Putting on My Anthropology Hat in the Home Health Care Industry

Sunny Sewak

When I think back to when I began at KSU as a Anthropology major, I really did not know what to expect or how the internship process worked.  I knew what the word “intern” meant but at this point in my life I just couldn’t see myself doing it.  I knew I was going to probably end up doing it at the end of my senior year so I really did not worry or put too much thought into the whole thing.  I knew I had plenty of time before I had to worry about it.

            Eventually my internship caught up with me and before I knew it I was registering for summer semester internship 2020 which was also my very last course I needed to complete to graduate from KSU with my bachelors degree.  I felt very nervous about what was to come of this internship experience and felt that I was not prepared at all.  I realized later on that my personal anxiety about my internship was lack of knowledge of even knowing how the whole process worked or how much work was involved.  Its natural to be scared of the unknown but for me personally there were other concerns that may not plague the regular college age student.

            My worry was not just what I was going to do for my internship but how will this mix in with my personal home life and my real job.  I’m not your traditional college age.  I am in my early 40’s with a family and a job.  Supporting my family is the number one responsibility in my life and is the main reason why I am completing my bachelors degree right now.  I knew that there were some internships that may pay  some small amount but most of them do not pay anything so the thought of having to work somewhere for my internship without pay was terrifying to me.  Plus the thought that I would have to do this around my real job full time schedule drove me insane.

            Once I was in the position where I had to finally do my internship, I spoke to my department internship advisor about my options and explained my own personal position.  That conversation let a big weight off my shoulders.  All those past few years of wondering and worrying ended right there for me.  I was advised that my actual job could possibly be my internship if my supervisor would approve.  The business I was in which is elderly in-home care can work out as a cultural anthropology internship.  This totally made me look at what I do every day in a completely different light and I immediately realized that there is all sorts of cultural anthropological things going on in the in-home care world.  Needless to say, I was not worried anymore about what I was going to do for my internship.

            Before the internship began I thought about how I would relate my internship to my major.  I knew there was a lot of cultural anthropology type stuff going on at my internship site but I didn’t really know what or how I was going to focus on any of it.  I tried hard to put it all into perspective.  I also did not know yet what was going to be asked of me from the curriculum.  Once the internship officially began and I saw what was on the syllabus it became much clearer on how I was going to get through this.  Now I just needed to put on my anthropology hat on while at work rather than just another day to day employee going through the same day to day motions.

            When the internship began, I made sure that I read all the assignments on the syllabus.  I wanted to have a clear idea of what was asked of me while I was at the site.  I had to make sure that I was thinking in a different way while there at work and how I would relate it to my assignments.  I learned this was very important to do because I never thought of what I do for work daily, I never viewed it in a cultural anthropological light.  I had to stop thinking as an employee and start thinking as an anthropologist while working.  I had to view things from a different lens which, at times, was not as easy as it sounds.

            I am certain that if I had done my internship way back in my younger college years, I would have done a more traditional internship.  I think it was a little difficult for me to really get into the way of thinking in an anthropological way because a majority of my work is in an office atmosphere.  There was not much hands on type stuff going on in my situation so for my internship, I had gotten involved with other areas of my workplace to gain proper information for my assignments, and that made it easier for me to gather information.  Gaining the proper amount of information for my assignments was also difficult but I eventually got through it by referring to my readings.

            Viewing my workplace internship site from a different lens was the single most important thing for my internship.  I had to really try hard to view and analyze things as an anthropologist which can prove hard when you get stuck into day to day activities.  It was very easy to get back into an employee state of mind which showed in my first initial paper and journals I wrote.  I had to write as an anthropologist rather than tell the story of my job and day to day tasks.  I had to delve deep into the reasons why certain issues were happening and how they tie into the anthropology world.  Tying the readings together with what I do really helped open the doors for a lot of every day issues I deal with and made me think of them from an anthropological angle which I had never done before.

Office staff working hard.

            I feel that many Anthropology courses at KSU I completed definitely helped me with doing my internship, especially the cultural anthropology classes.  While I was doing my internship I often thought about certain classes, papers and assignments I completed that directly correlated with my internship.  I can honestly say they helped me with my focus and view of what I was doing at my internship and without having completed those classes, my internship assignments would have been difficult to complete.  Those classes helped shape the understanding of what exactly was being asked of me while doing my internship as an Anthropology major.

            In the end I feel that my experience with my internship was a good one.  It really made me open my eyes in a different way and focus on things I never really thought about before.  I learned there is so much cultural anthropology involved in what I do every day.  Anthropology courses I have taken at KSU really prepared me for my internship and I am happy that I had them to refer back to.  I feel it is important to understand what the internship experience is about early on in college so that it isn’t such a shock when you finally have to do it.  I am happy to have had this experience with my internship and workplace and I feel that it has made me a better employee as well as opened up my anthropological mind to other areas I may not have thought about before.

Clients and staff happy to help out with my internship pictures.

GIS and Archaeology are the Perfect Find at Leone Hall Price Park

Evan Lofton

Starting in August of 2019, I got an internship where I was tasked with performing archaeological research at Leone Hall Price Park. The purpose of this research was to establish a timeline of occupation for the park, as well as make maps showing where artifacts and features have been found in relation to the existing trail system. Throughout this blog, I will discuss what I did during my internship so that you can know what to expect when you finally get your own.

Starting the Research: Fieldwork

Starting thWorking in the field is a great, yet physically demanding opportunity. It allows you to get out and see where the people lived and find amazing artifacts first hand, it really lets you feel closer to the people who lived at the site you are studying. Always keep in mind however that all fieldwork has its difficulties. You can get caught in the rain, have to wade across a body of water, or be stuck in the cold. Even in the picture above where it looks beautiful, the temperature was in the mid-90’s and it was extremely humid. At times, discovering artifacts is as easy as walking along a riverbank. After a heavy rain, artifacts such as this could be washed downstream and left in plain sight. This is not to say that you don’t need to pay attention however, as many artifacts are small and difficult to see. Other times, finding artifacts requires you to get dirty. This fragment of a projectile point was found by climbing down into a pit near by the river created by an uprooted tree. Although more difficult to get to, artifacts like these have the advantage of being closer to where they were originally left than those found in the river.

Figuring it All Out: Labwork

            Between the days working in the field, I was in the archaeology lab sorting and typing artifacts. This process is among the most time consuming, yet vital steps in understanding a site, it allows you to get a rough estimate for the age of a site, as well as gain an understanding of role of the site in trade if you find items originating form far off. Be aware however that working in the lab takes multiple hours of looking at artifacts and referencing books to make any progress. It is often said that an hour of fieldwork produces enough artifacts for a week of labwork. Some seemingly unassuming artifacts can be the most fascinating. Prior to analyzing this artifact, the oldest artifacts from Price Park were from the Early Woodland, 3000 years ago. Now the time for earliest human occupation at the site has been pushed back to 7500 years ago. At other times, the information offered by an artifact is limited. Alkaline glazed pottery such as the artifact pictured above became common in the South starting sometime in the 1800’s and is still produced today in some areas. Although this piece can tell us that the park was occupied by Americans sometime between the 1800’s and when the property was granted to Cobb County, what period it is from cannot be determined.

Last Step: Making the Maps

            Although most people with an anthropology internship will not have to do any mapping, those who are also getting a certificate in GIS would be wise to combine the two internships to make the workload easier. Collecting data with ArcCollector can show where artifacts and features are concentrated. This can then be used to for a number of different things, such as where people are likely to have lived within a certain site. This will require hours of sitting at a desk and adjusting the map to make it look good, but the information you gain from it is worth it. Below is the official trail map, made by the Friends of Price Park.

Deep Roots in Georgia: The Root House Museum

Sara Allen

I was an unpaid intern at the Root House Museum. My time there started in August, while the house was still dressed for summer. The first month at the Root House, I was given a docent manual and became acquainted with everyone that worked there at the time. I was given a lot of freedom with my time spent there. The executive director allowed me to choose what I spend my time doing as an intern at the Root House. I was provided access to resources that the museum already had, and then the rest of time was independent research. The atmosphere at the museum is very easy-going; help with projects was always requested and never pressed.

I think this the benefit that comes from working with a museum that relies somewhat heavily on volunteer work- the executive director and program coordinator avoid asking too much from their unpaid workers. Although I requested not to lead museum tours, I sat in during some of them to learn more about what a docent has to do as well as the typical visitors to the Root House Museum. Most of the visitors that I saw while I was there were either retirees or school aged children.

Aside from research and giving tours, a lot of the work at the museum involves arranging furniture and prepping for events. The room exhibits change almost every month, so furniture and décor have to be carefully moved around and arranged. The museum will host events, usually as an avenue to raise more money, and this also involves arranging tables and decorations in the garden. Otherwise, if you’re on the clock you might be asked to help sweep and dust. The Root House Museum is a good place for potential interns that want quiet, self-driven work. The other draw of the Root House is that the exhibits there touch a broad amount of subjects. The museum represents history, local history, business in 1800’s, the middle class during the 1800’s, horticulture and pharmacy, race, religion and gender. There are a lot of opportunities at the Root House for deeper studies into any of these subjects and more. The Root House Museum has connections to other local historians, other museums, and other historical societies. This museum is actually a very good place for people looking to make connections with other historical museums. It’s also a good place to learn how smaller scale museums maintain their exhibits, and turn out a profit.

The drawbacks of the museum start with the fact that internships will be unpaid. People who want more direction in their work, especially people who need consistent feedback, may not find the Root House as relaxing as I did. The days spent at the Root House are very slow, and some people need an environment where they constantly have something do and this just isn’t an environment that will keep anyone on their toes. Also research projects involve dead ends and this can be potentially frustrating for some people.

Grounded in History: Museum of History and Holocaust Education

Rebecca Ruggles

For my last fall semester at KSU, I interned at the Museum of History and Holocaust Education right here at the university. I worked with their curator Adina Langer researching and helping with upcoming projects for the museum. There I learned how much effort went into each exhibit that was on display within the museum.  Working at the museum proved to be a very fast paced and on the go environment especially when October rolled around, as that was when field trips from school would be scheduled to visit for tours. There were quite a few tours going on every week and the museum staff would often be out of the office visiting school with traveling trunks or mobile exhibits.

 I also helped with giving tours, but as a support role. I aided the docent giving the tour and assisting children with their work. I also transcribed an interview that was part of the ongoing project at the Museum of History and Holocaust Education called the Legacy Series Oral History Program. I was also working on setting up exhibits by researching information, helping create panels, and setting up display cases which .  I also tried to participate in many of the events they had going on such as their docent training, where they trained volunteers to be docents, and home school day, where children who are home schooled are visiting.

This was an amazing experience that I would recommend for others to do if they have the opportunity. I felt that working at the museum helped hone my research skills and let me see how I could potentially apply them in a workplace. I also learned a lot about the dynamics of a work environment for a museum and what it takes to be successful. Everyone I worked with was very nice and very knowledgeable in their work. If you decide to work here do try to interact with everyone, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and participate in events!

Field School in Archaeology Pays Off in CRM

Samuel Sims

My very last act as a Kennesaw State University undergraduate was to fulfill my internship requirement. I chose to intern as a field technician at Edwards-Pitman Environmental Inc. (EPEI) over the summer. It was exactly the hands on experience that I was hoping to gain.

Edwards-Pitman is a cultural resource management (CRM) firm that works mostly in Georgia. Being in archaeology class you often hear about CRM and if you have Dr. Terry Powis, it comes up often, due to his background in the field. Dr. Powis’ field school is even CRM based and that gave me a small taste of what it is like. But I must advise you, doing actual CRM work is like Dr. Powis’ field school but in overdrive and turbocharged! This internship allowed me to see first hand what all the hoopla was about.

Being a CRM field tech can be very fast paced and is almost always rugged. You may be walking behind sound barriers which haven’t been visited by a human being since they were erected. Or maybe it’s rural Georgia and you must trudge through thick vegetation only to run into a stream you must fjord. Or perhaps you are walking along a noisy interstate, feeling the full force of the sun for several miles. I say all this not to scare anyone away, but to give a real sense of what the hardest parts of the job entail. On the flip side, there are easy days. Often, large portions of shovel test are in paved, developed areas and those are simply written off as undigable. Other times you have ample time to do all the shovel tests for the day and you take frequent long breaks. Regardless of the work situation, the crew chiefs are very considerate of your well being and take environmental conditions into account.  This summer was freakishly hot with regularly high humidity, so the crew chiefs were regularly checking in with their techs, taking regular breaks and making sure everyone was hydrated.

The vast majority of my time was spent in the field, but I did get a small amount of time to work in EPEI’s highly equipped lab. My work there solely consisted of labeling and inventorying artifacts from past projects. This is pretty tedious work, but it’s essential that it is done correctly to ensure that the artifacts are curated properly. Though lab work isn’t my cup of tea, so to say, but I enjoyed doing it as it gave me a greater appreciation for the work. It also is a bug free, air conditioned work space which was a nice break from the field!

One of the coolest things about working in CRM is that you are actively doing preservation work. I truly believe that work itself is of utmost importance and the folks at Edwards-Pitman share that value. It is nice to work in a crew of like minded people and have an accomplished feeling that you’ve done work towards the greater good. I really enjoyed working with people of vastly higher skill level than me. I had a suitable, albeit amateur, skill level coming into this, but it gave way to so many learning opportunities. It seemed like at every turn I had a question and there was always someone there with a good answer. There is also a decent amount of commingling of people with varying levels of experience and/or education in the field. Being around these people gave me hands on experience that is inherently lacking in a classroom.

When I changed my major to anthropology I envisioned myself doing work that looks very similar to being a CRM field tech and I must say I couldn’t be more satisfied with my experience, bugs, heat and all. Since my internship was the very last class I took, it felt very much like a
culmination of all my past experiences at Kennesaw State. My internship with Edwards-Pitman was the perfect, pretty ribbon to wrap up my college experience.

A Deep Dive Into the Past at Bulloch Hall

Molly Dangar

This summer I interned at Bulloch Hall in Roswell, GA. The site is located near the Roswell Mill, and was the childhood home of Mittie Bulloch, the mother of former president Theodore Roosevelt. The site showcases the Bulloch home as well as a garden, slave quarters, privy, carriage house, and two wells. Visitors can explore the grounds and learn about Roswell, GA, The Bulloch family, Theodore Roosevelt, and the way of life in the 1830’s.

Gwen Koehler, the Director of Education at Bulloch Hall, along with her coauthor Connie H., have published three books containing letters that the Bulloch family exchanged during the 19th century.  The books contain letters telling the story of the love affair between Mittie Bulloch and President Theodore Roosevelt Senior leading up to their wedding, the civil war, the couple’s move to Thee’s hometown in New York along with Mittie’s mother, and the hardships that the family faced during this time. These three books include letters between 1854 and 1864. For my internship I read, analyzed, transcribed, and digitized letters that were written between 1865 and 1869.  My college experience has involved printed textbooks and academic articles written by scholars, so it has been an interesting experience working with handwritten letters. Not to mention these letters are written in cursive with a fountain pen and inkwell, which now seems to be a lost art. After all of the letters are transcribed, Gwen and her coauthor Connie M. Huddleston will start the editing process and publish a fourth book containing letters written post 1965. In addition to transcribing letters, I had the opportunity to meet many docents (volunteers) at Bulloch Hall as well as some of the members of the different guilds that meet on the site such as the Gardeners Guild. During the middle of July Bulloch Hall hosts Camp Rough Riders, which is a day camp for kids ages 6-10 to come learn about the Bulloch and Roosevelt families, and do crafts relating to the time period.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Bulloch Hall and wish that I could do it all over again. Being a student that is mostly interested in physical anthropology, I wasn’t sure what to expect while interning at a place that was more historically and culturally focused, but it was one of the best opportunities I have ever had. The ladies that work in the administrative office at Bulloch Hall rave about Kennesaw Students, and really know how to make you feel welcome. I did not feel like an intern while working at Bulloch Hall, I felt like family.

Internships are a MUST!

Anthony Calloway

For my final semester I chose to do an internship. From the very beginning of my course work I have always been interested in doing cultural research, I was given the opportunity to work with the homeless population in the metro Atlanta area this summer. I was able to work and perform ethnographic research at Must Ministries a nonprofit charitable organization located in Marietta, GA that operates a homeless shelter and outreach program. From the very beginning of the semester I was very excited to begin doing my first ethnographic study where I could begin to apply what I’ve learned during my course work at KSU, by studying and analyzing the behavior of the homeless (clients) through interviews, participant and non-participant observation in the hope of better understanding  this particular sub-culture.

I began my internship working in the intake section of the Elizabeth Inn shelter, which was at first overwhelming and exciting at the same time. In the intake section  I was able to conduct structured interviews with many of the clients, which went surprisingly well, since I didn’t have considerable experience conducting interviews, the structured interview did not require extensive training but it assisted in improving my overall interview technique as well as being an excellent way of building confidence for future unstructured interviews and field work. Working with and interacting with the homeless population helped me to gain a better understanding of the daily life of this sub-culture of our society by spending significant time studying their behavior. Later I worked in case management, where I was able to build rapport with many clients and conduct more extensive interviews with the clients which gave me a broader view of the homeless and what’s more, while working in case management I realized that each person’s situation was unique.

This internship has not only provided me with an  invaluable experience it  has also allowed me to have an one a kind experience not only from the stand point of applying what I’ve learned during my course work in the form of observations, interviews, fieldnotes all used to form conclusions based on data, but also by broadening my perception of the homeless, and obtain a more complete depiction of this sub-culture of our society.

Interning at WonderRoot, or… How to Find an Answer to “So what are you going to do with that major?”

Averi Waites

Going into my last spring semester as an Anthropology student, I knew my anthropological interests- cultural research, art, and social justice. Needing an internship to graduate, I used those key interests and found the nonprofit organization WonderRoot. WonderRoot works directly at the intersection of art and social justice through using creative initiatives and community partnerships. Their programming includes artist fellowships, public art initiatives, and community dialogues. The opportunity could not have aligned more perfectly with my interests so I immediately reached out. I was taken on as a Programs and Events Intern working under the Programs and Events Coordinator, Nina Dolgin. I really enjoyed my time with the WonderRoot team and always felt that my questions, ideas, and opinions were wanted and taken seriously.

Through my intern program project and conversations with some of the WonderRoot staff I was really able to development myself professionally and focus into what I wanted my career (and life) to look like after graduation.

I had the opportunity to create my own program with the end product being a formal program proposal. I really loved the idea of community members being a part of the art-making process, so I decided to create an intergenerational community-based art program that would pair an older participant who was present during the 60’s Civil Rights Movement, and a younger participant who supports the current Black Lives Matter Movement. Together they would create a new piece of social justice art that incorporates themes from both participants experiences. Research on intergenerational programs showed that programs like this produced confidence in participants, reduced age-related preconceptions, created community, and stressed the importance of connecting art and narrative. With this research I was able to clearly set goals that stated what I wanted the participants to get out of my program. My evaluation methods for successfulness included qualitative methods, much like anthropological research, such as pre and post evaluation, interviews, and participant observation. Assessing the successfulness and whether the goals are reached is important for final reports that need to be given to any funders or stakeholders in the program. I also had to include a program schedule and budget, which my internship coordinator helped me realistically frame and break down. After completing the final document, I felt very accomplished and proud of my work. I always consulted Nina with my ideas, but the program is my program that I get to take with me after the internship. I genuinely enjoyed brainstorming ideas for a program, as well as fleshing the idea out into a detailed proposal.

While I am still finding my place in the social justice journey, interning at WonderRoot really helped me focus my career pursuits. Many anthropology majors know what they love about Anthropology but do not know how to translate that into an actual job. Before my internship, if people asked what I wanted to do with my major (which all anthro majors are used to being asked) I would say something general and unclear, like cultural research at an organization, museum, or academia. Of course, no one really knows what that means and I do not think I really did either. Being at WonderRoot helped me translate my “cultural research” answer to a more confident answer that is much more clear and concise for professionals. WonderRoot showed me that I wanted to conduct qualitative research in underserved, minority communities in order to create meaningful and impactful programs for that community. Focusing and clarifying my career desires has really helped me when searching for jobs, and I was able to very quickly find potential jobs in which I was able to market myself because of my time at WonderRoot. If you are an Anthropology student who knows your passions but has no idea how to make that into a career, I highly suggested taking an internship. Find an organization that closely aligns with your passions, apply, and learn more about yourself- professionally and personally.

Community Relations Leads to Full-Time Relationship

Landis Guy

My internship at Sterling Estates of West Cobb Senior Living Community has proven to be the best decision I have every made. In January 2019, I started my internship, excited to work with seniors. I got hired on as a Community Relations Intern, learning the ropes of the sales process. At first, I wasn’t sure if ‘sales’ was going to be for me. But, after seeing what an impact the Community Relations Counselors, Martha and Sherry, were making, I wanted learn every bit of the process that I could.

As an intern, my main responsibilities were the daily tasks like making sure we had enough copies, keeping the conference room tidy, and going on tours to learn as much as I can about the selling process and community. Slowly, I started handling more tasks, such as working with the Director of Maintenance in order to ‘flip’ rooms on time. In February, I was offered a full-time position as a Community Relations Counselor with my main focus in coordinating the move in process with new residents.

I want to thank the Department of Geography and Anthropology for this opportunity, because without the requirement for an internship, I wouldn’t have the career I love today. I also want to thank Dr. Alice Gooding for all of the help she has been in helping me to achieve my goals this semester.