Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Study of Practicing Anthropologists: Call for Participation

[Re-posted from AnthroDesign] 

Help Us To Understand the Careers of Practicing And Professional Anthropologists as they relate to Academic Institutions 

Are you a practicing or professional anthropologist working outside of an academic organization?  If so, are you collaborating in any way with an academic institution as part of your professional life?

We are aware from anecdotes that many practicing and professional anthropologists participate in the academic community in one way or another.  But we know little about what this participation is like, how academic responsibilities figure in their careers, and how practitioners are compensated for their academic commitments.  The American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) Committee on Practicing, Applied and Public Interest Anthropology (CoPAPIA) is seeking volunteers to share their experiences and views on this issue in a 30-minute phone interview.  We will draw on the data we collect to make available various models for department-practitioner collaboration and offer recommendations for appropriate compensation.

Please contact Sanne Roijmans at srijmans at memphis dot edu if you would like to know more.  We will follow up with more information on the survey and how you can participate.

Please share this announcement with friends and colleagues who might be interested in the study.

Regards,

Bill McKinney

Keri Brondo

Mary Odell Butler

Monday, May 20, 2013

My Review of the SfAA 2013 Text Analysis Workshop by Lance Gravlee and Amber Wutich

The following is a review of a workshop I attended at the March 2013 Society for Applied Anthropology conference on Text Analysis (i.e., the interpretation of data from things like transcripts, books, diaries, emails, artifacts, images, events, and basically any other object or observation of human behavior and creation). The workshop was put on by anthropologists Lance Gravlee of the University of Florida and Amber Wutich of Arizona State University. 

I really have nothing but good things to say about the full-day workshop, which was offered at the bargain price of $95 (including lunch!) Eight hours is a long time to sit and learn about anything, but Drs. Gravlee and Wutich presented a very engaging and informative lecture-style presentation with a number of hands-on opportunities to get more familiar with the techniques they discussed (and the analysis software), and expand one's perspective on research design. There was something useful for everyone, no matter his or her level of skill with qualitative methods; the workshop was fitting for students, scholars, and professionals who use qualitative methods in their work, as well as professors seeking pedagogical ideas for teaching the approach. And while I do not currently use text analysis software (I do it old school), I know that lots of people do, and it is an important skill of which researchers should know at least the basics (I've been asked about my familiarity with data analysis software during interviews before, but never had the chance to learn it in my training). 

Here's a quick overview of the general topics covered in the workshop:
  • a review of the "exploratory/unstructured - confirmatory/structured" spectrum of research approaches and inductive/deductive approaches to qualitative research (with a guiding theme of questioning the qualitative/quantitative methodological dichotomy)
  • a review of various traditions of text analysis, including 12 observational and process techniques for inductively identifying themes
  • an in-depth overview of research tasks related to text analysis: identifying themes, building and applying codebooks, describing themes, making comparisons, and building and testing models 
  • a high-level crash-course on how to use MaxQDA analysis software (for which there are institutional/lab and student discounts)
One of the most useful sections for me was the review of text analysis traditions/techniques, which really fleshed out a "typology" of the different types of data/themes to look for during research. Students in anthropology programs (both undergraduate and graduate) typically learn about this sort of thing to some extent. However, in my studies, qualitative methods were reviewed (and definitely read about in case studies/books), but not that deeply delved into from a methodological or training perspective. 

To digress for a second, I think part of the problem is the lack of teaching resources in academic training programs for devoting time to very in-depth teaching of methods in survey-style courses that have to cover a lot of ground. Even though text analysis is the backbone of a lot of the research we do (qualitative, ethnographic, etc.), students, at least at my schools, were essentially taught the basics of it, and were sort of just asked to jump in and give it their best shot (to learn by doing). The way I learned to do qualitative/text analysis was mostly through experience and basic instruction in two methods courses. They were fairly similar to each other in that they provided an overview of lots of different approaches to data collection and analysis (focus groups, interviewing, survey questionnaires, ethnographic methods, and related analytical processes), but nothing as in-depth on text analysis as was provided during this workshop. 

Now back to my review. While we spent the majority of the day learning about text analysis techniques and practicing using them and the software, the presenters also facilitated a highly insightful discussion of the benefits of team-based research for increasing the reliability and validity of data, and how teamwork can improve processes of theme definition and identification, and measuring inter-coder reliability. This is clearly very useful in professional settings, because most research these days is done by teams of at least two or more people, often on teams that are comprised of researchers from different disciplines (e.g., public health, urban planning, design, psychology, etc.) 

