Thursday, April 19, 2007

We haven't forgot about this site! Big plans are in the works for this site started this summer; new hosting, new forums, more features, actual posts, etc.

For now, let me suggest that you check out some of the podcasts from the Society for Applied Anthropology conference. One of the goals for this project was to give students, like you, a chance to "see" what goes on at the conferences without having to spend the money to get there.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I apologize for the delay in getting this website up and going- I am looking into other hosting choices and expect to have it figured out soon.

The AAA newsletter came out today via email. There was a link that I thought you all might find of interest. It is for a video called, Anthropology: Real People, Real Careers. I believe that it is different than the videos (of similar content) made available from the anthropology department at Northern Arizona University (which are free!).

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Friday, January 19, 2007


As you can see, this site is still getting started. But our plans are for it to be an ongoing a work-in-progress. We hope that this becomes a virtual community for student anthropologists- a place where we can share our experiences, knowledge, thoughts and to ask questions or answer questions of others.

Where to start with this site?
As you can see in the lower right hand side, we have links to some Resources.
These resources include:

A forum where you can ask questions, share experiences, offer advice or help or just what others are writing.

A account. We hope that this will become a comprehensive reference list for "all things anthropology" from design anthropology to archaeology and everything in between. To add to our list, tag something as studentanthro OR for:studentanthro. If you need more information about please visit' help page.

A wiki site. We hope that we can create a very comprehensive list about all the subfields and varieties of anthropology, so anyone interested in any aspect of anthropology can find answers here. There are some pages already started and some catergories on the pages. This is just a "sketch" of things that people might want to know. Feel free to add anything you might know that you think others would like to know! Add as many new pages and/or catergories that you want to. If you have a question, you can post it to the wiki page if you'd like, but the forum might work better for you. The login and password for the wiki account is: studentanthro.

Ideally, this will be a resource for undergrads and/or anyone with an interest in anthropology. There are a few graduate students (see "About Us" on the right hand side) acting as "moderators" and we'll try to pass on as much knowledge and experience as we can. This site was inspired by a session at the AAA in 2006..

Please contact us with any questions/suggestions/complaints/comments at
studentanthro at gmail dot com
or post a comment here or on the forum!

Friday, November 24, 2006

So we weren’t able to blog live from the session, as there was not free wireless from all venues, but here are the notes.

The roundtable session was chaired by Christina Wasson (faculty from the University of North Texas). The two main goals of the session were to 1) help students navigate the series of transitions through graduate school and 2) to produce a useful outcome, such as an article for Anthropology News.

It was recommended that students check out the COPAA (consortium of practicing and applied anthropology programs) website for information (for example, the resources for students tab) and links to other important sites:

Three students offered their personal experiences in their graduate programs.

Amy Goldmacher (Wayne State University) talked about the process, not the destination, of the Ph.D. in anthropology, focusing on the importance of collaboration with faculty and fellow students and building community for social support.

Jason Gonzalez (Southern Illinois University) talked about how his expectations changed from assuming he would get an academic job upon graduation to seeing that he could either be an academic or a practitioner.

Christine Miller (Wayne State University) talked about how her interdisciplinary program in business anthropology allowed her to connect with both her passions. She recommends getting as much field experience during school as possible, even if it’s only on small projects, to prepare for the dissertation and jobs beyond. She also recommends being active in the anthropology community, such as getting involved in groups or sections, network, and attend conferences.

Sherylyn Briller (faculty at Wayne State University) provided advice from her perspective as a mentor, adviser, and recent Ph.D. She suggests taking opportunities anywhere they present themselves, and seeking them out:
Work on research projects
Teach or tutor others
Work in communities
Publish and present your own ideas
Develop and broaden personal and professional connections
Know other faculty and peers: interested in the same issues but not an anthropologist, someone who knows you and your personal working style, supportive of your choices, brutally honest
Need to have: Oral communication, clear writing, analytical skills (qualitative and quantitative), organizational skills, critical thinking, a willing spirit

By way of illustrating how opportunities may present themselves when least expected, she said she met her husband while doing her dissertation research in Mongolia.

She calls it being both focused and flexible.

She also recommended building a good relationship with your adviser. Seek him/her out. They should be able to recognize you.

Develop best anthropological skill set that you can by asking yourself what will I get from this? Do I want to do this again?

