The Anthropology department recently hosted the first in a series of new events about careers: “Finding One’s Path in Anthropology: An exploration of career paths for anthropology students after college.”
The joyful occasion of graduation can also be a very stressful time for undergraduates, as they try to figure out how to put their acquired knowledge and skills to use in the next stage of their lives. This is especially true for anthropology majors, since a bachelor’s degree in anthropology is not a traditional “conveyer belt” into a specific career. But as Department of Anthropology chair, Janelle Taylor, vividly explained, anthropological perspectives and methods can be brought to bear on almost any experience, something a growing number of employers are realizing.
This year’s event focused on our large number of majors in Medical Anthropology and Global Health. Three alumni, who have all gone on to use their degrees in exciting ways within the world of health, were the featured speakers—Richard Pelman (BA 1974), Joe Wilson (BA 2008), and Jordan Gentry (BA 2012). Dr. Pelman talked about anthropology as the ideal preparation for his career as a physician, and discussed his own career path as a researcher and advocate for men’s health. Mr. Wilson put his anthropological skills to use as a media specialist for Talaria, a local company that produces culturally sensitive healthcare education materials. And Ms. Gentry discussed how anthropology prepared her for her position as Community Director for the Seattle chapter of the March of Dimes.
Sixty anthropology majors, armed with questions and enthusiasm, turned out for the event. We even saw some faculty and students from other anthropology programs in the greater Seattle region. All in all, our first “career night” event was a tremendous success. Future events will focus on other specialties within anthropology. If you’re an alumna/us who, like our guest speakers this year, has followed an interesting or unexpected career path that your anthropology training has made possible, let us know! We’re always on the lookout for speakers for this new series.