Tutor profile: Savannah H.
Subject: Professional Development
How do I even find a graduate program that's for me?
I get asked this a lot by undergraduates who know they want to pursue their chosen discipline further but their university has given them no advice on how to start. Each graduate path is going to vary towards the individual, and I would be more than happy to talk to you about it more in-depth on a 1 to 1 basis. However, for the purposes of this question, here are my 3 main tips for finding a graduate program that is right for you: 1. Figure out exactly what you are interested in and find other people who do the same thing. We all would love to study multiple disciplines or research questions. However, we only have so much time in the world so it just isn't feasible. Therefore it is best to pick one topic and use that as your guiding light into graduate programs. For example, I love all of the topics anthropology covers, but I chose ancient DNA of the Americas as my top topic to persue. So I went onto google scholar and found articles that did the type of work I want to do. I then looked at where the authors of those papers worked and used that as my list of top schools to apply to. 2. Ask the graduate students. Found some programs that center around the type of research you want to do? Now it's time to ask the people that are already there. You can talk to the professors(I do recommend this as it helps them know who you come application time, and helps in the search for an advisor), but don't neglect the graduate students. Current graduate students are experiencing the exact program you are applying to and will know better than anyone what it is like to be in your future position. They are also honest and will tell you the truth of some of the less appealing parts of the program that other members of the university might not acknowledge. 3. Affordability. Does acceptance into the program provide a full tuition waiver and a GTA salary? If not, seriously consider before you take on the level of dept that can come with a graduate degree. Not to mention the struggle of having to work to make ends meet and be in school full-time! If your heart is truly set though, there are scholarships and grants out there! **bonus tip** Would you be happy living there? I think there is often a mindset to put this last, that quality of the school comes first. But remember that you will be living in this area for multiple years and your happiness outside of school is as important as your happiness within it!
What even is DNA?
We've all heard of DNA and understand the basic idea behind what it does. However, even I will admit that when I get asked to explain DNA, I even feel overwhelmed. So here is the broad overview: Inside the nucleus of each of our cells, are 23 pairs of chromosomes. Those chromosomes are made up of long strands of molecules patterned together in the classic double helix formation. There are four types of molecules in these strands, Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine, and Guanine (A,T, C,G). The order of these molecules creates instructions to build certain types of proteins which in turn do all of the work to build and maintain a functioning organism. However, there is another place we can find DNA, and that is in the mitochondria. Ask me if you want to know about that entirely different collection of DNA and what it does! Or maybe, you want to know how DNA tests work and what their results really mean? Or what the difference is between DNA and genetics? Where does epigenetics fit into all of this? I am here to help!
What do anthropologists do?
There is really no one answer to what an anthropologist does. Anthropology, by design, is meant to be a discipline that encompasses all of human activity. Anthropologists study language, health, religion, evolution, social groups, forensics, and so much more. If it involves human beings, it is anthropology. Now as to what anthropologists actually do, careers in anthropology are as varied as the discipline itself. Some anthropologists teach their profession at universities and do research on the side, some become archaeologists and work for CRM companies, some work in marketing and outreach for companies(Microsoft is one of the largest hirers of anthropologists), others forensics, some genetics labs, others use their knowledge of human cultures to become caring and understanding doctors. The only limit is in how you chose to use your degree.
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