She says don’t shy away from things that are hard. Criticism can be helpful, as it tells you what happened here and how should I react to it?

The discussant for the roundtable session was Inga Treitler, a practitioner since 1984. She said she heard themes about managing time and relationships and obstacles, and searching for networks and opportunities.

She said when you are going to graduate school, you are doing ethnography, and when you get out, you continue doing it. The key is to listen.

She also recommended always educating our clients about what we are, if we use existing case stories. She always uses the story of Sue Squires and Go-Gurt to illustrate the value of anthropological work (Google for further detail, but the story goes that Sue Squires observed households where mothers tried to feed their kids in the mornings before school and work. The mothers wanted their kids to eat something healthy, and the kids wanted to eat something fun, so they ended up eating junk food, so the product Go-Gurt was developed based on the ethnographic research to appeal to both kids and parents).

Inga recommended seeing the larger picture of graduate school, and creating a research program, not just a project. Develop a network of people with similar interests
Follow your deep abiding interests. Visit the school, demand faculty time, discuss what you would work on. It’s not just the topic, it’s whether you can communicate and relate to your adviser. Consider what topic is more likely to get funded?

Finally, she recommended subscribing to the ANTHAP listserv, but we need instructions on how to do that. As far as I can tell, the listserv is defunct.

Some good points emerged from the audience participation:
Find faculty mentors who are willing to share information whether it is the norm in that department or not.

Identify people whose backgrounds look interesting and contact them personally

Sometimes you go to school for one thing and end up doing another, and that’s okay. Explore your variety of interests.

What are you there for? Ethnography vs. solution

Develop relationships with people from other departments and disciplines to get alternative perspectives. There are multiple ways to research a problem.

The student should drive the process—seek out mentors, friends, opportunities. Don’t wait for them to come to you.

Find a mentor who lets you be you.
You’re not in competition with anyone else – members of your cohort are your brothers and sisters

No opportunity is wasted – got excellent experience on topic not related to dissertation interests

Mentor helps point opportunities out, is a role model

Advice from adviser may not look like advice: “I spend 30 minutes a day watering plants.” Means he takes the time to reflect, meditate

Faculty may not be the best at communicating – you have to read between the lines

Feel free to comment, question, or add on these notes or on the blog.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Live from AAA 2006, we will post notes from the roundtable session this afternoon (4pm in Willow Glen III on the 2nd floor of the Marriott, from downtown San Jose, CA)!

Friday, September 22, 2006

At A Critical Intersection: Exploring the Expectations and Needs of Anthropology Students in 2006

While change in a discipline over time is nothing new, today’s anthropology students face a much different world than the one in which their faculty mentors learned and practiced and sought work in anthropology. The needs of students today are also significantly different in a number of realms as they look towards their professional futures: Instead of conducting “traditional” field research alone in remote locations, students today find themselves more often in North American settings, perhaps finding themselves in major corporations, and collaborating with many others across multiple disciplines who use the anthropology’s signature methodology, ethnography, in different ways. Some student anthropologists go to virtual field sites to study online phenomena like global virtual teams, or virtual communities like MySpace. Rather than choosing academic careers, many students are being recruited by industry to work in areas such as user-centered design and what has come to be known as “design anthropology”. Today the use of laptops in the field is expected whereas a generation ago it was a rarity. Sophisticated software packages such as Atlas.ti, Nudist, Negopy, and Crawdad, to name a few, make it possible to manage and analyze large data sets.

Along with working in new environments, with new techniques and advanced technologies, even our definition of “student” has changed. Today, students in anthropology programs have returned to graduate school after building careers in other fields. They come from different disciplinary backgrounds, enriching anthropology with knowledge and experience gained during “work in the field”. The influx of new anthropologists and new skill sets presents an interesting educational opportunity that is not currently being addressed in the training students receive in the discipline.

This interactive, roundtable discussion involves students, faculty, and practitioners, and all attendees will be encouraged to participate. The roundtable will explore the expectations of what students need in preparation for possible career paths from the perspective of both current students and their mentors who came up through the discipline one or two decades earlier. How have conditions and expectations changed? How are they the same? What types of training and experience do students today want and need which might not be offered through the institutions where they study? What theories and traditions do student anthropologists find are most meaningful as they prepare for their careers? The conditions are ripe for change as we face the critical intersection of new disciplinary expectations, new technologies and new educational opportunities.