Finding Inspiration in Your Field of Study

By: Eva

As a female anthropology student, I always get a bit excited when I see other women’s names stamped onto studies and publications. Although anthropology has been traditionally a man’s vocation through the last couple centuries, there are many women who stand out as incredible role models for all anthropology students. I think having someone to look up to is important no matter your interests or profession. So, here I will talk about three of my favorite female anthropologists and the impacts they have made on my education and worldview.

White canvas with paint pots and brushes; "What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." by Dame Jane Goodall

Dame Jane Goodall (1934 – Present)
Goodall is a primatologist (a scientist who studies primates – she focuses on chimpanzees). When she started her chimpanzee research in the 1960’s in Tanzania she did not have much formal training, which may have been what allowed her to think outside the box and make observations that had gone unnoticed by more experienced primatologists. For example, she would give the Chimpanzees names, such as Frodo, instead of numbers. Thanks to her we now know that chimpanzees make and use tools and have complex social orders, which gives us insight into our own human behaviors. She also has been a dedicated environmental and animal-human rights activist her entire life. She paved the way for many women primatologists and anthropologists and advocated for engaged and participatory anthropological methods. For me, the greatest impact Dame Jane Goodall has left on me is to stick by what you know is right and to always treat people, animals, and the earth with kindness.

Margaret Mead (1901 – 1978)
If any of you have taken an introductory anthropology or sociology course, you will probably have heard of Dr. Mead. She was a revolutionary cultural anthropologist. She faced discrimination from her peers and the general public as a bisexual woman in the 20th century, but the quality of her research and person rose beyond those biases. Many tenets of today’s intersectional feminist theories on gender, sexuality, and personality stem from her study of cultures in Samoa, New Zealand, and the US. Reading Mead’s work has taught me to truly listen to the stories that other people tell and try to put myself in their shoes.

Ursula Le Guin (1929 – 2018)
Technically, Ursula is a writer, not an anthropologist, but she has made a huge impact on my life and my education. Her parents were renowned sociologists and anthropologists so many of her writings contain a certain cultural depth. She is mostly known for her science fiction pieces. The first piece of literature I read by her was The Carrier Bag of Fiction. In it, she discusses her approach to science fiction writing, which is to say she tells “real life” instead of tall tales about the heroes. From her, I learned to celebrate everyday stories, because within them are the solutions to a lot of big problems.

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Kelli Tungay

Life Lessons in Anthropology

By: Eva

When I tell people I am an Anthropology major their first comment is always “Oh, so you learn about dinosaurs?”

Not that dinosaurs aren’t cool, but anthropologists learn a lot more than just how to identify fossils. We learn a lot about ourselves, too.

My emotions are valid.
Anthropology has several different fields, and I focus on cultural anthropology. This means I study what people say, what people do, and what people say they do. To understand all of this involves a lot of talking and interacting with people and recording all of it, and this includes my personal reaction. In a way, anthropologists have to study their own emotions when they’re in the field with just as much care they would give to the people they are working with. In-depth self-reflection has become very important for anthropologists in the last few decades to make sure that the safety and well-being of every participant is looked after. I think this self-study, combined with gentleness and patience, is important for everyone.

Life lessons learned through Anthropology; water surface

Everyone has biases.
Anthropology is a science, but it’s not the kind where you can throw all the data into an algorithm and have it figured out. There is simply too much “humanness” for that to work. Before I switched to Anthropology from Biology I associated bias with weakness. After all, how can you have bias when balancing a chemistry formula? My Anth classes have strongly emphasized the fact that we all have biases and that it is important to acknowledge them, and that bias is not inherently bad. When you do this, you can see how you may have influenced a situation or why you may have reacted in a certain way. This opened my eyes to better understand myself and the people around me and helped me gain more empathy.

Everyone is interesting.
Everyone has cool stories. They just need to be asked. We tend to think that we’re not that interesting because we don’t have a 4.0, don’t have plans to become the next Malala or Obama, or aren’t going into a career that will make millions. But to be honest, that’s most people, including myself. Anthropology has taught me to celebrate the everyday experiences of everyday people. If most people know what it’s like to feel a certain way or experience a certain thing, then those ordinary stories also have the answers for a lot of the worlds’ problems. It just takes someone who wants to listen and find out what those answers are.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Tyler Yarbrough

What Can I Put on My Resume? Anthropology Edition

By: Meg

As an Anthropology major, there are plenty of places to go with my major. I could go into the field, or work in marketing, or social services, or anything that peaks my interest. Anthropology really teaches an out-of-the-box way of thinking, which is appreciated everywhere.

