Abstract

Whether teaching at the undergraduate or graduate level, we recognize anthropology is a discovery major. Students find their way into a class and something thrilling happens; they get hooked and claim anthropology as their major or advanced degree. What is it that lures students into anthropology? It is the process of understanding culture and power or being able to “make a difference” and contribute towards positive change in an organization or a community. This drive to make a difference for those we work with drew us in as academics and practitioners and kept us engaged in the discipline. It was this vocational motivation that inspired Susan to invite Victoria, Jennifer, and John to speak to her undergraduate Applied Anthropology class regarding our experiences as practitioners. She posed the questions: “What can you do with a degree in anthropology?” and “How do you go about getting those positions rather than becoming a professor?” There may be many jobs in one’s career journey as we see it; how do you get started, stay encouraged, “upgrade” your skills, and creatively adapt over time? This paper is a product of the discussion started in that class and hopefully adds to the larger conversation currently taking place in the field.

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