Sociology 215; Human Service Systems
Prof. Carl Milofsky, 204 Coleman Hall, 7-3468

Field Experience Options, Fall 2012
(Revised, August 31, 2012)

Students are required to participate in four field experiences over the course of this semester, of which the auction visit is one. Some of these opportunities take only a few students. Therefore, I will ask students to fill out a form indicating their choices of field experiences so that we can get started on planning your field visits. Students will have to make these choices early and if people fall behind and do not complete necessary requirements they will fail field assignments. By the third week of classes all students must have secured criminal clearances from the state police, the FBI, and the Department of Public Welfare as indicated in the syllabus. All students must also complete IRB training with CITI. The Field Writing page gives details about all of the settings and you should consult that page for information before you go to a field setting.

The list below may expand or contract over the course of the semester. Students should certainly suggest and help to develop sites so that we have more options available. If you come up with a setting to visit, I will create a special writing assignment for that setting.

I have several goals in seeking sites. First, I want sites to relate to themes and topics that we discuss in Sociology 215. Second, I want settings to provide a rich observational experience for students. That means, first, that there must be lots of social interaction happening, second that there must be several groups or communities involved in a setting, and that activities are surprising or challenging so that students with little field experience will find lots to write about. Third, I prefer for settings to be intense but we also need to think about preparation and support for students who participate. This support might come before and/or after the experience or it might involve people at the site who are willing to spend time providing background, preparation, and support to students who participate.

If you do not have a car, there is a good chance you will be able to use a car from the Bucknell motor pool. Class use has priority. However, you must take the university driving class, past their test, and gain approval. The classes and tests are given only on a few dates at the beginning of the semester so you MUST pay attention to these times. You also may car pool with other students in the class. There are enough placements close to campus, however, that you can complete the requirements for the course without access to a car.

1. Auctions (revised August 31, 2012)

Auctions are regularly held at the homes of elderly people who have died, moved into a nursing home, or otherwise decided to leave the place they have lived for many years. Generally the auctions take place at the home, although in bad weather and in some circumstances auctions take place at auctioneers' places of business. For this project, you want to go to one of the auctions that take place at a home in a community within fifty miles of Lewisburg.

Generally, auctions go on for most of the day. They start about 9 or 10 in the morning and end about 3 in the afternoon. Everything in the house is auctioned off from salt and pepper shakers up to the building itself. Auctioneers call out the items being sold and they have a staff of people who organize the materials, bring them up for the auctioneer, who keep track of who bids for items, and who collect payments. Usually there is a food booth run by local church women.

In general, your auction will be more interesting if you find a remote small town. However, some auctions are held in Lewisburg and other nearby towns and they are easier to reach for students who do not have transportation.

Although auctions are advertised in local newspapers on Thursdays and you often will see handbills advertising auctions posted in town or in local stores, the easiest way to find local auctions is to use the Auction Zip website.

To use the Auction Zip website, enter the Lewisburg Zip Code (17837), select the radius distance you prefer (30 miles is the default distance and that makes sense, although the system is not very accurate in terms of determining distances), and choose the type of auction you want to search for. Choose the one that is for antiques and housewares since this is most likely to give you a listing of the farm auctions that are the focus of this assignment.

As you look through auction listings, be aware that there are many types of auctions and many of them are not relevant to our purposes (farm equipment auctions aren't for us, for example). Also, AVOID AUCTIONS HELD AT AUCTION HOUSES. Some of these, actually, are very good for our purposes. Most of them, however, take objects from the original homestead, bring them to a central location far from the owner's home community, and set up sales intended mainly for professionals. Since our intention is to use auctions to see community in action it does not fit the assignment simply to visit an auction in an auction house.

Picking an appropriate auction and making an effort to travel to an interesting place is part of the assignment. If you pick an auction simply because it seems easy to reach or seems to be not threatening, the result will show up in your writing. Your grade may well be lowered if your selection of an auction shows either that you have not put in much effort or you have not read the directions provided here.

