As a student in the LSA Honors program, I was drawn to the study of Anthropology in my first semester as a result of my experience in Anthro. 101, taught by Conrad Kottak, who subsequently became chair of the department and a personal friend. My liberal education in LSA led to a five-decade career in business, including banking, manufacturing and higher education fundraising. The critical thinking skills I acquired at Michigan facilitated my professional success.
Having studied Anthropology, the study of human behavior, cultures, societies and language, I felt well-prepared to understand and get along with others and to be effective working in complex organizations. Coupled with classes in Linguistics in the Department of Anthropology, I also studied French and Spanish, which allowed me to function in tri-lingual and multi-cultural environments.
In 2003, I created an endowment to support research undertaken by undergraduate Anthropology students. Such support did not exist when I was a student. It has been my honor to support undergraduate students for nearly twenty years.
Fellow Anthropology alumni, please join me on March 16 by making a gift and spreading the word about Giving Blueday. Go Blue!
- Julie Childress Stroh, Class of 1973
The University of Michigan Anthropology Department set me up for success. The classes provided me with a solid educational foundation. The professors and graduate students created a welcoming and intellectually stimulating environment. And, above, all, the department was supportive - my mentors (Laura MacLatchy, Milford Wolpoff, Bill Sanders, and Roberto Frisancho) went above and beyond to nurture my intellectual curiosity and support my efforts to pursue a career in anthropology. I would not be where I am today without Michigan Anthropology.
I co-host the podcast for the Human Biology Association and American Journal of Human Biology. This podcast talks to experts in the field of human biology and anthropology. The first thing we ask guests is to tell us about their journey to becoming an anthropologist. And, it is very rare for that journey to somehow NOT intersect with Michigan Anthropology, showing how important this program has been and still is to shaping the field of Anthropology.
- Cara Ocobock, Class of 2007
The University of Michigan's anthropology program and faculty ignited a passion for the study of human origins that has never left me. Michigan brought in scholars from all over the world, introducing me and other students to the highest caliber of training and ground-breaking research. I went on to study human evolution professionally, and remain inspired by the Michigan faculty who first showed me the field.
When I was a freshman my professor of introductory Anthropology invited our whole lecture hall to a small, professional seminar led by a visiting paleontologist from Africa. When I arrived at the seminar, it was full, but my professor gave up his seat, insisting that I have a place to sit and attend. I was electrified by the seminar and discussion, and stuck with the department from that point forward.
Anthropology at Michigan gave me the opportunity to study anatomy, paleontology, genetics, and climate science. World-class professors always made time for students. The program enriched my time at Michigan and has helped define my life ever since.
- Daniel Green, Class of 2008
My degree in anthropology from the University of Michigan not only inspired me to pursue a career as an attorney by fostering my desire to work with people of various backgrounds, but also equipped me with needed skills that help me understand how each clients needs differ from each other.
My degree has been invaluable in my work in the field of law and outside of it, providing me with a comprehension of human nature that has given me an understanding of the uniqueness, and similarities, that we as a people share.
- Zachary Miner, Class of 2018
It is impossible to overstate the role that Anthropology at Michigan has played in my life. My undergraduate degree in Anthropology set me on my path through graduate school and into my current position as an instructor of Anthropology at Bates College in Maine. I am indebted to all of the professors and graduate students at Michigan who mentored me, advised me, and supported my developing interests in ethnographic writing and social theory. I consider myself lucky to be able to call these people my disciplinary colleagues. More than the professional guidance I have received, I feel very strongly that the courses I took in anthropology at Michigan dramatically impacted how I understand the world and act in it. Claude Lévi-Strauss writes in Tristes Tropiques that "Anthropology is, with music and mathematics, one of the few true vocations; and the anthropologist may become aware of it within [themselves] before ever [they have] been taught it" (1961, 58). While my anthropology is not the same as that which was practiced by Lévi-Strauss, I still think there is a profound truth to this observation. I distinctly remember several transformative moments in my classes at Michigan when I discovered to my amazement that there existed an entire discipline where the questions I had been asking seemingly my entire life were raised, considered in depth, and (provisionally) answered. This having been said, I think it is also true that the vocation of anthropology can go unrealized in a student if they end up in the wrong academic spaces or taught by the wrong instructors. I therefore consider myself extremely lucky to have discovered anthropology at Michigan, with professors and graduate students who were passionate about the discipline and eager to share it with students like me. I have been profoundly molded by lessons learned at Michigan, and I will continue to return to those lessons long after my professional career has concluded.
- Joshua Rubin, Class of 2006