently with Dr. Ana Wahl from the sociology department.

Dr. Hana Brown, one of Hill’s mentors in the sociology department, praised Hill, writing, “Frantasia is an intellectual powerhouse.  She is one of those unique students who can see the connections between very different streams of research and who can bridge seemingly disparate fields of study through her own theorizing.  On top of her academic excellence, Frantasia is deeply committed to using her talents and energy to shape the public good.  She has already accomplished so much in that regard.  I’m looking forward to following her very bright future.”

Aside from academics, Hill has dipped her toes into just about everything: BSA, Students for Education Reform, Campus Kitchen, Campus Garden, Sister Circle WFU and First in the Forest. Hill is also a Magnolia Scholar and the chair of a new committee tasked with managing and distributing restitution funds for the Episcopal Student Fellowship. In addition, she started the Student Advisory Committee for the Center for the Advancement of Teaching with fellow senior Cameron Allen.

“[The committee] intends to enhance communication between students and professors,” Hill shared. “Because the committee is working under/with CAT, it’ll have the potential to influence how professors are trained and how feedback is provided by students for professors.”

Finally, Hill was a Resident Advisor her junior and senior year, and was named an Outstanding RA last year.

While Hill considers declaring her Sociology major as the best decision she made at Wake Forest, studying abroad comes in at a close second.

“[Going abroad] turned out to be literally the best experiences of my life, especially Wake Washington,” she said. 

Although her Spring 2020 in DC got cut short by the pandemic, Hill described it as the most impactful experience of her time in college. She worked a full-time job as the Children, Youth & Families Intern at the Human Rights Campaign and attending political science classes at night.

Hill’s time as a Demon Deacon prepared her well for her future plans, and she’s very appreciative of the unique opportunities she’s had over the course of her four years. Hill’s “keen sociological mind, exceptional analytic abilities and outstanding writing skills,” even as a first-year student, blew Dr. Harnois away, and the sociology faculty are proud to have her represent the department as she goes on to pursue her Master’s at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.