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.

Learning the Lab Life

Dia Dobbs

My internship at the LabCorp Austell Patient Service Center was amazing! I got to dive into completely new experiences that will definitely be useful in my future career pursuit as a Physicians Assistant. I was grateful for the opportunity to be so hands on with the patients, specimen and understanding all aspects of what it takes to work in one of these offices. Furthermore I hope sharing my experience can help future students on deciding what internship is best for them.

One of the most valuable tools that I took away from LabCorp is understanding how to work with patients of all different backgrounds and cultures. I didn’t realize how important and necessary it would be for me to help patients with simple task, such as providing necessary identification, or informing them about the testing they were having done. Sometimes patients would come in frustrated at their employer or doctor for the test they had requested, so it was imperative that we remained calm and assured them that this would be a quick and easy process.

 Another thing that I learned to do from this internship was conduct different lab test. Of course, I wasn’t allowed to conducting them on my own but it was very cool being able to participate in the process. A few that I did quite frequently were drug screens, urinalysis, genetic molecular testing, and paternity testing. One of the coolest things that I did was the hair drug screen test where I was taught on a practice doll how to collect 200 hair strands from the patients head. I also had the pleasure of working with newborns to perform heel sticks test, which was quite exciting.

One of the most challenging parts of this internship was learning how to work the Touch system which is how all the specimen are tracked. This was something that I frequently needed assistance with, and it wasn’t uncommon for Patient Service Technicians to mess up on. Of course, I always double checked if I had questions because if specimen got lost or mixed up, then that could result in retesting, which is a hassle for the patients.

In addition to working in the lab, I also got the opportunity to ride around with the courier who picks up the labs at each office. This was interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes once your lab work leaves the lab. I was able to visit the Birmingham headquarters where the specimen are organized and tested. This facility had many departments with chemist and biologist who studied specimen in detail.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take photos in the lab due to it being a HIPPA violation; however, I did include pictures of what the office looked like and the rooms that the patients were serviced in. This internship was an incredible experience and I would most definitely recommend students to apply for this internship. I was very active at this facility and staff were extremely helpful in teaching me the in’s and out’s of the lab.

Spring Semester Presentations!

This May our senior Internship and Research Practicum students presented their amazing work to a panel of faculty and peers. From private companies to non-profits, our interns developed a range of skills in contemporary work places and put their anthropological knowledge to good use. Congratulations to those who scored a paying job as a result of their internship!

Our research students explored biological and cultural variation while testing basic and applied scientific questions. Congratulations to our seniors who have been accepted to graduate school programs in the fall! Check out our department Facebook page for all the updates: https://www.facebook.com/KSUGeoAnth

Bones on the Road

Marcus Pettiford

For my practicum, I was given the opportunity to work with Dr. Gooding on public outreach and the expansion of Forensic Anthropology within community schools. My overall goal was to create a Forensic Anthropology Traveling Trunk designed to teach grades K-5. While the thought of this creation may have sounded it easy, it was rather challenging creating each activity based on the State of Georgia’s standards.  My goals were easily accomplished by working with teachers from different schools when it came to designing my Traveling Trunk. With the help of public educators, I wanted to create activities that would promote forensic anthropology but also in a fun way that students would be interested in participating.

Throughout the semester, I was also taking Lab in Forensic Anthropology which helped guided me when it came to preparing my activities.  My finished product was a mobile traveling case that public educators can use to teach students about Forensic Anthropology. The trunk consisted of four different activities, Sex estimation, Human vs. Animal Identification, Trauma Analysis, and Long Bones Identification. Lastly, if given the opportunity I would like to expand more on my research and see how other public educators and students across America enjoy the use of Traveling Trunks.

Zooarchaeology on Display

Christie Eades

This semester I had to opportunity to create a comparative collection of animal bones for Investigators and students to study. This involved collecting animals remains and processing them to be able to see the anatomical and morphological differences between human bone and non-human. Another aspect of the project was collecting animal bones from local butcher shops to show what domesticated animal bones look like compared to other native wildlife species.

During the Spring of 2019 over 700 animal bones were analyzed, collected and cataloged. I created an Excel spreadsheet of the species of animals I collected along with number of bones and type. Animal bones in the collection featured: American Black Bear, Armadillo, Beaver, Bobcat, Cougar, Cow Coyote, Domestic Cat, Domestic Dog, domestic Ferret, Domestic Pig, Eastern Cottontail Rabbit, Easter Gray Squirrel, Grey, Fox, Horse, Raccoon, Red Wolf, Striped Skunk, Virginia Opossum, White Tailed Deer, and Wild Juvenile Boar.

Another aspect of the project was creating a display case of animal skulls to show the differences between cranial and dental features along with how it changes along species.  Finally, I took photos of comparing the morphological differences of the animals listed above compared to human. The photos were compiled into a manual that compared each bone to human. The manual can be used in the field or even classroom setting to identify animal vs. human bone.

KSU Anthro Goes to the Georgia Academy of Science

March, 2019- KSU Anthropology gave five presentations this year at the annual Georgia Academy of Science meeting at the University of North Georgia, Gainesville. This conference is a great opportunity for students to present their research in a low-stress environment. Students can also submit manuscripts for publication to the Georgia Journal of Science. This is a fantastic way to build your CV and get started on your academic journey. Congratulations to all!

EVALUATION OF MISSISSIPPIAN PERIOD HUNTING PRACTICES IN GEORGIA**, Bryant C. Long*

PATTERNS OF SWIFT CREEK INTERACTION IN THE CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVER VALLEY, Gary Owenby*

ENERGY EXPENDITURE ACROSS THE ETOWAH CHEIFDOM: TESTING A HUMAN MODEL AGAINST ESTABLISHED ALGORITHMS**, Alice F. Gooding, Joseph Eleam*, and Patrick Wilborn*

TESTING ANCESTRAL HOMOGENEITY OF ANATOMICAL TEACHING CRANIA**, Christopher M. Goden, Alice F. Gooding

ENGAGING WITH THE PUBLIC: AN EXAMINATION OF AN ANTHROPOLOGY OUTREACH PROGRAM, Hannah D. Bauguess*

End of Anthropology section presentations on Saturday- what a great group!
KSU Anthro student Hannah gave a strong presentation about her efforts to engage Atlanta area communities with anthropology.
KSU Anthro senior, Chris, won the award for Best Undergraduate Anthropology Paper!

A Sweet Tooth for Dental Anthropology

Ashleigh Freeman

For my last semester, I chose to do a practicum with Dr. Gooding. I was lucky enough to get a practicum that was aligned with research I had done previously in an osteology field school in Greece and that I found interesting. My overall goal was to create a collection of teeth that can be used to teach various classes in the department. Also, I wanted to create a couple of extra sets for Dr. Smith to take with her to Greece. For classes like the Human Skeleton and Lab in Physical Anthropology, having hands-on access to teeth can help students gain a deeper understanding of the importance of teeth.

I worked throughout the semester, learning as much as I could about human dentition through books and articles. I then used that knowledge to create collections of wear patterns in each type of teeth. I created displays of show teeth (which is the perfect example of that tooth) and funky teeth (which contained caries, fillings, and grills). Writing the final paper at the end of the project shows how much you learn over the semester, conferring a sense of expertise in that area of anthropology. After sorting through approximately 1,700 teeth, I had all the sets ready, so I built little displays for the classroom. I hope my practicum can help someone down the road feel more confident when they learn about teeth!