If the workshop is offered again at the 2014 SfAA meetings in Albuquerque, don't miss your chance! I especially recommend it for students who wish to enhance their qualitative research skills with a foundation of knowledge for the experiential learning that will take place both academically and professionally. I also encourage academic departments to offer stipends if possible. As a fan of continuing education, I am of the belief that it is never too late to learn, and I am confident that the workshop improved not only my methodological tool kit but also the way I think about research. I cannot wait to use what I learned on my next big project. I also would not hesitate to take another methods-focused workshop from this team if it were offered. 

A bonus: Lance Gravlee and Amber Wutich were both students of Russell Bernard (the veritable godfather of anthropology methods if you ask anyone), and Dr. Wutich is also Associate Editor of Field Methods (a journal on methods in fieldwork). So, it's a great opportunity for students to learn from some of the most knowledgeable people in the field today.

Anthropologists in Practice: An Interview with Mia Madison, Planning Maping Analyst for the City of Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development

Anthropologists in Practice is an ongoing series of interviews featuring anthropologists (and professionals with anthropology training) and their varied work experiences. The goal of the series is to provide a source of information and inspiration to other practitioners and (potential) students of anthropology, and to illustrate the wide variety of jobs, skills and competencies held by anthropologists for employers and anyone else who is curious about what anthropologists actually do. While the interviews all follow a similar framework, each one is unique in its reflections on anthropology training and education, workplace applications, and advice for current and future practitioners. This week's Anthropologist in Practice is Mia Madison, Planning Mapping Analyst for the City of Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development.

Tell me a little bit about the organization you work for. How did you end up working there?

I work with the City of Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development (HCD). I ended up here from a graduate anthropology class. The division, which employs fellow alumni from the University of Memphis, came in to talk to us about HCD and I totally grilled them with questions about Memphis and the action that the city was taking to improve the quality of life for inner-city neighborhoods. Afterwards, I was encouraged to contact the planning supervisor to work on a neighborhood plan for a
community in North Memphis. I used the opportunity to work on my graduate anthropology practicum, after which I contacted the administrator to see if I could work on other projects to become familiar with how community development worked in the city of Memphis. I interned at HCD for one year (2010-2011), unpaid, which led to a temporary, part-time position, which led to a full-time position in January, 2012.

What is your title and job description? Describe your typical workday and some common tasks you perform.

My current title is Planning Mapping Analyst. When I became an employee, I had business cards made that referred to me as a Geospatial Analyst because of my ability to perform and utilize Geographical Information Systems (GIS). In general, I research data for internal and external customers, assist with mapping projects, act as a liaison for HCD partnerships, and do various other illustrious duties as assigned.

A typical workday could include mapping vacant lots; researching demographics using Census or in-house condemnation data for specific neighborhoods and mapping them; and acting as researcher on outside projects. I serve as the chair of the Social Equity Working Group, which is a part of the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Sustainability’s regional planning efforts. In November 2011, Shelby County Government was awarded a HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant in the amount of $2,619,999 for the Mid-South Regional Greenprint & Sustainability Plan. The plan is designed to enhance regional livability and sustainability by establishing a unified vision for a region-wide network of greenspace areas, or Greenprint, which serves to address long-term housing and land use, resource conservation, environmental protection, accessibility, community health and wellness, transportation alternatives, economic development, neighborhood engagement, and social equity in the Greater Memphis Area. Currently, this my primary project.

One of the initiatives that the Social Equity working group is working on is involving youth as community engagement capacity builders. We are working on a strategy that helps youth become more involved in the planning process. 

Tell me about your anthropology background. What were some of your favorite research projects, subjects, courses, experiences as an anthropology student? Do you have a favorite anthropologist? What are you most passionate about when it comes to anthropology?

I have a Master of Arts in Urban Anthropology and an Bachelor of Arts in Geography, both from the University of Memphis. My interest in anthropology began in undergraduate school. I was looking for ways to include ancillary data into human/urban geographical projects. I found that anthropological research methods could serve this purpose. I took a class called American Communities and was introduced to an applied academic approach to research, which  actually involved talking to people versus taking soil samples and ground-truthing data. I found that my graduate studies in Urban Anthropology and City and Regional Planning provided me with a realm in which to focus on my own interests. As a naturally inquisitive and talkative person, anthropology allowed me to participate and engage in ALL the things I was interested in, while documenting what I saw and how it made me feel. I had been providing my perspective on various things without warrant or a research title for many years. Anthropology gave me a training and license that allowed me to keep doing just that.

