“The focus put on graduating students who can form cogent thoughts on paper both set me apart from others in my medical school class, and prepared me for the multi-focused role of a physician in the modern health care system” Jeffery Traylor, BS-General Anthropology, 2016, UT-Dell Medical School (inaugural class)
“[Baylor’s Dept. of Anthropology] taught me many things – maturity (which is still something I work on); respect for all differences, whether in people, cultures, traditions, political and religious ideologies, and places; courage to try new things and travel to places despite not speaking the language; and human decency, which, for me, is simply respect for all people in all circumstances” Brooke Sartin, BS-General Anthropology, 2013, DePaul University-College of Law
“Classes encourage students to apply the knowledge they gain to independent research projects, which challenge you to think critically. I drew heavily on these experiences when conducting my thesis research at Texas Tech, where I was given the opportunity to oversee excavations at a historic Maya village in Belize” Brooke Bonorden, BA-General Anthropology, 2012, Professional Archaeologist working for BGE, Inc.
“[Baylor’s Dept. of Anthropology] played a central role in where I am today. The courses I took introduced me to foundational works in the discipline and prepared me to think critically of my own research interests and the world around me. My department mentors provided me the skills I needed to get into a PhD program and get funding for my dissertation research” Gregorio Ortiz, BA-General Anthropology, 2011, Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology & NSF Graduate Research Fellow, University of Colorado
Sarah, majored in Anthropology
During my time at Baylor, and specifically in the Anthropology Department, I had numerous opportunities to learn skills that I now use in pursuit of my master’s degree and in my career. First, the Anthropology department afforded me several influential mentors who have shaped and guided my academic and career paths. Specifically, Dr. Binetti – who I never actually had as a professor – not only assisted me in making the decision to switch into Anthropology after my first semester at Baylor, but also in my decision to pursue a master’s degree after graduating from Baylor.
Second, I had the pleasure of studying abroad with the Department of Anthropology during the summer of 2018 in Thailand. Dr. Muehlenbein, my advisor during my time at Baylor, spearheaded this field school/study abroad that focused on gathering information from tourists about their travel health attitudes and practices. This was my first time interacting with the field of “One Health”, data collection, survey development, and the hands-on aspects of conducting research. And I absolutely fell in love with the whole process, so much so that I returned from Thailand completely certain I wanted to pursue a graduate degree that would allow me to work in this field.
Since graduating, I have begun a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology at Tulane University and will graduate in the spring of 2021. Additionally, my work with Dr. Muehlenbein’s study in Thailand and my coursework in Anthropology, caught the attention of a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in New Orleans. They offered me a part time position, which will become a full-time position upon graduation, as their Data Analyst. Baylor’s Department of Anthropology afforded me the skills necessary to be successful in my position which consists of routine reporting and interpreting of health center data, federal grant project management, health center clinical policy review and implementation, and working with members of the Lower 9th Ward community to identify and dismantle barriers to healthcare. Additionally, through my position at this FQHC along with the skills I learned as an Anthropology student, I was an integral part of the health center’s critical and on-going responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, I assisted in tracking positive cases identified through our testing program and assisting in assessing needs in the community (such as food, water, employment, school supplies, etc.) through our partnerships with local groups and organizations.
All in all, my time in the Anthropology Department was the best four years of my life because of the mentors who guided my path, the courses and professors who opened my eyes to new experiences, and the skills I learned which have made me successful in my career.
Alexis Gage, Anthropology Graduate, Dec. 2020
When I first arrived at Baylor, I was overwhelmed. The classes, the workload, the change. It wasn’t until I entered the Anthropology Department that I felt at home. The Anthropology Department helped me grow as a scholar and young woman. Through my classes, such as Forensic Anthropology with Dr. Campbell, World Health with Dr. Muehlenbein, Forensics with Sgt. Huggins, and Historical Archaeology, I was able to expand my knowledge and broaden my views of different problems. I became a published researcher through my work in Historical Archaeology and learned not only how to research but conducted presentations on my research, which expanded my public speaking skills and honed my confidence.
My experience in the Anthropology Department shaped me into the woman I am today. Through my assignments such as research papers, data analysis presentations, and classroom debates, I expanded my critical thinking skills, articulation and individuality. The Anthropology Department taught me to take the information provided to me and dive deeply into it. Then after I have analyzed it and formed my own opinion, I am able to express my opinion in a way that respects others’ beliefs but leaves no questions to my own.
My name is Alexis Gage and I am a December 2020 Baylor Alumna with a degree in Forensic Anthropology. I currently work at a Title I School in Houston, TX and am a part of a program called Teach For America. My program focuses on fighting against educational inequity through serving as a teacher in low-income schools. As a teacher, I have to critically think every day about how my actions affect my students and every day I am able to speak on their behalf as needed to fight for the education they deserve and remind them of their potential. The Baylor University Anthropology Department taught me that there is beautiful diversity in this country and world. They taught me to respect diversity and value it. They taught me that differences are okay and there is always something new to learn but most of all they taught me to be courageous in being an individual. They taught me to stand up for what I believe in and to know why I believe it. Now, I am strong, confident, and proud. I respect everyone I meet and always stand up for what I believe in. Now, I will always speak up for what is right and speak out against what is wrong. When I came to the Anthropology Department I was lost, but now it’s home.
Anali graduated from Baylor in 2007 with a BA degree majoring in both Anthropology and Spanish. During the summer of 2007, Anali was a research assistant for Dr. Alexander in Bullet Tree Falls, a village located in the western interior region of Belize. Her project was geared towards addressing the issue that development projects often fall short without strong community participation.
