The course ANTHROP 3005: Careers with Anthropology prepares students from all sub-fields of anthropology for life beyond the degree. Students conduct exercises to discover what they are looking for in work and careers, they learn how to translate and communicate their anthropological and other skills to employers and clients, and they learn how to research their career communities using informational interviewing and other networking strategies.
A critical part of the course are guest speakers from a wide range of fields and professions. The guests discuss how they have leveraged their anthropological skills to network, get interviews, and land jobs. Below are profiles of some of the guest speakers who discuss their careers, how they use anthropology in their current positions, and share career advice for undergraduates. Most of the guests are alumni from our own program and were interviewed by students enrolled in the course.
Profiles of careers in/with anthropology
Braelyn Gerchak interviewed Madelyn on September 10, 2020. The interview was edited for clarity and conciseness.
Biographical sketch: Madelyn Gutkoski is a 2013 graduate from The Ohio State University who double-majored in Anthropology and Spanish. Her education has led her down many paths, which include studying abroad at Universidad de Belgrano while an undergraduate student, interning at Complete Research Connection, becoming an English to Spanish translator for Perrysburg Schools, and obtaining the title of a contracted ethnographer. Her passion for bridging the gap of knowledge between individuals was only heightened when she earned her Master’s in Business Anthropology from Wayne State University in 2015. Today, Madelyn works for Owens Corning as a product developer.
How was your study abroad program through The Ohio State University?
Studying aboard was something I've always been interested in. As an anthropologist, in general, we’re curious about other walks of life and to me, Latin America was my culture that I connected with in a different way, so that's why I decided to go there. It was the best thing I've ever done. Ever. Hands down. I would recommend it to anyone.
What advice would you give to current undergrad students who want to pursue a degree in anthropology?
I think as anthropologists, we're really good at disseminating data or reporting out on things that are happening, but what I realized is that we're not really good at selling or influencing. So, I would just get good at selling your skills and really play them up and go to an employer and say why you are unique and different. Anthropologists bring such a valuable perspective to any field of work, so being able to translate why this is important is pivotal for other being able to understand anthropology.
How do you communicate what an anthropologist is to your co-workers?
At first, I was so proud that I was an anthropologist, but then I had to describe what that means all the time. So, I stopped, and people actually see me as an engineer, but they see my expertise in end-user research. Some of my co-workers are skeptical of the power of the anthropological perspective in product development. The most challenging skeptics, my design targets, I work closely with and bring them along on the research with me rather than just reporting out my findings. By doing so, I am able to use anthropology in everyday work while also teaching my coworkers how it is beneficial to my research.
Wayne State MA in business and organizational anthropology: https://clas.wayne.edu/anthropology/grad/ma/curriculum/business-org
Owens Corning: https://www.owenscorning.com/en-us
Faith Reeling and Rachel Hutchison interviewed Sara on September 24, 2020. The interview was edited for clarity and conciseness.
Biographical sketch: Dr. Sara McGuire started her education at the University of New Haven where she earned a B.S. in Forensic Science with minors in Chemistry and Criminal Justice, as well as a B.A. in History. She landed a summer internship with the Smithsonian analyzing human bone samples by using stable isotope analysis. With her interest sparked, she attended a master’s program at Bournemouth University in England for Biological Anthropology where her dissertation focused on the dietary reconstruction by stable isotope analysis of Late Iron Age and Early Roman individuals from a site in Dorset county in southern England. Sara then completed her PhD in Anthropology at The Ohio State University in 2020 with a specific focus in Biological Anthropology, Bioarcheology, and Anatomy. Sara currently works for the federal government.
Finding field and research experience in anthropology as an undergraduate can be daunting and difficult at times. Do you have any advice for going about finding those opportunities?
Keep an open mind, and don’t limit yourself based on location or organization. There is a need for anthropologists everywhere, regardless of the subfield. Apply wherever you think they may be taking interns. It can’t hurt, it only takes a couple of hours to get your name out there. Even if you find that it’s not for you, you may have useful experiences along the way. For example, I had the opportunity to work and talk with anthropologists at the Smithsonian Museum during my internship. That was a good opportunity to network with them and other staff, asking them if they had any opportunities to share. It’s all about finding the opportunities where they are and taking advantage of them. If you don’t like it, reach out and see where else you can go. I didn’t know anyone at the Department of Justice, but I put myself out there and look what happened.
How did you set yourself apart and make yourself stand out?
Really just working hard. I did many study-abroad opportunities, both for my history degree and my masters’, and those were great ways to interact with and experience other cultures. That gives you great interpersonal skills that are applicable in a wide range of situations. Pursuing things you love as well is important because you're going to develop a passion about it. I love skeletons so much; I can learn things about your life based on things in your bones. I’m passionate about it, I love it, and that shines through. People will see that you’re serious about your field and know what you want to do.
Would you recommend going to graduate school when pursuing a career in science, like yourself?
