The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Professor Profile: Billy Brocato

Professor Billy Brocato is a graduate lecturer and Ph.D candidate, having completed all but his dissertation for a doctorate in sociology. Specializing in cultural and economic sociology, he has been at A&M since 2012.

He has a Bachelors of Science in Sociology, and another Bachelor’s in American Studies, both from Eastern New Mexico University, where he double minored in Statistics and Psychology.

He followed this up by obtaining an MBA from the University of Phoenix, and a Masters of the Arts in Sociology from Sam Houston State.

While his academic achievements are varied and diverse, his life is even more so. Brocato dropped out of highschool in the 10th grade, then went to work on an oil rig.

A few years in, he found himself wanting more. “I just saw all these guys, beaten down, not aware of their surroundings, and thought to myself ‘I don’t want this’, so I decided to go back to school” Brocato said.

Driving home that night, he noticed a billboard for the GI Bill. “I went to my wife and asked if she would be OK taking that pay cut for a year so I could get my school paid for” Brocato said. The next year he enlisted in the Air Force.

After obtaining his first degree, he spent several years as a journalist, including two stints in Japan,  the second of which was from 1999 to 2005, where he covered the banking industry in Tokyo.

“I always wanted people to know the truth” Brocato said on his time in Japan. “The average citizen did not know enough about what was going on, so I represented them”.

Brocato semi-retired in 2008, and made the choice to continue his education, despite his age. He has gone on to publish several papers, and has spent the last three years as a lecturer at A&M.

“I always knew I wanted to get my Ph.D, it was just a matter of when” Brocato said. Despite the late start, he feels his life experience is an advantage.

“I got more yesterdays than tomorrows ahead of me, but I wouldn’t go back and do anything different. I’d maybe do more living, if anything. It gives me perspective, something a lot of people don’t have”.

Brocato uses his varied experiences to relate to, and mentor, young undergrads. “The adversity I’ve faced allows me to connect to these kids, steer them in the right direction” Brocato said. He hold open office hours daily, and encourages past students to come talk and seek advice.
 

Brocato always begins his classes by giving students a rundown of everything he’s done, but one fact always sticks out. “I’m a Zen-Buddhist Catholic” Brocato said. “I don’t delve much into it, but that always makes people stop and listen. I get these kids talking, then I take the chance to teach them about diversity”.
 

When asked if there was any parting advice he would give to any student in college, he said “Enjoy it. There will never be another time where you are in this environment. Gain as much knowledge as you can. Take classes in what interests you. Don’t be afraid to seek a great knowing”.
 

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