Expo explores importance of anthropology in the workforce

Though there has been a large emphasis on the careers readily available for STEM majors, an expo today is reminding those interested in anthropology that there are still satisfying and diverse opportunities available.

The Applied Anthropology Graduate Student Organization (GSO), the Anthropology Club, the Department of Anthropology and Career Services will host the first This Is Anthropology Expo from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom.

The goal of the event is to highlight the importance of applied anthropology and to show current students there is a large job market for anthropological work.

The expo will provide a meeting ground for students and several vendors from organizations that employ and work with anthropologists, such as the Veterans’ Hospital, Florida Public Archaeology Network, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the AIDS and Anthropology Research Group. 

Zaida Darley, GSO treasurer and anthropology doctoral student, said many students might not be aware of the wide range of jobs that are available to anthropologists because of the media’s distortion of the subject’s credibility. 

“One of the things I notice as an anthropology student, that I see on Yahoo News and other little online websites, is always this anthropology bashing as though it’s not a very worthwhile degree, and they always suggest for you to go and get a different degree,” Darley said. “What I find is that those articles don’t really understand what anthropology is about and how it can be applied in so many different ways.” 

Ann Tezak, GSO president and anthropology master’s degree student, said applied anthropology is an exciting field because, instead of always working at a desk, it lets academics play a more hands-on role in the world.

“You’re applying what you’ve learned, the research that you’ve learned,” she said. “It’s not solely just an academic output. It’s going to be actually applied, whether it could be for policy change (or) working toward development programs.”

While this is the first job expo, it is not the first time the anthropology department has spread the word about the crucial work anthropologists do for the community. 

Darley mentioned the presentation This Is Anthropology, anthropology master’s student Charlotte Noble’s response to Gov. Rick Scott’s assertion that Florida doesn’t need any more anthropologists.

Along with offering students resume advice and networking opportunities with employers, professors and alumni, the expo will also provide viewers an inside look into USF’s Department of Anthropology. 

The Ballroom will have what Tezak describes as a “museum display” down the middle of the room, “where we can hang posters or pictures, things like that are showing current research that’s happening through the anthropology department.”

Some researchers at the expo will also showcase the specific technology they use to gather data, such as laser scanning and X-ray fluorescence (XRF). 

One use of laser scanning is to document changes in geographical areas. XRF can help determine the material makeup of artifacts. The focus of the expo, though, will be on career building for students and showing them the versatility applied anthropology has in the workforce.

“We are hoping that if (the expo) goes well, it will be able to continue annually,” Tezak said.

All majors and grade levels are welcome to attend, as well as the general public.