It really depends. As an undergrad, I never thought I was going to go to grad school. I thought I was going to work in a lab and it was going to be boring, but whatever. But then I found anthropology, and I knew from talking to scientists at the Smithsonian lab that I would need at least a master’s degree to have the specialized skill set to be able to do those types of scientific analyses. So, I got my master’s and must have applied to 150 plus anthropology lab jobs and I was either way overqualified or needed a PhD. So, I went and got my PhD and that really helped me in the long run because I was able to continue developing my skills and continue learning. That really gave me more experiences and I think made me more employable. I had very strong chemistry skills coming out of undergrad, but I don’t think that I had the life experience necessary to start this career the right way. I was a young 21 when I graduated college; furthering my education and taking a couple years off to work gave me real world experiences that made me a more competitive employee.
Smithsonian internships: https://www.smithsonianofi.com/internship-opportunities/
Department of Justice internships: https://www.justice.gov/careers/interns-recent-graduates-and-fellows
Federal Bureau of Investigation internships: https://www.fbijobs.gov/students/undergrad
Brooke Bungard and Sarah Maloney interviewed Dolly on October 1, 2020. The interview was edited for clarity and conciseness.
Biographical Sketch: Dolly Hayde is currently a Researcher at COSI’s Center for Research and Evaluation, where she specializes in research and evaluation of informal learning experiences. She received her Bachelor of Art in English, Anthropology, and American Studies at the University of Arkansas in 2009 and completed her Master of Arts in Anthropology at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 2011. Soon after, in 2013 she received her M.A. in Museum Studies at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis. Dolly worked as ethnographer and data analyst for SmartRevenue where she conducted qualitative and quantitative fieldwork and data interpretation. Later, she began working as an audience research associate at Indianapolis Museum of Arts. She also worked as an anthropology teacher for Junior High and High School students. She has spent more time in museums and other informal learning settings, and soon after began working as a Clowes Museum Fellow in Evaluation at the Eiteljorg Museum and later took her current position at COSI in 2013.
How did you end up in museum evaluation and what is that like?
I joke a lot with people when they ask how I got to be a museum evaluator. I always say when I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a museum evaluator, but the truth is, I didn't know what that was until I went through lots of academic training and learned that was a thing. I love doing research with people and I love doing research about people. I didn't necessarily want to be doing that work in an academic institution.
So, I spoke with my advisor at the time and she really encouraged me to think about museums. I went in thinking I would become a museum educator, so I took all the classes, and I did a lot of that work too. In fact, applied for a lot of jobs in both evaluation and museum education, but museum evaluation really hit the sweet spot for me of being able to study people and use the skills that I picked up in anthropology and think about what makes people tick and why people do the things that they do without necessarily losing all the cool stuff about museums. I'm a very lucky person in that I get to use every part of my education at all times in my job.
What is informal learning and, since you have done both, how would you compare what you do to a more formal teaching position?
Formal learning is what all of you all are doing right now, you are taking a class within the context of an educational setting that is pitched to you in a structured way. There is also non-formal learning, which is kind of like all of the structured ways of learning that are adjacent to formal learning [like a workshop]. Informal learning is how you learn things outside of those formal contexts. It's the stuff that happens while you're living your life. The focus of what I study in the world of informal learning is generally about the choices people make with respect to leisure, like choosing to go to a museum, choosing to go to a zoo, or an aquarium. Trying to think about how people are making choices about learning for fun is a lot of what I do.
What part of your degree in anthropology do you use the most? What is the most essential?
My fundamentals of anthropology and history anthropology courses, I use all the time. Those are the things that helped me philosophically when I'm thinking through problems. Those are the things that justify the routes that I'm taking through solving problems. I'll give you an example of something that I'm dealing with right now. I work with social scientists from a lot of other disciplines and use a lot of the paradigms that are important to anthropology, where we need to consider things like subjectivity, positionality, and context.
The other thing that I have learned in anthropology that is critical to my work is being able to talk to people. You would be surprised how many people struggle with this, and it is crucial to everything I do, such as gathering data from people, asking questions and interpreting data. If I want people to use what I learned, I have to be able to help them understand it. I have to be able to talk about it in a way that makes sense to them. This is something you learn by being in the field, bridging communications, and thinking about other cultures rather than just your own. And that is something anthropology has made me more sensitive to than I would be otherwise.
MA Museum Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis: https://liberalarts.iupui.edu/programs/museum-studies/
Zack Powell and Elizabeth Neff interviewed Bruce on October 22, 2020. The interview was edited for clarity and conciseness.
Biographical sketch: Bruce Larson is a professional archaeologist with over 40 years of experience in the field. He has worked as an archaeologist at Arizona State University, with the Virginia department of Historic resources, and as a naval anthropologist. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah (1981) and a master’s degree from the College of William and Mary (2003). He specializes in Archaeology and Historic Preservation. Currently Mr. Larson works for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic as the Cultural Resources Branch head. His command is responsible for all environmental protocols for the United States Navy as they do work in the continental United States, island territories, and overseas, and ensures that as navy missions go forward, they do not inadvertently destroy, disrupt, or adversely affect cultural resources, whether they be at home or abroad.
When did you know you wanted to be an Archaeologist?
I grew up in the Chicago area and as a kid, and when I was about six or seven my grandfather and my parents took me to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and I was captured almost immediately. I think my earliest recollections from that young age was with dinosaurs before they were cool, fossils of all sorts, and then cultures from around the world.
Do you ever get into conflict with the Navy over cultural resource management, and how do you resolve those conflicts?
Knowledge is power, to be blunt. What we do is get out and make sure that we can actually have data to justify an approach. So, the earlier, we can get out, get the information in the hands of those who are doing planning, the better. For example, we were brought up as a team to support the development of a security fence around an Air Force facility. The goal there was to identify if there were any environmental problems that needed to be related to the host nation. We found two archaeological sites right in the way of the fence. So immediately we came up with a series of recommendations using host nation law, but also consistent with our protocols and the Department of Defense, but more importantly as professional archaeologists, not only in the United States but worldwide through international conventions.
In this particular case, we were able to work with the engineers designing the security fence in the area that was going to have a potential adverse effect to a part of this Swahili urban center that we found and gave them a protocol as to how to proceed. That was going to be limiting surface disturbance. Surface disturbance would be strictly monitored by us with a work stoppage authority by my team and we would record the data that was in the direct impact area and coordinate that directly with our colleagues in Kenya. That’s a real-world example of how we can take advantage of this knowledge that we've gained through our inventories. Developing treatment plans that can then effectively steer away from significant cultural resource sites”
Do you have any professional aspirations that you're looking to achieve or that you've maybe already achieved?
I learned from my father years ago to be goal oriented. I think in many ways there is always a goal out there yet to be done. In terms of professional development, in that, to be blunt, I'm clearly not a spring chicken anymore, so I think that my goal right now is mentoring. I have a lot of experiences seeing mistakes that have been made over the years by myself and others, seeing the change in the discipline, and one of the things that I really look forward is to mentor.
Do you have any advice for students struggling with their chosen career path?
The smartest thing you can ever do with your trajectory is realize your limitations and overcome those by hard work. You just have to dive into it. What I am suggesting is you always push the envelope you push yourself to the limit. Make it your business to learn what you said you could do in the first place.
Mark Moritz interviewed Samantha Underwood on September 2, 2021.
Biographical sketch: Samantha completed her BS in Anthropological Sciences with a minor in Forensic Science in 2017 from The Ohio State University (OSU). She attended the University of Dundee in Scotland (UK) and earned an MS in Anatomy and Advanced Forensic Anthropology in 2019. She currently working as a Tissue Team Lead at Lifeline of Ohio.
Can you tell me about Lifeline of Ohio? What kind of organization is it?
Lifeline of Ohio is an organ procurement organization operating in central and southeastern Ohio. Organ procurement organizations are non-profit companies that facilitate the transplantation of organs, tissue, and corneas.
What do you do at Lifeline of Ohio? What are you roles and responsibilities? What does a typical day look like for you?
I currently work as a surgical specialist also known as a preservationist. My role involves assisting transplant surgeons in surgery. My work includes coordinating supplies, examination of organ anatomy, flushing organs with preservation solutions, sterile packaging of organs, as well as surgical recovery of research organs. A typical day involves traveling to different hospitals around the state, assisting hospital staff preparing the operating room, completing the organ procurement procedure, and helping transport the organ to its final destination. Occasionally we will travel with transplant surgeons out of state to get organs for their local patients. This involves flying in tiny private planes, riding in ambulances, and meeting other transplant professionals across the country.
How did you go about your job search when you finished your MA program? What guided your decision-making?
After finishing my MA program, I knew I wanted to move back to central Ohio to be closer to friends and family. I started searching for jobs involving anatomy and forensics online. I came across Lifeline of Ohio – particularly the position of Tissue Technician – and felt this would be a good fit for my skills.
What are the different ways that you use your anthropological training in your work at Lifeline of Ohio.
I use my anthropological training in a variety of ways at Lifeline of Ohio. My understanding of differing cultural perspectives allows me to empathize with our donor families. My knowledge of anatomy, human osteology, biomechanics and scientific reasoning can be directly applied to our work in a medical setting.
Lifeline of Ohio: https://lifelineofohio.org/
University of Dundee MSc Anatomy & Advanced Forensic Anthropology: https://www.dundee.ac.uk/postgraduate/anatomy-advanced-forensic-anthropology
Lola Valion and Emma Steele interviewed Elizabeth on September 3, 2020. The interview was edited for clarity and conciseness.
Biographical sketch: Elizabeth completed her BS in Zoology with a minor in Anthropology in 2008 from The Ohio State University (OSU). She attended the School for International Training and earned an MA in Intercultural Science, Leadership, and Management in 2011. Between 2009 and 2011, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali while simultaneously completing her master’s research. Before returning to OSU as a doctoral student in Anthropology, she worked for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Columbus, Ohio. Elizabeth graduated with her PhD in Anthropology in 2020. While a doctoral student, Elizabeth further developed her professional experience by teaching Anthropology 101 at OSU (2014-2019); developing and implementing youth workforce development curriculum for a Franklin County social services provider (2017-2018); and consulting as a researcher for Measurement Resources Company (MRC), a performance measurement and evaluation consulting business here in Columbus. Elizabeth is currently a Senior Research Associate and Program Manage at MRC.
Can you describe your career path from your undergraduate training in zoology to your current position at Measurement Resources Company?
I had a career path mapped out when I came to college, but I didn’t end up following it. To reach where I am now, my success has been with being able to accept career opportunities when I come across them. Another key to my success is, while in any job, being able to identify the skills I want to learn from it; essentially looking forward to what I need to get out of one job to get the next job I want. Sometimes that means gaining management experience in a company that is completely outside my academic or other interests. I also seek out a lot of opportunities by pursuing network contacts. When I have met people in the past that had careers that I thought would be satisfying, I asked about how they got to where they were. This helped me determine degrees I would want, or types of internships/jobs with which I would need to build my resume.
The best way for me to take you through my path is to start at my first job - which was at a dog kennel. My attitude toward life really came from that job, allowing me to be good at doing the grunt work and to enjoy it and find pride in it - and that allowed me to say yes to any, seemingly, little opportunity. Sometimes people get caught up with accepting an entry-level job because they deserve something higher, but in reality, those entry-level jobs are how you move up within organizations or make lateral moves into departments of which you really want to be a part.
So, I started off college in zoology because I wanted to study elephants. I ended up getting an internship at an elephant sanctuary and did a study abroad in Kenya on wildlife management. My research there ended up being on people's interactions with elephants and other conflicts that they were having in their lives, which is what really turned me onto the field of anthropology. After college I knew I wanted to join Peace Corps, and I wanted to do something that would take me to the next level of education and experience. So, I enrolled in a master's international program with School for International Training, which allows you to complete your Masters coursework in a year and then join Peace Corps to conduct your research (unfortunately this program is no longer available).
My Masters research is a great example of how I work to leverage the most that I can from an experience. I had noticed that Peace Corps was asking these young volunteers to relay the culture they are experiencing and the meaning they’ve attributed to it back to people in America with very little training as to how to think about or observe culture. Peace Corps is essentially asking volunteers to be cultural anthropologists. So my research began to center around the volunteer program, how effective it was at preparing volunteers to talk about culture/their experiences, and how it could be better. From my study’s recommendations, I was able to contribute my recommendations to Peace Corps Headquarters, who were in the process of standardizing their training programs. I tell you this story because I saw a problem that needed to be solved and I was able to figure out how to position myself to be the one to solve it - in other words, creating a needed job to be filled and positioning myself to fill it.
Would you recommend students to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer?
I think Peace Corps is one of the best things either an anthropologist or a non-anthropologist could do, and it is the main reason that I am where I am now. There are many reasons I recommend Peace Corps - for one, it’s two years living abroad, for free. During this time, you can save money and actually come back with a bit of money.
Additionally, the job market wasn’t looking great at the time I decided to join, so I thought I might as well do something where I’m not going into further debt, yet still doing something productive. I think Peace Corps and studying abroad are the two greatest things you can do – even if you don’t plan on doing anything internationally – you just learn so much about yourself. If you are intentional about it, you can also learn invaluable soft skills that are highly desired by the job market today. You can also build a professional network.
Further, when you finish Peace Corps you get on a noncompetitive list for Federal government jobs. This is key in terms of being competitive for Federal jobs, if you are not a veteran or current Federal employee.
What opportunities did you take advantage of while in college?
When you are in college you should be building your professional network, and your professors are your greatest window into that. Especially at a school as big as Ohio State, you have to make sure that you are making an effort to connect with at least one or two professors so that they get to know you. Go to their office hours to talk about your career interests; make your face stand out from the crowd. When I was in undergrad, I just went up to Dr. Moritz one day and asked him if there was anything that I could do for him and he gave me some simple tasks, and that was like my “in”. Ten years later, I came to him for a PhD.
I also wish I would have known sooner about the importance of choosing professors and not classes. Look at professors who are working in areas that you are interested in, instead of looking at the most desirable class-times, because it makes such a difference. Again, those people are going to be in your professional network and can help direct you to new opportunities. Even if it’s an 8 AM class, connecting to that professor will make it easier to wake up for it.
My other piece of advice is to seek out studying abroad as much as you can – try to find the scholarships – because that will be a huge resume builder in whatever you do and whatever field you end up in.
Any parting advice for students?