One of the more interesting classes for me in graduate school was Urban Anthropology of the Mid-South. I was already interested in neighborhood and community dynamics. By combining my studies with City and Regional Planning, I had the opportunity to see anthropology in planning through action.

I don’t really have a “favorite” anthropologist. However, I can say that Zora Neale Hurston’s work as an anthropologist and writer did impact my life. Since I finished grad school, Dr. Keri Brondo’s work in environmental anthropology has also been very interesting to read.

When it comes to anthropology, I can’t say that there is one specific thing that I’m more passionate about than anything else. I do know that it took a long time for me to accept that anthropology was actually teaching me something that I didn’t
already know. I found that anthropology showed me a more structured way to approach the things I was interested in and I am thankful for that.
 

How have you navigated your workplace as an anthropologist? Do you define yourself as an anthropologist or use another title? Have you taught others about what anthropology can do at your organization? If so, what has this process been like?

My position with the city is primarily geared toward someone trained in GIS. Though there are two anthropologists in my department, I wouldn’t have been qualified for this position had it not been for my training as a geographer, but I was considered because of my connections to anthropology and my ability to network. I also had 15 years of corporate training. So, I really can’t say that I take a specifically anthropological approach to my projects. I usually use my geographical lens which also taught me to be holistic. I try to visualize all things in place and space and how they are all interconnected. I see Anthropology and Geography as Earth Sciences. It’s just that anthropology allowed me to see, and show, what was happening in that place and space that wasn’t going to be documented in map.

Depending on the setting, I will label myself as either an anthropologist and/or geographer. Most times, I have to explain how an African American woman became interested in those disciplines. So I found it easier to say "I make maps."

What advice do you have for current anthropology students when marketing their skills to prospective employers? Is there something you wish you had done as a student to prepare yourself for the workplace?

 
The advice I have for current anthropology students trying to market their skills, or anyone else looking for work, is to find the career that you love and go after it with fervor. It doesn’t matter if that “work” is in the field of anthropology. It doesn’t matter what that passion is as long as it is something that you don’t mind getting up and doing. Don’t think you’ve got the skills to do that thing you’ve always loved? Go get them. Don’t have the money to get another skill? Intern for free until you get trained. 


Whatever it is you have to do to get you to the place you want to be, do that. Time only moves forward, it doesn’t wait and it surely doesn’t move backwards. The greatest thing I’ve ever done in the working world is to find a job that I absolutely love. I love the people I work with. I love the fulfillment that the position gives me. I love that I am still able to give back to my community and bridge gaps from one to the other. If saying I’m an anthropologist means I get to have this feeling for the rest of my life the then I’ll be one!
  

Note: I am looking for additional participants for the Anthropologists in Practice series, so if you are interested in participating in an interview, please get in touch!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Anthropologists in Practice: An Interview with Susanne Salehi, Healthcare Data Analyst

Anthropologists in Practice is an ongoing series of interviews featuring anthropologists (and professionals with anthropology training) and their varied work experiences. The goal of the series is to provide a source of information and inspiration to other practitioners and (potential) students of anthropology, and to illustrate the wide variety of jobs, skills and competencies held by anthropologists for employers and anyone else who is curious about what anthropologists actually do. While the interviews all follow a similar framework, each one is unique in its reflections on anthropology training and education, workplace applications, and advice for current and future practitioners. This week's Anthropologist in Practice is Susanne Salehi, a data analyst working at a small healthcare company in the South.

Tell me a little bit about the organization you work for. How did you end up working there? 
 
I work for a very small healthcare company in the South. The company is a subsidiary of a larger insurance company. We work with high-risk pregnant women in order to help delay their pregnancies, and operate through telephonic education and face-to-face outreach visits.
 

The president of the company has worked with students from my graduate program before, so when one of his employees moved out of state, he sent an e-mail to the chair of the anthropology department, requesting recommendations for the position. She forwarded the e-mail to some candidates she thought were appropriate, and I happened to be one of them. When people tell you “connections are everything,” it's true. It took me awhile to realize that making a good impression on everyone you meet is critical, because you don’t know when they might have a job opportunity you’d be interested in.