Since we’ve learned so much in our major, we need to be able to quantify it on our resume. Don’t sell yourself short! If you’re working in the field, you might want to talk to a career counselor or your advisor to write a CV that will fit your needs.

Skills and Projects
Anthropology students do a lot of research. That will be used almost anywhere you go to work after school. So make sure to emphasize it. If you take a research methods class, you can have a section for all the methods you’ve used (interviewing and coding, Photovoice, content analysis, survey, etc.)

You can have a section for projects, where any completed research (qualitative or quantitative) can be showcased. If you have a research paper you’re proud of, list it. If you have any publications, those can be listed with other projects, or a separate section.

Having experience in another language is useful for most fields, but it’s definitely a selling point for Anthropology.

If you know another language at conversational or above, you can put it on your resume, either in a section on its own or under “Skills.” I have ASL (American Sign Language) and IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) on mine.

Anth Resume

Teaching Assistantship
Teaching is a great skill to have, and it shows that you knew the subject material well enough to teach it to others. A teaching assistantship gives you the opportunity to know the department better, you can present to the class, and the organization required is nothing to sneeze at.

List this under experience, quantify everything you do (spent 5 hours developing presentation on x, presented 20 minutes to 140 students), and make sure to show any new skills and accomplishments.

Field School
If you’re planning to go into Archaeology, field school is a must. If you’re going into Anthropology, it’s still really useful. If you’re working outside of the field, it’s actually a super wonderful opportunity that you should take advantage of.

You learn so many new skills, spend time using them, and spend a lot of time with people who are working in the field. Document everything you do, and emphasize it on your resume.

Community Service/Volunteering
Any service work you do shows community engagement, so be sure to put it on your CV, and put it on your resume as often as you can. If you would like to work in a certain community, make sure to get plenty of experience that applies there. For example, if you want to work with Latino immigrant populations, learning Spanish and volunteering at a Spanish speaking community program would be beneficial.

You can have a Community Service section if you have a few different experiences, or you can list it under Activities or Experience.

If you’ve written or co-written grants, even to get donations for your student group, you should definitely discuss that. Grant work is hard, and nonprofits and research institutions write them all the time. Any experience you have would be welcome.

If your grant was done within one of your Experience positions, you can list it as a bullet point such as: “wrote grant proposal, including statement of need, and received $1,000 to purchase equipment for developing a sustainable herb garden to donate to CHUM.”

Remember, your resume isn’t just for listing jobs. You want it to be an accurate representation of what you have to offer. Your skills, experiences, and the causes you believe in should be on the paper as much as they can be. You’re a whole, well-rounded person, and your resume should reflect that. If you have any questions as to what should be on your resume, stop in for our Resume Drop-In hours Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 2-4 pm in SCC22.

Of Possible Interest: 

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8 (More) Jobs You Can do with Anthropology

By: Meg

I wrote a while ago about what you can do with Anthropology. Working in the field is great, and there’s so much more you can do with it!

Anthropology Jobs

Non Profits and Government
Working between the government and the people is a great place for Anthropologists. The background in cultural diversity that you get learning Anthropology, even at an undergrad level, makes it a lot easier to figure out the right path. The holistic perspective that we learn comes in handy: whether it’s community planning, advocacy, or in the House of Representatives, your job is to understand the issue from all sides.

Health Education
All around the world, we’re concerned with being healthy. So we have “experts” in “health” who teach us how to do everything we already know that we should do better. Health Education is a really useful tool to make sure that everybody knows the facts about their health. Here in the U.S. we have organizations like Planned Parenthood that hand out condoms and have discussions about it. In some cases, that means taking cultural and religious considerations. Around the world we have a need for people to discuss nutrition, HIV, and whatever else you can think of.

Of course, you can go into the Education system. Often those doing research in the Anthropology are also working as instructors at the college level. It’s a good jumping off point for writing and researching. In addition, if teaching is your calling, you can learn about anything with an Anthropological perspective.

Fine Arts
There are quite a very successful people working in fine arts that have degrees in Anthropology. Learning about other cultures can help with acting, and art (in any form) is a fantastic way to show your appreciation for a culture. Giada de Laurentiis, Glenn Close, and Ashley Judd were all Anthropology majors.

Linguistics is a subfield in Anthropology, meaning you’re going to find a lot of Anthropology majors who really care about language. Authors, editors, publishers, poets, comedians. You can do whatever you want with language, and have the background to help you understand others.

The corporate world takes Anthropology seriously. They hire Anthropologists as consultants to help them devise business plans and products. You can also create your own business. A little bit of experience in the business world and you’re set.