If you are someone who is thinking about a PhD, I really recommend doing a Masters degree that is outside the box or that is more skills-targeted. For example, my Masters degree is not in anthropology. The Masters degree that I chose taught me a lot of the social skills that my employers appreciated most. I use my Anthropology PhD to establish my expertise in research methods, particularly in my current position. Also, there’s no rule that says once you graduate undergrad you have to go directly to graduate school. Enrolling in a Masters or PhD program is a huge investment, and I would recommend going into it with a sense of purpose, of intentionality. Be able to tell yourself why you’re doing this and what you want to get out of it. If you’re unsure, spend time doing Peace Corps, do some entry-level jobs, learn more about yourself first.
Lastly, when it comes to networking, you’re not just emailing someone because you’re interested in what they do – you’re emailing someone and saying, “this is what I’m interested in, do you have anyone in your network that you think I should get in touch with?” It’s about initiating engagement with other professionals and following up with them, not just the ones who you already know.
MRC’s Company website: https://measurementresourcesco.com
School for International Training: https://www.sit.edu
Peace Corps: https://www.peacecorps.gov
Alexa Ustaszewski interviewed Andrew on September 17, 2020. The interview was edited for clarity and conciseness.
Biographical sketch: Andrew Weiland graduated from Ohio University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2004. He attended graduate school at The Ohio State University where he earned his Master of Arts in Anthropology in May 2013 with his thesis “Marshelder (Iva annua L.) Seed Morphology and Patterns of Domestication in Eastern North America.” Continuing his graduate education at Ohio State, Weiland earned his PhD in Anthropology with his dissertation titled “Pathways to Maize Adoption and Intensification in the Little Miami and Great Miami River Valleys” in 2019. Weiland currently works as the Cultural Resources Program Manager for Hopewell Culture National Historic Park.
Can you talk about your current position and what you do on a day-to-day basis?
So, my position in terms of curation involves some public outreach like dealing with our interpretive rangers and discussing how to develop programs that have an anthropological or archaeological basis to them. Then it also involves basic housekeeping and care of those objects. Another major duty is the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA, that has to do with the return of human remains to Native American groups. That’s a really rewarding part of my job, working with tribes and doing right by the tribes. A lot of the archaeology part of my job is just compliance. We just make sure that there are no cultural resources being damaged.
As an undergraduate, what kinds of opportunities and internships did you seek out and how did you find those opportunities for yourself?
It wasn’t until I got into graduate school that I actually started pursuing lots of opportunities with lots of people. Rather than drawing from my own experiences as an undergraduate, I would give general advice to seek out the things you’re interested in and don’t feel as though you aren’t ready to reach out to people. There are all sorts of people that will be happy to get back to you. If you have basic interests in a subject within anthropology or some sort of research that you’d like to do, don’t be afraid of reaching out to people or organizations that are out there.
Can you talk about your experience doing fieldwork, how you find field schools, and how that process works?
I would say that for any job in archaeology you should have a field school. That’s just a bottom line. Even for museum jobs that is looked kindly upon, although maybe not necessary. My own personal experience was that I didn’t do a field school during my undergrad because I was more interested in cultural anthropology, and then in order to get a job in cultural resource management, I went back to school briefly just to take a field school so that I could get those jobs. Cross check who you’re working with. Reach out to people who are established in archaeology and ask if this is a good field school because you don’t want to waste your time.
How do you use anthropology in general professional situations, not necessarily when you’re doing archaeology or curation?
A lot of my reading and classes in cultural anthropology have helped me out on a personal and professional level understanding people’s perspectives and being open to those perspectives without being demeaning to other people’s viewpoints.
Do you have any tips for students when it comes to pursuing careers?
Don’t necessarily follow the career path that you think you should do. Realize it’s okay to make lateral moves and do something that you didn’t expect to find yourself doing. I did that quite a bit after my undergrad and I don’t regret a bit of it. Even if you are seriously driven on your career path, consider alternative opportunities that arise. I think that realizing alternative paths are available and seeking experiences that you’re passionate about is the most important thing. Find things you’re passionate about. Find things that are more rewarding to you, and you will eventually get rewarded for following them.
Hopewell Culture National Historic Park: https://www.nps.gov/hocu/index.htm
Braelyn Gerchak interviewed Ariel on September 10, 2020. The interview was edited for clarity and conciseness.
Biographical sketch: Ariel Miller is a 2013 graduate from The Ohio State University who earned a dual degree in Anthropology and Environment and Natural Resources. During her undergraduate years at Ohio State, she was an intern at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association. She recently earned a Master’s in City and Regional Planning from The Ohio State University (2020) and became a Coordinator of Research and Technical Assistance at the Council of Development Finance Agencies.
Did you always have a career path, or did you find it along the way?
I think, if you're studying people, then you can study people alongside literally anything else. For example, even if you're practicing anthropology and math, you know people are involved, even if it's just numbers. So, I think it lends itself nicely to being paired with other disciplines. To answer your question, no I did not have a set career path. In fact, I haven't had a single job so far that I knew that job existed before I got it. I think careers are in a constant state of development and it is important to explore as many options within anthropology that interest you.
How do you use an anthropological perspective in your career?
Absolutely! Anthropology makes us a little bit more comfortable looking and understanding people in an unconventional light. Because of this, it teaches critical thought it doesn't feel so uncomfortable to ask foundational questions about things like politics and society. This is beneficial in the workplace in order to better understand the culture within the environment.
What is the greatest tool gifted to you through studying anthropology?
Anthropology provides new perspectives for ways to question my own and others’ assumptions. There are always complicated problems in society. Now more than ever, light is being shed on these issues. Anthropology plays a key role in understanding others beyond myself, which is such an amazing gift.
Council of Development Finance Agencies: https://www.cdfa.net
Master’s in City and Regional Planning: https://knowlton.osu.edu/city-and-regional-planning/master-city-and-regional-planning
Shane Henderson and Allyson Nakanishi interviewed Stephanie on November 5, 2020. The interview was edited for clarity and conciseness.
Biographical sketch: Stephanie Kline is an archaeologist who is currently works a NAGPRA cataloger for the Ohio History Connection. Previously she worked as a NEPA and laboratory technician along with being a NAGPRA cataloger for ASC Group Inc.. She received a BA in Anthropology from OSU in 2011. Stephanie is interested and experienced in both pre-contact and historic archaeology, including faunal, lithic, ceramic, and historic analysis.
What made you pursue a degree in anthropology?
I was in international studies at OSU, and then took some Anthropology courses which made me realize what I wanted to do for a career, so I switched to Anthropology. My involvement in AmeriCorps furthered that passion for both Anthropology and Archaeology.
What advice do you have in terms of courses that undergraduates in anthropology and archaeology should take?
I would recommend, specifically with archaeology, doing a field school. I don’t think it matters which one you do, but it’s good to have some practical experience. Anything that gets a little practical experience under your belt. If you care about where you want to work, maybe take some classes that are region-specific.
How did you get involved with your volunteer positions and jobs?
Initially, I started volunteering with the museum in college. On their website, you just fill out a volunteer or internship application. After my field school, I got an internship through a recommendation from my field school instructor. The museum has a lot of volunteer opportunities, and CRM firms are generally open to the idea of doing internships. It’s really about making connections with someone who works there. I had a professor who taught at Hocking College that was involved with ASC, she recommended them for work, and from there I fell into the field tech position and never stopped.
How often do you collaborate with others? Does teamwork have an important role in either of your positions or is your work more individually based?
They’re both very collaborative, all of the time, it’s always a group or team effort. Just the other day I came across something with one of the NAGPRA collections where we needed to make a decision on how to handle certain situations, and that’s not something I can do myself. It needs to be discussed, because having different perspectives helps you to make better decisions.
Do you recommend getting involved with AmeriCorps? If so, what were some lessons and skills that you learned?
My experiences in AmeriCorps was eye opening for me to realize the kind of person I am where I want to be active and doing physical work. I was a reading tutor as well for third graders and I’ve always liked the element of education. I think that’s always why I wanted to work in a museum. I think education is so important.
We’ve been learning the importance of networking for the past few weeks. How do you keep in contact with the network that you’ve built - what are some ways to share what you’re up to?
The only reason I have Facebook is to stay connected with people I’ve met from the museum and people I’ve met who live further away. The people I’ve connected with are very active on Facebook. Another way for staying connected with people is volunteering for something - just keep showing up and remind them that you’re there.
What advice would you give to undergraduates graduating soon who are trying to find their career paths?
The thing that worked for me the most is just being flexible and adaptive and patient. Don’t give up, sometimes you hit roadblocks, but you can find ways to get around them.
Ohio History Connection: https://www.ohiohistory.org
ASC Group Inc: https://ascgroup.net
Lexi Cartwright and Jonah Lewis interviewed Elizabeth on November 19, 2020. The interview was edited for clarity and conciseness.
Biographical sketch: Elizabeth Osorio is a senior associate and lawyer for The Law Office of Brian Jones, LLC, where she uses anthropology in her career as a criminal defense attorney. She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Spanish, and soon after found herself working as an Office Services Associate for Williams Lea. In 2010 she enrolled in the University of Akron School of Law, where she was a part of the Asian-Latino Law Student Association and the Legal Association of Women. Elizabeth showed her interest in championing the cause of women and people of color in the field of law, a field that is predominantly male and white. During her time as an associate and senior associate attorney at The Law Office of Brian Jones, LLC, she has focused on offering holistic perspectives in forensic-heavy cases like sexual assault, drug offenses, and DUI/OVIs.
Where did your interest in anthropology come from?
I am a child of two cultures. My mom’s family is from the United States and my dad’s family is from Mexico and growing up in Mexico I was exposed to so much history. Anthropology is a huge field in Mexico; if you’ve never been, put it on your bucket list to go to the Anthropological Museum in Mexico City, it is incredible. That's really where my enjoyment of learning about culture and cultural history and the ethnic groups that were there before the rest of us arrived kind of started.