What is your specific role at this organization? Describe your typical workday or some common tasks you perform.
 

The job title I have is long-winded and doesn’t say much about what I actually do. Essentially, I’m a data analyst/administrative catch-all. I work on a variety of projects, some lasting months and some just for the week. I do statistics for the company for internal performance metrics, using both SPSS and Microsoft Excel. I also do literature reviews and administrative tasks like writing up workflow policies or data entry. Last but not least, I create PowerPoint presentations and am occasionally called upon to train other employees on new software.

Tell me about your anthropology background. What were some of your favorite research projects, subjects, courses, experiences as an anthropology student? Do you have a favorite anthropologist? What are you most passionate about when it comes to anthropology? 


My Master’s is in medical anthropology, and I also have a Bachelor’s in anthropology. Both degrees are from the University of Memphis. As a student, I really enjoyed the unique perspective anthropology gave me, as well as the more practitioner-focused classes I took, like Data Analysis or Research Methods. I still maintain my love for medical anthropology, specifically for issues surrounding reproductive rights. I don’t have a favorite anthropologist, but I’m endlessly fascinated by linguistic anthropology and the way language reveals cultural attitudes.

How have you been able to use your anthropology training in your current job? What specific training, skills, experiences and competencies have been most useful to you?


My training in data analysis has been the most useful, as I use SPSS frequently. The writing-heavy focus in my grad program was helpful, too. My ability to take copious amounts of notes for hours on end has been valuable. I’ve had to do transcribing also, so all of my experience with focus groups and interviews has come in handy.

How have you navigated your workplace as an anthropologist? I.e., What has been the reception of your coworkers/managers/clients to your anthropologist identity? Do you define yourself as an anthropologist or use another title? Have you taught others about what anthropology can do at your organization? If so, what has this process been like?


I guess my biggest complaint about my job is that I do not feel that I am making a difference. My anthropology training is either ignored or misconstrued. No one here understands what anthropology is, and when I try to explain they aren’t really interested. My boss just wants someone to “do SPSS.” While he seeks out medical anthropologists to work for him, he doesn’t seem to care to know what anthropology entails. He prefers to maintain his belief that the sum of the discipline is that anthropologists “do studies.” I have not had the chance to work directly with our high-risk patients, design interventions, or assess our programs, all things I have been trained to do. 


While at work, I am referred to as “the anthropologist,” though no one really gets what it means. I often have to follow that up with “data analyst,” since that is the essential function of my job. In my personal life I think of myself as an anthropologist, maintaining the core disciplinary and ethical beliefs.

What advice would you have for current anthropology students when marketing their skills to prospective employers? Is there something you wish you had done as a student to prepare yourself for the workplace?


My advice is to emphasize the skills you have, rather than your title as an anthropologist. Unfortunately, anthropology is still widely misunderstood. Definitely take the time to educate people, but begin by talking about what you can do. 


As a student, I definitely should have been more active and sought out more opportunities to engage with organizations and community members. I had a graduate assistantship, practicum experience, and a four-month stint as a research assistant on a small grant, but I don’t think it was nearly enough. I also wish I had finished my nonprofit certificate program, as it would have really helped. Any software you can learn – do it. GIS, SPSS, Photoshop, anything to set you apart from the probable hundreds of other applicants for your dream job. Travel might help too – whatever looks neat and interesting on a resume. 


To summarize: I wish I had focused on resume development and building connections more, and also been more actively aware of the “real world” and the fact that I would have to convert all of my experiences into words on one piece of paper that an HR manager will glance at for 10 seconds.

Is there anything else you would like to share?


For everyone out there that’s desperately unhappy with their job, take heart. I am very unhappy here, but I’ve recently had several interviews with organizations that seem much more anthropologically-inclined. There are other options – anthropology jobs do exist outside of academia. I think that for me, this was the hardest thing to accept. For a long time I struggled, because I didn’t know if I could find a job I could love that would fit my skill set and training.



Note: I am looking for additional participants for the Anthropologists in Practice series, so if you are interested in participating in an interview, please get in touch!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Anthropologists in Practice: An Interview with Freelance Architect Allison Hennie

As part of a new series at Anthropologizing, I'll be posting some interviews with practicing anthropologists about their professions, backgrounds, and how they've been able to apply their anthropology training in the workplace. This week's Anthropologist in Practice is Freelance Architect Allison Hennie of Memphis, TN.

