As an anthropology major you will have many opportunities for hands-on experiences—travel-based courses, fieldwork, service learning, clubs and honor societies.
Travel Courses and Study Abroad
As an anthropology major, you might participate in spring term travel courses like “Inca Archaeology and Cultural Ecology” in Peru, ‘Amazonian Ethnobotany’ in Ecuador or “Contemporary Native American Communities of Michigan.” These courses last for 4 weeks and give you an opportunity to travel with a faculty member while you learn about an aspect of anthropology. Students who’ve taken the Peru course lived with families in Cusco, on Islands in Lake Titicaca, and in a remote village above the “Sacred Valley.” In the village of Ampay they worked side by side with the locals in harvesting and processing native plants into medicines.
Many of our majors and minors also study abroad, including semester-long stays in France, Korea, Spain, Germany, Peru and Ecuador.
Closer to home, you can learn about the history of Alma through an analysis of material culture. Recently, independent study students created a museum at a local nature area. In Spring Term 2014 and 2015, Dr. Bonhage-Freund and Professor Conell offered a spring term course in Michigan Archaeological Fieldwork. Students excavated the site of “Old Main,” - Alma’s first classroom structure - to document, preserve and interpret the artifacts and features they uncovered, and brought Alma College history to life.
Our program emphasizes service learning. In recent semesters, we’ve visited a local nursing home to create “Food Memory Biographies” of and for the residents. A first year seminar planned and staged an Ecuadorian banquet fundraiser for an after-school program in Ecuador, after studying that culture’s cuisine. Archaeological fieldwork courses teach schoolchildren about archaeology.
Alma College has an anthropology laboratory with archaeological and ethnographic collections. Students with interests in museum curation experience or lab analysis are welcome to participate in research projects in our lab.
Clubs & Honor Societies
Outside of class, our student-run anthropology club offers field trips to archaeology day festivities, panel discussions on depictions of ethnic groups in Disney films, social activities and more.
We also have an honor society for outstanding anthropology students. If you qualify, you may be granted membership in the Delta of Michigan chapter of Lambda Alpha, the national anthropology honor society.
Fieldwork Opportunities for Current Students
Fieldwork is an important part of studying anthropology, and there are lots of ways to get experience in the field while you are an Alma College student. In addition to our own courses and research programs here on campus, you can apply for Research Opportunities, Internships or Field Schools sponsored at other locations which you can transfer back to Alma College or simply add to your resume as volunteer or paid work. Venture funding is an excellent way to cover some of the expenses of these field experiences. Check out the following links for some of the many opportunities you can look for, and talk to faculty for more information: