Student Experiences

Anthropology students are engaging in some exciting learning opportunities, ranging from research to internships. We highlight examples to show the breadth and depth of these experiences.

Mitch Singstock student experience Dragonfly Forest"My research with Dragonfly Forest was not predetermined. Rather it arose spontaneously from my passion for this unique summer camp that serves neurodiverse and medically fragile youth from across the country."  After the summer was over, Mitchell Singstock (Class of 2020) returned to Miami, still intrigued by all of the stories left unfinished. "Foremost, what was life like for these kids when they returned home? I had to know, so I created a research protocol, found common ground with the summer camp's interests, and positioned resources from the Dean's Scholars to learn more. I spoke with parents about their children and their children's health challenges. I learned what an incredible gift "feeling normal" is for a child that is pressured to feel abnormal 55 weeks of the year, and the value of having one week to feel like a normal kid. In the spring, my work was upended by COVID-19. My research protocol was disrupted to the extent that I would not be able to collect enough data for publishable results. Instead, I created a presentation that I shared with the camp to let them know the positive impact they have had on children and their families." 

"COVID-19 taught me a crucial lesson about research. Though we should always begin with the end in mind, it is important to have intermediate goals along the way, because you never know what doors will close due to unforeseen events, like a global pandemic. By setting smaller goals, I was still able to complete a useful, albeit incomplete project, in light of COVID-19. When you truly care about the issue you are studying, you will find ways to make an impact, even if your research project does not go as planned. "

Mitchell is currently a first year medical student at University of Cincinnati.

Caitlin McElligott stands in front of the Washington monumentWith funding from the Miami University Undergraduate Summer Scholars (USS) Program, Caitlin McElligott (Class of 2017) spent summer of 2016 in Washington, DC where she interviewed members of Congress about their assessments of America’s current educational crisis. To her surprise, McElligott found that government officials and teachers believed that American families are not faced with an educational crisis, but a poverty crisis.

McElligott presented her findings at Miami’s Undergraduate Research Forum in May 2017. But she said the most rewarding part of her experience was a newfound confidence: "This experience allowed me to put myself out there and meet with these important officials," she said. "Now I feel like I can do anything."

Araceli Medina-Castillo stands in front of the Gijon sign in SpainStudying in Spain for two months has been one of the most unforgettable experiences I have had," said Anthropology major Araceli Medina-Castillo (Class of 2018). Araceli studied abroad in Gijón, Spain during the summer of 2016. In addition to taking classes, she also did El Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage in Northern Spain, and took a cultural trip to various major cities in Spain.

"I learned so much about the Spanish culture and truly tried to see as much as possible to get a whole feeling of living in a different country," she said. "I tried so many new foods, most of which were incredibly delicious, and got to see more of the world around me."

Emily Ratvasky prepares material for an exhibit as part of her internshipAnthropology major Emily Ratvasky (Class of 2020) has been working as an intern with the Department of Anthropology Special Projects under the supervision of Dr. Jeb Card. The Special Projects Internship, led by Dr. Card, is new this academic year and provides opportunities for students interested in archaeology and collections management.

“My fellow interns and I have done a little bit of everything, and it is so cool,” Emily said. “We have inventoried somewhere around 1,300 artifacts (with a whole lot more to go); we are creating an exhibit on Honduran pottery (thought by some to be evidence of Atlantis); we are helping Dr. Scarry create an interactive exercise for ATH 155 [Introduction to Anthropology]; we have put together display cabinets; and we will be doing another display of some Katsina dolls that were donated to the opera. I cannot fathom how I got here as a first-year; it is a wonderful opportunity that I don’t think I would have anywhere else.”

Sarah Kammer works with collections material at her internship

Anthropology Major Sarah Kammer (Class of 2018) recently completed an internship at Heritage Village Museum.

“My internship is at Heritage Village Museum. At my internship, my projects are to contact other museums about seeing their historical clothing from around the years 1803, 1840, and 1891 and create a reference binder for staff and volunteers to look at when making reproduction clothing for events, as well as work on sewing reproduction clothing for volunteers and learn 1800s skills to teach to volunteers.

Not only has this internship given me the opportunity to create a network of contacts at various museums, but I am able to learn skills that I have wanted to learn for years - sewing, for example.”

Brandi McConahay and other Miami students stand outside US Senator Sherrod Brown's office in DC

Anthropology Major Brandi McConahay (Class of 2017) recently traveled with a group of Miami students to Washington D.C. and Columbus, Ohio to speak about her research with legislators. Her research focuses on the use of augmented reality at archaeological sites and the production of 3D models using photogrammetry in archaeology.

"Having the opportunity to speak with legislators about my research involving 3D technology and augmented reality at archaeological sites allowed me to share the relevance of archaeology in the twenty-first century. It was also a great opportunity to present my research in a conference setting to people with a wide range of backgrounds. It can be easy to get caught up in a bubble full of those already familiar with your research, and it was great to be able to share it with the public."