2. Job Shadowing (Available for 2012)

We are fortunate that the executive directors of two important organizations are willing to have students from SOCI 215 spend a day shadowing them at work. Students need to sign up for this experience well in advance by contacting Prof. Milofsky and coordinating with him to set up contacts with the individuals involved. We will need to make scheduling arrangements so that these individuals can choose a day for the visit when they have many interesting meetings scheduled. Both of them have lots of experience working with Bucknell interns and they are eager to share their work with you.

A. Keri Albright, Executive Director, Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way.

Ms. Albright lives in Lewisburg but her office is in Sunbury. In fall much of her work is focused on the United Way fundraising campaign and with the complexities of managing her office. Albright also is involved in local leadership networks and she also is instrumental in helping to organize coordinating groups like the Leadership Susquhanna Valley instructional program and the local day care network. She partners with those of us at Bucknell on a variety of projects.

B. Bob Kane, CEO of the Divine Providence Hospital campus of Susquehanna Health in Williamsport.

Mr. Kane is a Bucknell alum who for many years has partnered with us on research and action projects involving health care in Williamsport and research on the two hospitals in that community. Kane is one of the main people who helps set up internship and field placements related to health of all kinds in the Williamsport area. For this experience, he would like to have Bucknell students, one at a time, spend a day with him on days when he has a variety of important meetings to attend.

3. Public Defender's Office (current status: This is available. Call to make arrangements for your visit.)

Brian Ulmer
Union County Public Defender
Union County Courthouse, 2nd and St. Catherine Streets, Lewisburg.
Pub Defender's Office 524-8780
Ulmer's law Office: 522-1092

After you register with the instructor, you are responsible for contacting Mr. Ulmer and making arrangements for your visit. You are free to make contacts and to visit public defenders in other counties if that is more convenient for you. Use the writing assignment to guide your observations. We will be observing preliminary hearings. Preliminary hearing days are Thursdays. Students may observe for a morning, an afternoon, or all day. Mr. Ulmer will meet with people before the day begins to explain the rough format of how hearings will develop. However, the hearings themselves are individual and follow their own course. At the end of the morning or afternoon, Mr. Ulmer will meet with students to answer questions and clarify what happened.

There is a limit of 2 students per day and no more than 20 students total can participate in this experience

4. West Branch School (current status: Confirmed for 2012.)

West Branch School
WBS Distant View
West Branch School
Williamsport, PA


West Branch School is a nontraditional, K-6 grade ages elementary school that is nongraded and that uses creative approaches to teaching. It also is a parent-teacher cooperative so there is a lot of parent involvement, a complicated governance structure that is worth trying to understand, and some important out of school events that are good things to participate in.

Contact Natalie Prindle (570-323-5498; who is the office person for the school. You should also contact my wife, Sandy Elion at 570-523-3853, who was one of the teachers at the school for many years. She also is an assistant swim coach at Bucknell so she will be on the Swim Pool deck most days 5-7, although you'll have trouble getting in the door of the pool and she's busy when she's coaching. Still she's there and you might be able to make contact.

The school is located at 755 Moore Ave., Williamsport, PA 17701

You need to make your own arrangements with Natalie for when to visit. Student visitors often spend a morning at the school, arriving about 8 am in time for the morning meeting and then they help out with tutoring and supervising play groups until noon. Students may also be interested in attending committee meetings that involve parents and are held in the evenings. Since this is a parent/teacher cooperative school all of the work is done on a volunteer basis except for the teaching. This plus the general philosophy of the school will make this a surprising and different experience for most Bucknell students.

5. North Central Secure Treatment Unit (Available for advanced interns 2012).

This is the maximum security incarceration facility for teen aged men and women in Pennsylvania and it is located on the grounds of Danville State Hospital (a mental hospital) in Danville about 20 minutes from Lewisburg. It is one of the few prison facilities available to Bucknell students. It is a fascinating, complicated, and intense place to visit but being there also carries some risks. In past years we had SOCI 215 students work there but do not offer it routinely now. We do have an advanced student intern working there in Fall, 2012, and we might be able to make it available for highly motivated and appropriate students.