How did anthropology influence your career path?
Anthropology is what really turned me on to the idea that there could be multiple valid perspectives. And then when you think about your job as a lawyer, a lot of times what you’re trying to do is bring two separate perspectives together. In my particular area of law and criminal law. I am trying to encourage a group of 12 strangers to accept my version of facts over somebody else's. So, a lot of it is coming to understand that every person has a lens that they look through and the sooner you recognize that the more powerful. You are both the storyteller and the negotiator. And so that was something that felt like a secret advantage.
What ultimately made you decide to pursue a career as a lawyer?
I felt like I had an ability as a multicultural person and as somebody who really accepts and embraces the idea that there’s always an opposing point of view or a different way to interpret a series of events. And I felt like that in combination with my general enjoyment of reading and writing is very critical.
What would be your advice for undergraduate students in anthropology?
I would say a lot of things, but I think most importantly I would say to take advantage of every possible opportunity that you have to work with a professor or grad student or professional somebody who is doing what you're interested in doing. The connections that you make with people who are interested in what you’re interested in will serve you truly for the rest of your life. And I don’t mean just like Facebook or LinkedIn connections, But really kind of establishing to people and sharing with them what you're interested in and what you're passionate about.
The Law Office of Bryan Jones, LLC: https://thelawofficeofbrianjones.com/osorio-elizabeth-emelia/
Jessica L. Parisio and Camila Zelaya interviewed Jessica on October 7, 2020. The interview was edited for clarity and conciseness.
Biographical sketch: Jessica Mayercin-Johnson is the Program Manager for Reliance Agreements and Regulatory Support in the Office of Responsible Research Practices at The Ohio State University. Jessica has a BA in Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology from The Ohio State University and a MA in History Museum Studies from The Cooperstown Graduate Program in New York. Beginning as a protocol analyst five years ago, Jessica has worked toward her current position within the ORRP.
What does your work with the Office of Responsible Research Practices entail?
I am the program manager for reliance agreements and regulatory support for the Office of Responsible Research Practices (ORRP), dealing specifically with collaborative and multi-site human subjects research studies The bulk of the ORRP’s work has to do with screening research submissions for completeness before they are reviewed by the university’s three Institutional Review Boards, ensuring research endeavors are compliant with federal regulations before being reviewed. As program manager for reliance agreements, I oversee the agreements made between the Ohio State University and other institutions or individuals. Reliance agreements specify the terms and responsibilities of the IRB(s) and collaborating researchers.
How has your academic journey led you to where you are now?
While obtaining my BA with a focus on archaeology, I took the opportunity to intern with the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Cultural Resources Unit. It was here that I discovered my enjoyment for working in a laboratory setting and the work that came along with it.
I enjoy history as well, so I started to investigate public history programs and found the world of museum studies. My technical training within anthropology really helped me when applying for graduate programs within this field and I ended up in Cooperstown, New York at the Cooperstown Graduate Program. Writing my graduate thesis and assisting with a capstone exhibit gave me valuable experience I needed to make firmer decisions about my career path. I discovered I cared more for collection management than I did designing exhibits. My anthropological training was ever present throughout creating my exhibit as well, especially when it came to doing my research.
After finishing my graduate program with a MA in History Museum Studies, I began working with Ohio History Service Corps through the Ohio History Connection, leading me to the position of Assistant Registrar. In this job, I assisted with issuingdeeds of gift, official documents signing over of ownership of the object to the museum. I also helpedwith keeping records up to date for museum in Columbus and other sites managed by Ohio History Connection.. While holding that position, I discovered that I loved paperwork and regulatory compliance. When I saw the opening for IRB Protocol Analyst at Ohio State University, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue.
Knowing this job sounded like a great fit for my skills did not make me any less anxious about applying! I felt like my degrees were too specific, so I concentrated on relevant experience and transferable skills in the cover letter as much as I could. I get a front seat to many, but only a small portion of, research projects that are happening here at Ohio State.
What is a typical workday like for you?
Each one of my days starts with a list! I have a daily list and a weekly list of things I need to get done. With the current COVID-19 restrictions, my position has become very email and Zoom-oriented. The meetings within my office are centered around big picture aspects of work to do with the IRB, and my focus is on multi-site research. This involves more consultation with researchers who are wanting to start a multi-site study that involves sites, collaborators, and locations other than Ohio State University.
I manage the workflow for our internal reliance team and working toward our office’s goal of getting everyone in our office consistent in our work and guidelines. I do a lot of screening ceded review request submissions, ensuring that consent forms were clear and concise as well as overseeing the execution of reliance agreements between institutions.
Do you have any general advice for anthropologists entering the workforce or exploring career options?
Networking and communicating with others are so important in the current job market. Making connections and strengthening them over time can open you up to new opportunities that you may have thought you were not right for otherwise. Something that helped me personally after exiting academia was taking temporary positions. This allowed me the flexibility to keep looking for work while at the same time adding experience to my resume and making decisions about my career in the future. Always keep track of your tangible skills that can be easily transferred to another job or field as necessary – your anthropology degree will open many doors for you personally and professionally!
History Museum Studies, The Cooperstown Graduate Program: http://cgpmuseumstudies.org/history-museum-studies
Office of Responsible Research Practices: https://orrp.osu.edu
Ohio Department of Transportation’s Cultural Resources Unit: https://www.transportation.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odot/programs/cultural-resources
Cassandra Buckner and Hiba Assad interviewed Brad on October 1, 2021. The interview was edited for clarity and conciseness.
Biographical sketch: Bradley Reed earned his BA from The Ohio State University in 2008, majoring in both History and Anthropology. Bradley then went on to study law at the College of William & Mary School of Law and received his J.D. in 2012. Bradley is currently an attorney at Frantz Ward LLP in Cleveland, Ohio which is a full service law firm. Brad specializes in health care and data privacy.
Did the anthropology department at Ohio State adequately prepare you for your career?
For most professional jobs, you learn the mechanics of the job once you are out of school for a bit. For instance, you don’t even learn to be a lawyer in law school, you learn to think like a lawyer. I think about anthropology in a very similar way, it allows you to take in information and really assess it and then interrogate your own biases. Anthropology definitely helped me think about things critically.
Can you describe what a typical day on the job looks like for you?
It’s a lot of emails. I have to see what clients I am meeting that day and what I need to handle first thing in the morning. I have longer term things that I am working on everyday as well as short term things that come up when there are issues. Throughout most of the day I’m on the phone with clients talking about contracts, deals, or answering just general questions my clients may have. What I do is very computer based and it involves a lot of correspondence and writing. I’m typically not in court so those are my typical days.
What advice would you give to your undergraduate self?
I would have taken more opportunities to get out to do things outside of campus and do more through the academic departments. I would have also probably done an internship for a semester to be able to put that on my resume and I would’ve also liked to have taken advantage of OSU’s study abroad programs.
William & Mary School of Law: https://law.wm.edu
Frantz Ward LLP: https://www.frantzward.com
OSU Global Education: https://oia.osu.edu/units/global-education/getting-started/ways-to-go-abroad/
Hannah Kegley interviewed Richard on September 2, 2022. The interview was edited for clarity and conciseness.
Biographical Sketch: Richard Bargielski is a research analyst, working in the Office of Education Innovation & Improvement within the Oregon Department of Education. Richard has earned a B.A in Sustainability at Baldwin Wallace University, a M.A in Anthropology at Ohio State University, and a PhD in Anthropology at the University of South Florida.
What led you to pick anthropology programs for your Masters and PhD?
That was mainly based on my interest in working with my Ohio State advisor. I knew very late into my undergraduate career that I wanted to go to graduate school, and I really wasn’t sure what field I wanted to go into. I read a few publications by Dr. Anna Willows, and I was very interested in her work. I found her email, and I messaged her telling her that I found her work brilliant, and I asked if she would be willing to mentor me. That’s what led me to coming to Ohio State and getting my anthropology masters. I highly recommend that all students try to make these sorts of connections.
What did your career trajectory look like? Did you expect to end up where you did?
My career trajectory has been very winding, but also very interesting. I started off wanting to be an academic, as a lot of graduate students do. I had the unfortunate privilege of graduating in May of 2020, which, as you may remember, happened towards the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the pandemic, many universities decided to cut funding, and were no longer able to take new professors. This, at the time, was a big disappointment for me. I would go on to teach at a small Honors College at the University of South Florida for about a year and a half, before reevaluating and realizing that state government would be a good career trajectory for me. I applied to a lot of different positions with the Oregon State Government, before being accepted into my current position.
Can you elaborate on what your job entails?
My responsibilities vary a lot from day to day. My office is relatively new and focused on ensuring success for Oregon students. I sometimes do things such as review grants, and some menial office tasks such as updating spread sheets. The most important aspect of my job, though, is our research. We’re creating a lot of research projects right now, and with travel becoming possible once more, we will be able to visit different Oregon schools and interview students to hear their opinions and attitudes first-hand on the issues we wish to look into further.
How does having a background in anthropology help you with this sort of research?
I’m the only member of my team really with a background in anthropology, or at the very least the only one with a PhD in anthropology. Due to this, I’m able to bring an expertise in qualitative research and mixed methods research to the table. This expertise is the reason I was hired. Other than that, I also am able to have a slightly different lens on our research than maybe my colleagues might have. Sometimes I’m able to see the bigger picture, and poke deeper into things my colleagues may not have thought to poke at. Anthropologists are good at challenging others to think outside their comfort zone.
Oregon Department of Education: https://www.oregon.gov/ode/Pages/default.aspx
Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern Florida: https://www.usf.edu/arts-sciences/departments/anthropology/forms-faq.aspx