Tell me a little bit about your job. What sort of role do you play in your work, and what is a typical workday like?

I am self-employed and do freelance work for several clients, including a museum exhibit design firm and a community development corporation. Typically, I also have an independent project in the works. I’m also a full-time student again with a graduate assistantship at the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa. 

The search continues to find a title that describes what I do these days. Depending on the situation, my default answer is "licensed architect". This response usually results in someone demanding free design advice to remodel a room in their house. On other occasions, I’ll expand my answer and mention my graduate studies in anthropology. Sometimes I'm asked by others how I can meld the two fields of architecture and anthropology. Right now I’m exploring the interface of these two fields through museum studies.

My work involves a little bit of everything, but lately I turn other people’s ideas into tangible products. These products have taken on the form of architectural drawings for exhibits and museum spaces, budgets, grant applications, project proposals, graphic layouts, and formatting the qualitative analysis of research.
 

Tell me about your anthropology background. What were some of your favorite research projects, subjects, courses, or experiences as an anthropology student? Do you have a favorite anthropologist (past or present)? What are you most passionate about when it comes to anthropology?

I have an M.A. in Urban Anthropology from the University of Memphis, a B.Arch (Bachelor of Architecture) from Carnegie Mellon, and am currently enrolled in the Museum Studies Certificate Program at the University of Memphis. My interests lay in the interface between anthropology and architecture, as in defining, interpreting and experiencing places.

One insightful moment that sticks in my head from my anthropology training is a discussion I had with a professor about kitchens. She was trying to get me to think more as an anthropologist and less as an architect. Our conversation started with my description of the imaginary lines between the sink, cook top and refrigerator, also known as the "kitchen work triangle", and ended with my professor talking about the changing role of women in a domestic kitchen. It was a moment where the dots started connecting.

I don’t have a favorite anthropologist, but a few authors I recently read or reread include Fredrik Barth, Ulf Hannerz, J.B. Jackson, Anne Spirn, and Yi-Fu Tuan.
 

How have you been able to use your anthropology training in your current job? What specific training, skills, and competencies have been most useful to you?

The more interesting work-related experiences tend to be about educating others about either anthropology or architecture. One skill from my anthropological training that I find marketable and continually try to refine is writing and editing. It’s important to communicate with a clear, open, and engaging style.
 

How have you navigated your workplace as an anthropologist? Do you define yourself as an anthropologist or use another title?

I do not use an in-your-face approach when bridging anthropology and architecture. Most of the time I talk around anthropology and don’t refer to myself as an anthropologist.
 

What advice would you have for current anthropology students when marketing their skills to prospective employers? Is there something you wish you had done as a student to prepare yourself for the workplace?

To market the core skills of anthropology, it’s important to have another passion that compliments what anthropology does. This response is obviously influenced by the fact that I was practicing in the field of architecture before starting graduate studies in anthropology.
 

For an example of one of Allison's recent projects, check out her post on Indoor and Outdoor Wayfinding at the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa blog, in which she discusses the implications of using visual cues to enhance museum design and the visitor experience.



Note: I am looking for additional participants for the Anthropologists in Practice series, so if you are interested in participating in an interview, please get in touch!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Anthropologists in Practice: An Interview with Harmony Farner, Staff Associate at Econometrica, Inc.

As part of a new series at Anthropologizing, I'll be posting some interviews with practicing anthropologists about their professions, backgrounds, and how they've been able to apply their anthropology training in the workplace. This week's Anthropologist in Practice is Harmony Farner, a Staff Associate at Econometrica, Inc., in Bethesda, Maryland.

Tell me a little bit about the company you work for. How did you end up working there? 

I currently work for Econometrica, Inc., located in Bethesda, MD (about 30 minutes north of Washington, DC). Econometrica, Inc. is a private research and management consulting firm committed to providing high-quality, cost-effective analyses, modeling, and economic evaluations for clients in the public and private sectors. The firm serves governmental and commercial clients with a broad range of requirements in the energy, health, homeland security, housing, and transportation markets.