To participate in this setting you must gain approvals from the Pennsylvania State Police, the Department of Public Welfare, and the F.B.I. Gaining these approvals will cost about $60 and they can hold up your field placement. To work at the North Central Secure Treatment Unit, you will have to plan on visiting the facility once a week over most of the semester. Thus, choosing this field experience will mean you do not have to visit other settings and you can do all of your papers on this one place.

To learn how to secure clearances, to the the following website: and on the left side of the page select clearances. You will fill out forms provided through website links and pay using a credit card. Then you must print out the results of this transaction and take it to the U.P.S. store across from Walmart where your clearances can be worked through.

(Formerly Danville Center for Adolescent Females.) Three writing assignments go with this setting: Assignment 1; Assignment 2; Assignment 3.

North C
Danville State Hospital
North Central Secure Treatment Unit

Follow DCAF signs

Across from Danville State Hospital

This is the maximum security detention facility for teen agers, both men and women under 18, drawn from the entire state of Pennsylvania located on the grounds of Danville State Hospital. When we have used this site in the past, students spent a day visiting a class in the high school and talking with teachers and students. The students have mostly been involved in criminal activity that requires this sort of extreme detention.

Bucknell students who participate as interns for this course at the North Central Secure Treatment Unit must secure clearances from the Pennsylvania State Police ($10), the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare ($10), and the FBI ($40). Gaining clearances takes time so it's essential that students start securing these clearances early. To get directions on securing clearances go to the website of the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit ( and click on the clearances button on the main web page or use this link.

To get there, take Rte. 54 off I-80 to the intersection with Rte 11. Turn left on Rte. 11 and continue straight about two blocks until the road forks and take the right fork. Continue on Rte. 11 past Dunkin Donuts (on your left) and you'll come upon an intersection where you'll see Danville High School on your right. Turn right on that road, continue past the high school and in about a block you'll come to an intersection with the hospital complex straight ahead. Turn right and then take the next left, following the sign for DCAF. Going ahead about a block you'll see the main building of Danville State Hospital on your left and the North Central Secure Treatment Unit boys building is on your right. There are about four separate buildings that serve different youth groups and the girl's unit is about a block or two away. When you come up to the front gate of the North Central Secure Treatment Unit, you may need to call to the office on the phone to get through the gate. If the gate is open, you still will have to call to get buzzed in the main door. You will have to go through a metal detector so it will work best if you wear clothes that have minimal metal (including in your underwear) and also if you do not bring along metal jewelry and other things that you'll just have to take off.

It would involve more work to do this and we'd come up with different assignments. However, it's a fascinating place.

For students planning to embark on this placement, the first step is to call Dan Clark to arrange a meeting. At that meeing you will work out times when you will come over the course of the semester. It is OK for students to go to this placement in groups. When you are there students will be assigned to different teachers and are likely to work with students as tutors. Your academic skills will be sufficient for you to help the students in any of their subjects. You should also learn about the students lives and about general issues at the school as you work with teachers and students in particular classes.

Contact information for Dan Clark:

Dan Clark, High School Principal
North Central Secure Treatment Unit
(formerly Danville Center for Adolescent Females or DCAF---signs on the property still give these letters)
CSIU Education Program

6. Hospital Visit Experiences (available for 2012)

A. Evangelical Hospital, Lewisburg (not checked out, but probably availble if we want)

We have not often used Evangelical Hospital for internships or field experience placements. Over the years student experiences at the institution have not always been rich and interesting as we want them to be. However, in Spring 2012 we had contact with an Evangelical Hospital administrator who was assertive that Evangelical wanted Bucknell interns to work there since they have interns from other local colleges. Since the Hospital is local it is a convenient place to work and if there is interest among students we can work to set up internships.

B. Sunbury Hospital, Sunbury (10 miles south of Lewisburg) (available for 2012)

We have been developing a research and action partnership with Sunbury Hospital over the last year and over the summer we set up a formal institutional agreement between Bucknell and Sunbury Hospital. Although we do not have specific experiences set up, Marketing Director Bruce Marion who is our contact person is willing to set up special, appropriate experiences for SOCI 215 students if people are interested in working at the hospital or in the medical community. We have particularly been working on community and medical programs related to diabetes in the Sunbury community.

C. Williamsport Regional Medical Center Emergency Department (confirmed for 2012)

Williamsport Hospital
Williamsport ED

Williamsport Hospital and Medical Center in Williamsport (about 30 miles north of Lewisburg) is willing to host students from our class for up to an eight hour experience in their emergency room.

Students who participate in this setting must watch a video and take a short quiz on HIPAA regulations before they will be allowed to visit the ER.   This is in addition to the security clearances and CITI protection of human subjects certification that are required for the course. The approval process is time consuming, complicated, and may require an extra trip to Williamsport for certification purposes. Coordination tends to be a bit complicated, but we have lots of support and help that can help us to smooth out communication if students speak up about problems and do not become impatient with the complexities inherent in arranging these visits. Once the visits are properly set up, they are rewarding

The directions in the next paragraph give you contact information for our contact person, Sherry Hyland. However, in many ways it works best if we get a list of interested students during class and set up a schedule for visits and for going through the HIPAA training. Contact Milofsky so he can plan the group experience.

Once you let your instructor know this is a placement you want, scheduling is your responsibility. To schedule a visit, conrtact Sherry Hyland, Clinical Nurse Educator of the Emergency Department. of the Williamsport Hospital and Medical Center. Her office phone number is: 321-2250 and her email is:  

In past years we have had students serve as interns at the Williamsport Hospital ER as well as at other hospitals in the area like the Geisinger Medical Center and Shamokin Hospital and students have had very meaningful experiences.

One of the nurses in the ED will act as your host and guide.  This means that you’ll have a contact person you always can check in with when you are on the unit and if, perhaps you got involved in some other activity and want to reconnect with a supervisor who can give you new directions.  Usually the nurse host will give you a tour of the facility and also will make a point of introducing you to new activities or settings. 

Understand, however, that while your nurse supervisor will help you out an emergency room is a busy place and your nurse contact has a job to do.  She or he may have to quickly become intensely involved in the case of a patient.  Your responsibility then is to find a place that is out of the way and observe what is going on.  You may ask where to stand and in some cases you may be asked to wait outside of the booth, room, or treatment area since issues of privacy and confidentiality may come up.




7. Eastern Union County Foodshare(status: although this has not specificlly been set up for 2012 the program is ongoing an should be available. If you are interested in food distributions and this one is not available, there are others nearby you can experience).

Eastern Union County Foodshare is a food distribution program that operates out of the Baptist Church on 3rd and St. Louis Streets in Lewisburg. Your work in the program would involve helping to prepare food packages and helping to hand out food and other necessities to people who come to receive them on distribution days. In your work you will get to know other volunteers as well as those people who receive assistance. Encountering low income people is often an eye-opening experience for Bucknell students. It also is interesting and useful to meet people who take the time to volunteer for this kind of activity. The setting is close to campus so it is one setting available to people without transportation.

Held the 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month, 1:15pm. They could use one or two students each time. Contact the director Richard Ellis (a retired Bu prof) at or 524-4740 at least a day or two ahead of date you would like to assist.The foodshare operates out of the Baptist Church basement on 3rd and St. Louis St. refer to the field experience reference sheet for details.

8. Nursing homes.

There is a writing assignment for students visiting in nursing homes since students experience them visiting friends and relatives. If you wish to visit a nursing home in the Lewisburg area we can set this up. The danger is that if you just go to the volunteer office of a nursing home on your own that they will have you do a project with high functioning residents that involves art or some other activity that is not threatening or difficult. Nursing homes a very interesting places if you have the chance to meet and help some of the lower functioning residents or some of the caregiving staff.

In the past, some students have wanted to visit settings where grandparents or other friends reside. This is a good idea to pursue but check with the professor first.

9. Haven Ministries (Although I have not specifically set this up for 2008, overnight visits to the shelter are easy to arrange.)