“Working with another Baylor student, we spent the summer learning what barriers people in the village faced to becoming involved in development projects so that community leaders and NGOs could gain helpful insights into structuring future development programs. After the summer ended, we presented our findings at the Society for Applied Anthropology's annual meeting. Our award-winning project was entitled "Motivations for Participation? The Challenges of Local Involvement in Community Development."
“The program’s curriculum and the Anthropology faculty I came to know while at Baylor were all part of a very meaningful experience for me personally. Not only did I learn valuable skills that I continue to use to this day, but I also appreciated the opportunity to use academic training to bring tangible solutions to community development work, as in the Belize project.”
After graduating from Baylor, Anali took a gap year and worked in Chicago for a Mennonite-based group that focused on a variety of service projects. She then enrolled in Baylor Law School, focused on immigration law, and after working for several years in Austin as an immigration attorney, she is now attorney and Director of the Waco office of American Gateways, a nonprofit immigration legal service provider in Waco, Texas. This semester she is working with Dr. Alexander’s Applied Anthropology students who are assisting American Gateways with asylum immigration cases based at the Groesbeck Detention Center.
Jessica graduated from Baylor in 2014 with a BA in Anthropology and minor in Environmental Studies. She then earned her Masters in Public Health in 2016 from Vanderbilt University. Since March 2016 she has been working in Nicaragua for a non-profit organization called AMOS Health and Hope. Their mission is to address health inequities for the most vulnerable populations in rural, remote Nicaragua through community empowerment using participatory methodologies called Community Based Primary Health Care and Participatory Action Research to ensure sustainable and equitable health for all.
For AMOS, Jessica first served as the Global Health Education Coordinator and in 2017, she became the Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator for all AMOS projects. In this role, she works with locally-based teams to formulate action plans to assist pregnant women and children under 2 years in their communities and to prevent deaths and diseases.
“I am so thankful for my time at Baylor in the anthropology department! The incredible opportunities awarded to me through the Guatemala field school with Dr. Cook, being a research assistant for Dr. Alexander in Belize, one-on-one time with professors, classes that inspired students to engage in critical theory to challenge how we see the world and the cultural humility to become life-long learners about other forms of knowledge and practices. Classes also helped me understand more about justice and inequity and how community and academic partnership is the best way to sustainably address these injustices."
Jessica is leaving Nicaragua soon to begin a doctoral program in Human and Organizational Learning at George Washington University.
My name is Bianca, and I graduated with a B.S. in Anthropology in 2018. I am now our university’s Undergraduate Transfer Admissions Counselor and support our awesome prospective transfer students through the application and enrollment processes.
While a student, I took a few classes in biological anthropology, getting to work with a plasticized human cadaver in some instances. I also participated in an archaeology field school that opened doors for me to conduct research and present my work in professional settings across the state of Texas. I otherwise focused my time on my cultural anthropology classes, primarily studying cross-cultural beliefs about religion and psychology.
As an anthropology major, I had access to a variety of learning experiences I didn't even know existed, and the depth of my professors' devoted investment -- in both my academic and personal development -- was truly unmatched. I had many opportunities to lead my own work in areas of study that excite me, and I felt confident in that work because I had the guidance of experts teaching me along the way.
Time after time, I was handed the reins to my own education and given exciting spaces to grow in; I now see myself taking that kind of leadership experience into my Counseling work as I constantly seek out innovative ways to meet incoming transfer students’ needs. My time as a student of the Baylor Anthropology Department equipped me to understand and support the thousands of families I work with and empowered me to create solutions for the problems they face.
I am filled with gratitude and feel so proud to say I am an alumna of the Department; I am more successful because of the skills and knowledge I gained while in it, and I have more personal support than I could have ever imagined from its wonderful professors who taught me then and encourage me now!
Brooke, pictured in 2020
I attended Baylor from 2009 to 2013, where I majored in Anthropology. During my time at Baylor, I took courses in cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, and archaeology offered within the department. The variety of courses offered at Baylor provided me with the skills and experience necessary to launch a successful career in cultural resource management.
The greatest practical experience I gained during my time at Baylor came from the 2011 Baylor Archaeological Field School, where I experienced my first-ever archaeological excavation.
During the field school, I learned how to document excavations, process artifacts, and analyze artifacts. No other field school that I attended gave student participants this much responsibility. For my research project, I chose to complete a macrobotanical analysis of plant remains recovered from prehistoric cooking features we found. This research project allowed me to learn another valuable skill – flotation for macrobotanical analysis – from one of the most knowledgeable archaeobotanists in Texas, and also provided me an opportunity to present my findings at two professional conferences.
I credit the experiences I gained from my time at Baylor with opening so many doors professionally. Without the knowledge I gained from the Anthropology department faculty and their courses, I would not have been able to lead my own crew while collecting my thesis data in Belize, efficiently conduct archival research in London and Jamaica, or secure employment in CRM. My professional career has led me from prehistoric data recovery projects in the Texas Hill Country, to Spanish Colonial sites in San Antonio, to identifying early twentieth century farmsteads in the Panhandle and swamps of East Texas. I doubt I would have climbed the CRM career ladder as rapidly as I have without the foundation the Baylor Anthropology department laid for me.
Alex, BA in Anthropology, 2018
The education I received in Baylor’s anthropology program gave me an introduction to both the work and community of cultural resource management (CRM). I learned the many basic field methods of excavation that I am surrounded by everyday now. I was also given numerous opportunities to interact with those involved in Texas archaeology through the Texas Archeological Society’s field school and annual meeting. The connections I made there have been instrumental in getting all of my jobs in CRM. I was even so fortunate to be hired for a CRM project while I was still an undergraduate. I was able to gain experience in my chosen field well before I graduated, and it made the transition from university to the workforce easier than I believe it would have been otherwise. My undergraduate education provided me with the knowledge and connections to make my way in the career of cultural resource management.
Alex, Crew Chief, AR Consultants, Inc.