I ended up working at Econometrica by networking. I met a woman at an event for an organization we both volunteer for (completely unrelated to anthropology) and we began talking. As it usually does, the topic of employment came up. At the time I wasn’t looking for work, as I was working as a research program coordinator for Johns Hopkins. But, I can never pass up the opportunity to give out my resume, so we exchanged contact information. Months later, she contacted me saying she had passed around my resume and that she and her colleagues were impressed by my skill set and experience. Since the grant I worked on at Johns Hopkins was wrapping up, I interviewed and got my first job in the private sector! 

What is your role/title/job description? Describe your typical workday or some common tasks you perform. 

My official title is “Staff Associate II” – vague, I know. In a nutshell, I provide research support for a number of HUD- and HHS-related Federal contracts. I am one of two anthropologists employed by Econometrica, Inc. We are known as the “go-to qualitative people”. I don’t have a typical workday, which is something I actually like - it keeps work fresh and interesting! 

Currently, I am working on the following project for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: Post-Reform Consumer Landscape Market Analytics and Implementation. For this project, I provide research support relating to the establishment of new competitive private health insurance markets, or Exchanges”, which are being created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I contribute to various modeling efforts examining the effects of the act on the demand, supply, access, and pricing of health insurance and health care nationally and in ten specific states. 

Tell me about your anthropology background. What were some of your favorite research projects, subjects, courses, experiences as an anthropology student? Do you have a favorite anthropologist (past or present)? What are you most passionate about when it comes to anthropology? 

I received a B.A. in anthropology from The University of Memphis in 2007, followed by a M.A. in anthropology with an emphasis in medical anthropology, from the same university in 2009. Looking back, I would have to say the most useful courses I took were Anthropological Research Methods and Biocultural Epidemiology. The research methods I learned are ones I use nearly every day in my job. And, Biocultural Epidemiology offered an introduction into the terminologies and methodologies used by those in the public health sector. In my personal experience, I’ve found that being able to speak the same language (although rudimentary) as those in the world of public health goes a long way in terms of networking and credibility.

As far as what I’m post passionate about when it comes to anthropology, I would have to say it’s bringing a different viewpoint to the table and getting people to question the way they look at or think about things. The thing that brings me the most joy as an anthropologist is having someone pause and say “Huh…I hadn’t thought about it that way”.

My favorite anthropologist is, hands down, Michael Agar. He has a new book that just came out entitled The Lively Science

How have you been able to use your anthropology training in your current job? What specific training, skills, experiences and competencies have been most useful to you?

In my current position, I perform a wide variety of tasks, some of which include qualitative data analysis, needs assessments (knowing how to talk with people, as opposed to at people, is imperative), and proposal writing. The skill that makes me the most marketable and valuable to my employer is the ability to write grants. Grant writing and proposal writing are, in many ways, similar; so, whether you choose to work in academia or in the private sector, this is a skill that is highly coveted. 

How have you navigated your workplace as an anthropologist? I.e., What has been the reception of your coworkers/managers/clients to your "anthropologist" identity? How do you define yourself? Have you taught others about what anthropology can do at your organization? If so, what has this process been like? 

I have always defined myself as a medical anthropologist. In my personal experience, I’ve found that 99% of people have little to no idea about what I do – and that air of mystery oftentimes commands some degree of respect. My more functional and less theatrical definition is usually something along the lines of “medical anthropologist working in public health” or “qualitative researcher”. And "no, I’m not like 'Bones'”.

Currently, I work with a lot of economists and legal types. To be quite honest, they don’t care about what I do and I don’t care about what they do. But, we respect one another’s work and areas of expertise, and realize that we’re all different little cogs working together to run one big machine.

What advice would you have for current anthropology students when marketing their skills to prospective employers? Is there something you wish you had done as a student to prepare yourself for the workplace?

My biggest piece of advice is when marketing your skills, do so in their language! For example, people outside of academia don’t know what a “research program coordinator” does, but they do know what a “research program manager” does. It’s one small word, but it makes a huge difference. Second, I highly recommend learning how to write grants, proposals, or both. No, it isn’t glamorous work, but it makes you much more marketable and may be the deciding factor in you getting the job over another candidate. 

My last piece of advice is one that I wish I had heeded in graduate school. Learn a statistics program – whether it is SPSS, STATA, or SAS, just learn one. There have been many occasions when I’ve felt hindered by my lack of know-how in the world of statistics. I realize the vast majority of anthropologists loathe math, but the reality of it is that in today’s world, such a skill is a necessity. 


Note: I am looking for additional participants for the Anthropologists in Practice series, so if you are interested in participating in an interview, please get in touch!