This is the primary homeless shelter serving Central Pennsylvania (there are partial shelters in Williamsport) and it is located in Sunbury at 1043 So. Front St. (570-286-1672). It is housed in an old motel and generally there are about ten single adults living there and four or five families. Housing is meant to be short term and the program managers at the shelter insist that residents spend time during the day seeking work and making arrangements to live on their own outside of the shelter. There also are strict rules banning misbehavior (drinking, drugs, sexual relationships) and violating rules can cause a person to be evicted on short notice. The shelter began as a project of the Ministerium (the interchurch council) in Sunbury and it is entirely supported through voluntary contributions of time, in-kind resources like food and clothing, and cash donations.

To do this field experience you must stay overnight at the shelter. Generally to stay overnight you must do this with a partner. There are other service opportunities at the shelter like providing meals for residents and these do not count. If you are involved in a richer, more complex role at the shelter (like working with the staff on a project that involves you with residents) you may ask to use this experience for the present assignment.

To get to Haven, go south on Rte 15 and take the bridge over to Sunbury. At the end of the bridge continue straight towards the Weis warehouse where the road over the bridge ends. Go right and continue about two blocks to a stop sign. Take a sharp right at the stop sign, which will cause you to head back towards Sunbury. The Haven Ministries shelter is on your left about 1/2 block from the intersection.

10. Snyder County District Attorney (current status: in past years they have said they would like to have interns and students have worked wityh them. This has not been set up for 2008.)

This one is still being developed but there is negotiating room. My hope is that we can set up opportunities for you to travel with probation officers for a day or so. They are also trying to develop a youth drug education program and that might produce opportunities.

Other field placements are possible. Students are encouraged to suggest ideas. We have had students work in the emergency room of a small local hospital where we have friendly contacts. This is pretty slow, but the doctor in charge will be happy to talk to you a lot. Other health placements are possible if we have enough student interest. We have had good internships at Geisinger Medical Center and we might set something up there. We might also set up some religion experiences-an example is a conference for people who are members of small congregations run by local Episcopal and Lutheran churches.

11. AIDS Resource Alliance(current status: Although this has not been set up for 2009, it would be available if the agency has clients who need a buddy. Contact Prof. Milofsky if you are interested.)

This choice is to serve as an AIDS Buddy to a person living with AIDS in Williamsport. You would visit this individual two or three times with the guidance of the counseling staff at the AIDS Resource Alliance.

Contact Person: Amy Harrada
AIDS Resource
520 West Fourth Street, Suite 2A
Williamsport, PA 17701

12. High School Homecoming (available for 2012).

This almost always turns out to be a fascinating experience that is easily accessible for many student. You need to go home for this one and attend your high school's Homecoming football game. The assignment is for you to observe your home community and particularly social capital that is evident as people participate in this event. Community participation probably is not something you were strongly aware of when you were in high school but it is likely to be something you notice very much coming back having moved on beyond your high school years. Do not choose this one just because it is easy. It is a good experience if there actually is an outpouring of community involvement at your high school.

13. Bethesday Day Treatment Center (Status: This is not a setting we have set up. However, some students from class have had the opportunity of visiting and this writing exercise is for people who have had that opportunity.)

The Bethesda Day Treatment facility is a school and after school program for teen agers who have been judged too behaviorally difficult to keep in local public schools or who have gotten in trouble with the law and who have been sent for after school counseling by one of the county juvenile courts. Students in the program come from a variety of interesting backgrounds and they are interesting to meet and to talk to. Bethesda runs a variety of programs like discussion groups and behavior modification sessions that are interesting to observe. Bethesda is a large organization that runs a variety of programs related to the criminal justice system like the program described below in the prisons.

14. Other auctions and fairs

Beaver Run Amish School Consignment Sale (not checked for 2012 but contact me if you're interested)

This is a large consignment sale and auction organized by the Amish as a school benefit. The auction is happening Saturday, September 4 near Washingtonville (about 15 miles NE of Lewisburg and 6.7 mi. east of the Turbotville exit for Rte. 54 off I-180) beginning around 9 am and continuing through most of the day. To get there take Rte 147/I-189 north towards the Lycoming Mall and take the Rte 54 exit towards Turbotville. Continue through Turbotville and you come upon the turnoff when you are almost ready to enter Washingtonville. Look for signs as you travel along Rte 54 east of Turbotville (headed towards Danville). The auction site is four miles north of the town of Washingtonville on Arrowhead Road. This would be an interesting follow up to the required auction experience. It counts as a separate field experience, however, and not as one of the auction opportunities.

