Wheaton anthropology alumni and students gathered together on Thurs. Mar. 29 for the Health Careers without Borders Panel to learn more about where a major in Anthropology could take them after college.
Panelists were asked to individually answer the questions submitted by students prior to the event. Many of the questions were in relation to how a major in anthropology was able to help them later in life.
Panelist David Collier ’97 explained his process of choosing a major, and how anthropology helped him in his seemingly unrelated career as a pharmaceutical salesman. He said, “When I was at Wheaton College, I had no idea… I consider myself very lucky to have gone into a major like anthropology… I think that it makes you an interesting person, a truly interesting person, and that you can take to anything you want to do.”
Tina Stiles ’92 discussed her use of anthropology in the workplace, and added, “I’m able to look at the challenges we have. I’m able to put the solutions in a frame of reference that each person will be able to understand.”
Stiles referenced her ability to observe, a skill she credited to her study of anthropology, as a key component to her everyday work in Corporate Quality Assurance Training.
Alumni Marcela Aguliar ’94 traveled all over the world, including to Zambia, Tanzania and various parts in the United States, as Project Director in the Strategic Communication and Marketing Division of ICF International. When asked about her typical workweek, she replied, “There is no one week that is the same as the next … I could not ask for a better job … I could not ask for a better foundation for my career in anthropology.”
Most of the panelists who presented had chosen to take a career path in the realm of public health. After the talk, several of the students expressed their questions relating to the field and where public health and anthropology connect. This interest in public health was, in part, sparked by Wheaton’s recent introduction of a public health minor.
“Public Health is about people and so is anthropology … I knew that I wanted to be interacting with people and asking questions,” said Libby Bixby Skolnik ‘02, who, like Aguilar, works on global public health issues. Skolnik was also able to share her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer.
Other panelists included Dr. Kerry K. Skiffington ’78, a certified clinical hypnotherapist, Binh Nguyen ’99, a manager of recruiters at Intersystems’ software and Dahlia Freudenthal-Dumont ’06, who is currently pursuing a career in nursing.
After the question and answer portion of the panel, the panelists set off in groups of one or two to speak more personally with smaller groups of students. Students were able to speak with five or six different panelists and directly ask them questions ranging from the personal to the general.
Brittany Whynot ’12 attended the panel as part of her Medical Anthropology class. She said, “It was comforting to hear the narratives of each panelist and I was impressed by their willingness to share their experiences, challenges, and obstacles with us, both coming out of college and in their careers. As a senior, this gave me some peace of mind, especially with graduation nearing!”
“As a current student it was amazing to see just how far a Wheaton education can get you and how selecting a major doesn’t condemn you to only one job possibility,” said Anthropology major Maye Emlein ’14.” It meant a lot to me to learn that alums are very much still a part of the Wheaton community and a great resource for students to use.”