(Mom, Dad and me at my graduation from Buffalo State)
My parents encouraged me to pursue a career that would make me happy, something I would enjoy and would help me contribute to the world. Growing up, my dream had been to be a marine biologist and study sharks (particularly great white sharks). My other love had been archaeology and the study of Iroquoian peoples. As my marine biology dream was mostly a dream to swim with sharks, it is probably not a shock that the field of anthropology (the study of Humanity), specifically the subfields of archaeology and socio-cultural anthropology, overwhelmed me. I was hooked after taking the intro to cultural anthropology at SUNY Buffalo State with Dr. Simeon “Chief” Chilungu. I ultimately completed a bachelor ‘s and master’s degree, my primary focus prehistoric archaeology and secondary socio-cultural anthropology. As an undergraduate and graduate student, I served as a tutor and mentor for students at Buffalo State, which I believe is a dream job for a socio-cultural anthropologist. In summers, I worked during the week as a field archaeologist while working as a dishwasher and cook at a Greek family restaurant on weekends. From there I became a museum professional at the buffalo and Erie County Historical Society (now called the Buffalo History Museum). My position, grant-funded, required my serving as the curator of the Native American collection. After the grants ended, I returned to higher education and to this day serve as a counselor for the Arthur O. Eve Opportunity Programs. Essentially, it is an extension of my tutoring and mentoring responsibilities from years back, the dream job I believe a perfect fit for an anthropologist. After completing additional training and earning certifications as an anger resolution therapist, a stress management coach, a crisis counselor, and a career coach, I help students and professionals around the world in finding careers and job opportunities best suited to their interests and strengths.
(Me excavating test units in 2011)
Why the history lesson? Many people aside from my parents told me anthropology was a poor career choice that would lead to few, if any, job opportunities. Many also suggested to me that the few job opportunities available would be less than satisfying career paths. Yet, my parents continued to encourage me to pursue my dreams while also investigating/taking stock of my strengths. I’m glad I followed my parents’ advisement. No, this is not my way of saying everyone should pursue anthropology. Quite the opposite, I believe everyone should pursue their own interests and dreams while keeping in mind their strengths. Pursue education that helps you achieve those dreams and move forward. Don’t let anyone else tell you what career path is best. Only you can determine that.