For more information call 437-2758 or 437-3704.

Bloomsburg Fair (, Sept 22-29, 2012

This is a huge, state-fair type fair (but it's not a state fair). It is so massive and impersonal that it is hard for students in SOCI 215 to observe it effectively unless they have some idea of what is going on ahead of time. While there is lots of food, many rides and shows, and hordes of people the most interesting part to me involves the agricultural exhibits and their connections to 4-H clubs and other local farming groups. Students who have farming backgrounds understand this hidden dynamic and get a lot out of this experience. For others it's mostly a fun experience (and one that Bucknell students should have during their four years here!)

Local Auction House Experiences

Once students have completed the rural estate auction exercise, they may want to visit another auction setting and some of these places are fascinating.

The most interesting one is the Middleburg Livestock Auction in Middleburg, the county seat of Snyder County and about 45 minutes southwest of Lewisburg. Every Tuesday between about 10:00 am and 2:00 pm they auction off livestock. The first Saturday of every month they have a horse auction which is the place (I've heard this but not seen) that the Amish and Old Order Mennonites buy horses for the buggies because some of the horses being sold are retired race horses. Before the livestock auction they have a vegetable auction (where individual grocery items are auctioned off) and in September there also is a huge farmer's market outside. This is a setting where Amish, Old Order Mennonite, and secular Pennsylvania Dutch farmers interact speakin PA Dutch. Since the town is 20 miles from the nearest large supermarket, this is the place lots of people by food.

There is a smaller livestock auction in Dewart north of Lewisburg near Allenwood and there are vegetable auctions held on Friday nights in Sunbury and Williamsport. I don't have detailed information about where these places are but students have found them and have had fascinating visits to them.

15. Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholic Anonymous makes a distinction between public and private meetings and the public meetings can be attended by anyone. Meetings occur multiple times each week at many settngs in Lewisburg and in other nearby communities.

Before you decide to pursue this option, think carefully about why you want to do so and what you are doing. Even though meetings may be public, participants are there because they believe they have a drinking problem that is causing pain and disruption in their lives and in the lives of people they care about. These meetings are real and serious and you should not attend with the attitude that you are disengaged and observing an interesting event---you are not going to the zoo to see unusual animals. Do not attend simply because you must complete this assignments, meetings are nearby and convenient, and you have mild curiosity. Doing so would be an insult to the participants.

Saying these things is not to discourage you as students from attending AA meetings for the class. You may well be interested and curious about what this organization is and how it works. You may have friends who attend AA meetings or who have gone through recovery and you may want to learn more because of those friendships. We also function at Bucknell in a social world where significant amounts of drinking are a part of the social life. You may learn useful and helpful things about how drinking has a presence in your own life. Members of Alcoholics Anonymous would probably think that these kinds of motivations are good reasons for attending public meetings.

It also is important to read some background material about Alcoholics Anonymous before you attend. I can make some reading materials available if students want to participate in this field experience. The meetings are quite ritualized in structure, in the sense that certain things happen at every meeting and there are certain sayings like the Serenity Prayor that are said by the group and you might want to know about the process before you participate. It also would be helpful for you to know that Alcoholics Anonymous is anchored in a philosophy of Twelve Steps for recovery and Twelve Traditions that support one's recovery.

There are some philosophical aspects of AA that uninformed visitors do not understand and you can more accurately respond to the setting if you have some general knowledge of these things. For example, AA people will often make reference to a "higher power" and how it influences their lives. Visitors tend to interpret this as a religious statement, but it need not be religious. In one aspect it is referring to the community as bigger than oneself and for some people this may be the higher power. A major focus of AA philosophy and programming involves combatting an attitude of extreme individualism and the allied notion that as an individual you can control every aspect of your life. AA encourages people to give up this determination to control everything and to subordinate oneself to the reality that many things are out of your control---subject to a higher power.