Human Resources
Just like HR is full of Psych majors, there are plenty of Anth majors there as well. They perform a lot of the same functions: ensuring optimal environment and business practices. You can also work internationally if you have some experience with the culture you’re practicing in. A lot of Anthropology departments have regionally focused classes and the language to match, so go ahead and play with your electives to get the focus you want.

With a focus in Biological Anthropology and some pre-med requirements, you can go to Medical school with your degree. It’s important for our doctors to understand the culture of their patients, and Anthropology can help to open your mind to that. There are quite a few classes on physiology and evolution to help you get a complete (holistic) understanding of our species. You can also be a medical examiner or go into Forensics (which I talked about in my last post).

With these in mind, take an Anthropology course in something that interests you. Who knows, it might be the perspective you were looking for.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Updated: June 2020

Career Planning for Social Sciences

Updated: June 2020

Are you one of the many students on the UMD campus with a social science major? Odds are, you are. Our campus offers an array of social science majors ranging from Anthropology to Psychology to Cultural Entrepreneurship to Political Science. We’ve put together a few resources to help you through the career planning process. Included are: what you can do with your major and general job/internship search information. Have fun working on your career plan!

What are recent UMD grads doing? Check out the By Majors reports from our Graduate Follow-up Report to learn about the companies, geographic locations, and positions, where recent grads are working. This could give you some great ideas for what you might want to pursue after graduation.

Social Science majors

Internship Programs: a lot of companies have internship programs that happen every year. We have listings (Minnesota, Regional, National) of some of these companies on our Internships page to get you started with your search.

What can I do with a major in… Anthropology; Criminology; Cultural Entrepreneurship; Linguistics; Political Science; Psychology; Social Work; Sociology

Job & Internship Fairs

Insights From Students About Their Chosen Majors

Of Possible Interest
• Career PlanningJob SearchInternships – our blog posts on these topics
Planning Your Career
Love Your Major

What Can I do with Anthropology?

By: Meg (Anthropology major!)

Anthropology is one of the smallest majors at UMD, but it is not a major to be forgotten about. Like the other Social Sciences, Anthropology equips you with a perspective to look at the world, and a way to explore topics of interest to you. The question then becomes: What can I do with a degree in Anthropology? There are 3 main paths in Anthropology, and all of them can be applied in other areas as well.

Major Anthro

You will need certifications and grad school, but yes, you can be Indiana Jones. Or not. After all, Indy destroyed quite a few priceless artifacts. Archaeologists are the people who find the artifacts used to construct the lives of people long gone through excavation.

If you’re more inclined to use your background in Anthropology in the hard sciences, you can go into Forensic Anthropology, and help law enforcement based on the evidence found in bones. Biological Anthropologists are working on discovering our evolutionary path as well. There are a lot of advances being made right now!

Cultural Anthropologists study the culture of people. They may work with Archaeologists to construct theories based on artifacts found, or visit a current culture. Anthropologists tend to spend a lot of time with a group of people: living with them, studying them. They look for patterns to try to generalize to theories on basic human behavior, as well as gather data on a culture that may or may not survive.

Cultural Resource Management is an application of Cultural Anthropology. Anthropologists doing this work often work as a mediator between governments and smaller communities, to preserve culture. An example would be working with the American Government and Native populations to ensure that projects (such as roads and other improvements) do not interfere with the practice of their culture.

The beauty of Social Sciences in general and Anthropology in particular, is that you really can do almost anything with them. I have a friend who minored in Anthropology and is now going to Grad school for Public Health. I personally plan to be a Social Worker, Health Educator, and Community Planner (maybe not at the same time). The Holistic view of Anthropology lends itself to Human Service professions extremely well, allowing for Anthropologists to do their work while taking into account the culture they are working in. Anthropology also lends itself to the hard sciences, and when you pair your degree with a minor, another major, or grad school in a science, you can find plenty of jobs in those fields.

The graduates of UMD’s Anthropology department go on to do a wide variety of things. A few professions include: Archaeological Technician, Research Assistant, Behavioral Aide Specialist, Sales Representative, Graphic Designer, Activities Director, (Museum) Preparatory Assistant, and Outdoor Education Instructor. Quite a few grads have also gone onto Grad school, studying: Counseling, Cultural Resource Management, Advocacy and Political Leadership, Education, Library Science, Applied Anthropology & Historic Preservation, and Forensics.

Several grads are in jobs that relate to their major, but many of them aren’t. Anthropology really supports you in any career, allowing you to approach any problem by looking at it from all sides, as well as having a background in looking at different cultures.

Here are a few other resources of interest:

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Updated: June 2020