By Emily Manetta
If a student asks me, “what can I do with an anthropology degree?” I could answer simply “you can do anything with an anthropology degree!” While this is certainly true – our alumni go on to an amazingly diverse list of careers after graduation, perhaps the best way to illustrate the skills students gain in Anthropology at UVM, either on-campus or through the new Online Degree Completion Program, is to meet some of the students themselves.
Tyler Wilkinson-Ray graduated with an Anthropology degree in 2013. Today he is a videographer producing commercial short films for top outdoor apparel companies including Patagonia and Columbia, as well as original artistic and narrative film works of his own. He taught himself many technical aspects of his job along the way. What he found indispensable were the communication skills he picked up as a UVM anthropology major.
“You can find a lot of people with nice equipment and an education in filmmaking who don’t necessarily know how to tell a story,” he said. “What’s harder is to create convincing narratives. The social science background I had at UVM was essential to that.”
Rachel Aronson ‘14 was deeply interested in social justice and sustainable food systems as a student at UVM. After college she worked as an Emerson Hunger Fellow, a non-profit that collaborates with community-based organizations around the countryto combat hunger and poverty. She also worked at several non-profit organizations in New York City relating to social justice. Through all of these experiences, Rachel discovered she was developing strong skills as an educator. Now she’s finishing teacher certification training at Hunter College, and will begin work as an elementary school social studies teacher in Brooklyn next year. Looking back on her UVM education, she cites critical thinking skills as key to her development.
“I think my UVM background helped me learn to ask the right questions, and not take things at face value. The critical thinking skills I built there will help me teach history and social studies in a way that is more culturally inclusive. That’s especially important in Brooklyn where there is such a wide ethnic diversity in our schools.”
Catherine Lang ’16 describes herself as a“natural-born observer.” When she arrived at UVM she became fascinated with how the relation of space and place influence human interaction. She combined her degree in Anthropology with the study of geospatial technologies. Her career path led her to a position as an analyst at Kantar Consulting, a company working in 100 countries specializing in research including social media monitoring, advertising effectiveness, public opinion and consumer behavior.
“My training in anthropology at UVM prepared me well for a position in which I’m asked to think critically and closely examine the nuances of human culture,” she says. “I am particularly interested in engaging with material culture to better understand how consumers make decisions to purchase certain commodities.
What do these stories all have in common? The skills that anthropologists learn—like critical thinking, creativity, and strong written and oral expression—are essential to the overall success of any enterprise. Anthropologists and social scientists in related disciplines learn how to gather relevant data, interpret it in useful ways, and articulate the enterprise’s goals effectively.
These stories are just a starting place—the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The truth is: you can do just about anything with an Anthropology degree. If you’re looking more insights and examples to fit your passion into a career, visit the American Anthropological Association website careers page.
The new Online Degree Completion program with a major in Anthropology and a minor in English or Writing is ideal for students who were previously undergraduates at UVM but didn’t finish their degree, professionals with an associate degree, professionals with some Baccalaureate level college experience, veterans or active military, and community college students seeking a Bachelor’s Degree.
UVM’s Online Degree Completion program provides a solution to the strong demand for skilled and educated college graduates needed to enter the workforce in a virtually countless variety of occupations and workplaces, while allowing participants to balance the demands of work, family and education.
The decision to go back to school requires careful consideration and planning and UVM’s advisors are here to help you navigate the decision-making process.
Set up a time to talk to an advisor today at Learn@uvm.edu, call us at 802-656-2085 or chat with us online.