1) Tell us a little about yourself (your diplomas, your training, your area of expertise, etc.)
I am an archaeologist specializing in the Pacific Islands. I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Hawaii before obtaining my MA (Hons) at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and my PhD at the University of Washington in Seattle. After completing my doctorate, I taught at the University of Hawaii for 25 years, then moved to the University of Oregon to serve as Dean of Clarke Honors College. In 2017, I served as Dean of WA Franke Honors College at the University of Arizona for 5 years. Currently, I am a professor in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona.
2) Tell us about the University of Arizona and some of the best courses on offer?
The University of Arizona, established in 1885, is one of America’s top 50 public universities, according to US News & World Report. The university ranked in the top 20 in research spending in 2020 among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a top research institution with $761 million in annual research spending.
With over 50,000 students, including 5,808 international students from over 126 countries, the University of Arizona is widely recognized as a student-centered university. Students can choose from over 150 majors, benefit from a 17-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, access over 400 student clubs and organizations, and immerse themselves in a rich and diverse cultural and athletic life on campus.
With so many programs on offer, students can choose popular majors like engineering, computer science, and business or select niche areas of study like environmental science, machine learning, and science. optical.
3) What pushed you towards archeology and anthropology as subjects?
Since my youth, I have been interested not only in the cultures and histories of the Pacific Islands, but also in the periods before the written history of the European colonial era. I greatly value the scientific aspects of my research, as it gives me the opportunity to learn new and surprising things about hundreds, if not thousands of years of Pacific Island history and culture.
For the past 22 years I have focused on Easter Island, where, often to our surprise, we have learned many new and unexpected things about the island’s history.
4) What are the different areas of anthropology that students can study?
Anthropology is a diverse subject, studying people from multiple dimensions. Anthropology at the University of Arizona is highly ranked (#14 in the US according to the 2021 QS World University Rankings) with the many well-known faculty engaged in a wide range of innovative work.
For example, anthropologists from the University of Arizona and around the world study topics ranging from human evolution, canine cognition, medical anthropology to the Mexican pyramids. Students can study tracks in cultural anthropology (living cultures), archaeology, biological anthropology, medical anthropology, applied anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. Students combine courses in innovative ways, for example by combining study streams such as biological and medical anthropology.
5) What are the career opportunities in the field of anthropology?
There are many career opportunities that are not always obvious to students pursuing their interests. Anthropologists work in fields of international development (applied anthropology), where they advise and solve problems on issues such as drinking water in rural areas of Mexico or medical research for the use of native plants in Brazil. Anthropologists often hold academic positions, such as researchers or professors in universities, but can also hold many jobs in the public and private sector.
Anthropology and archeology graduates may find opportunities to work for federal, state, and regional government organizations in a range of capacities, including planning, research, and administrative roles. Also in the business sector, some of the main jobs that anthropologists can do are coordination of clinical research, cross-cultural communication, international business, market research, etc. and social work are also present for these people.
6) What are the courses/programs offered by the UoA that can help students in a career in Archeology and Anthropology?
The University of Arizona School of Anthropology ranks 14th in the United States according to the 2021 QS World University Rankings. Students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in Anthropology, Master of arts in applied archeology or a doctorate in anthropology.
The School of Anthropology is one of the few institutions to fully support the integrated approach to the sub-discipline of anthropology, with research encompassing archaeology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology and socio-cultural anthropology (including applied anthropology). Through the school, the University of Arizona offers meaningful opportunities to learn more about what is human, how we have evolved, and what lies ahead in our future.
7) In your opinion, what is the future of this field on a global scale?
As the world becomes “smaller” or “flatter,” as some scholars have written, we encounter people and cultures that are unfamiliar to us. Anthropology plays a vital role in our understanding of human variation in culture, biology, and history. I see the future not only in academia, but also in many areas of business, science, development, government, and medicine.
8) What are some lesser known and interesting facts about the Rapa Nui?
The Rapa Nui people, who first inhabited Easter Island, share many characteristics with other Polynesian cultures. Best known for the incredible 900 or more huge sculptures called Moai and seen across the island. These amazing structures are believed to have tapped into the political and spiritual strength of long-lost ancestors.
Many people have also read popular stories that Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is an example of a people destroying themselves through overpopulation and overexploitation of their resources. But in fact, recent research shows that this is not what happened. Instead, the islanders have created a sustainable society despite the many challenges of their small, isolated, resource-poor island.
About the University of Arizona:
The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the top 50 public universities in the nation, according to US News & World Report. Founded in 1885, the university is widely recognized as a student-centered university and has been designated as a Hispanic-serving institution by the United States Department of Education. The university ranked in the top 20 in research spending in 2020 among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a top research institution with $761 million in annual research spending. The university is pushing the boundaries of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 66 leading public and private research universities in the United States. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion per year.
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