In the Field
|As students with a department focusing on applied anthropology, we spend a great deal
of time working outside of the class room. Here you will find videos and stories
documenting our experiences. We hope you enjoy exploring our projects as much as
we enjoyed working on them!
Community Empowerment through Cemetery Preservation
My practicum focuses on empowering a historically marginalized community through the
preservation of the historic Mt. Carmel and Hollywood Cemeteries located in the South
Memphis neighborhood. I am using the Florida Public Archaeology Network's Cemetery
ResourcesProtection Training (CRPT) as a model for training community volunteers to
preserve, clean, maintain, and repair historic gravestones. To support these efforts,
I am assisting a grassroots community group in forming a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization.
| Kyle Simpson
I worked on a study sponsored by The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee, aimed at understanding public perceptions of forest health and common forest management techniques, e.g. herbicide treatments or prescribed burning, in
urban natural areas. The project is focused on two state natural areas in Memphis:
The Old Forest State Natural Area at Overton Park and the Lucius Burch Jr. State Natural
Area at Shelby Farms Park. Each of these forested areas faces a potential threat from
invasive plant species. Invasive plants are non-native plants that are able to outcompete
native plants and "choke out" the forest. According to many, the removal of these
plants is crucial to protecting the future health of the natural areas.
Though the project extends beyond my practicum, I have spent the summer months writing
a forest management best management practices report for The Nature Conservancy. The
report was based in part on telephone interviews with park managers and ecologists
at Forest Park in St. Louis, MO and Radnor Lake State Natural Area in Nashville, TN.
I have conducted participant observation at park events like nature hikes and invasive
species removal efforts. Finally, in an effort to understand people's ideas of nature,
forest health, and the removal of invasive species, I have spent time surveying in
each park and have interviewed some key stakeholders and am in the process of conducting
a series of focus groups with park user groups and advocacy groups.
This practicum experience is part of a larger project led by Dr. Keri Brondo. The
study will continue through May 2015.
I completed my practicum with Southern Growth Studio, a strategic business growth firm specialized in market strategy and innovation. I
worked as an Ethnographic Researcher on a project for a big children's research hospital.
With a multidisciplinary team we conducted research onto the fundraising through fitness
events to understand who the most important donors are, in order to give tangible
and innovative solutions to increase donations. The research was done along the lines
of the Design Thinking Method - a creative method that is often used in the world
of innovation and design. Besides gaining experience and knowledge and further developing
myself professionally, my practicum also allowed me to travel to New Orleans, Austin,
and Nashville to conduct research.
| Steven Payne
I worked for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on a campaign to unionize adjunct professors at private universities. I had previously
worked for SEIU in Minneapolis, but never with adjunct professors. My dad was an adjunct
while I was growing up, so I was already aware how difficult a job it was.
I was shocked to learn some statistics about higher education - more than 50% of faculty
are now part time, and wages are very low. Professors at one school I worked at earned
less than the unionized janitors on campus. In Reclaiming the Ivory Tower, Joe Berry writes that part time faculty only earn an average $12,100 from teaching
(7). Benefits are non-existent. At one school where we organized, adjuncts were the
only group of people on campus who were not allowed to use the campus gym - something
the university president changed once the union campaign began! Most adjuncts don't
have offices, instead working out of their cars, as they rush from one university
to another to teach.
I worked as a researcher on these organizing campaigns, helping provide the background
information and support necessary for a campaign. As a researcher, I was able to use
many of the skills I learned from a data analysis class last Spring.
I worked through a consultancy agency with a major research hospital in Memphis, TN to categorize those who donate to their
cause. This included conducting intercept interviews with both supporters and non-supporters,
documenting relevant data from each interview, and analyzing this data for common
characteristics within groups of interviewees. The end result was a clear list of
personas including the research hospital’s supporters and non-supporters for three
different charity fitness events. We also offered guidance on how to increase current donations and
possibly convert some members of the non-supporting personas into members of a supporting
persona. One tangible implementation included that of a combined fitness training
and donation program for at least one of the events researched.
| Lauren Haley
This summer I conducted my practicum at the VA Hospital. I am currently working on a telephone support group for spouses of deployed soldiers.
The support groups are designed to offer education, skills building, and stress management techniques
as well as offer resources and support. I have been involved in data collection for
a VA assessment to determine participants’ perceptions of the project. I've also been
conducting data analysis for a similar project that was conducted in 2012 called Spouse
READI. The project dealt with helping spouses with reintegration issues following
their service members’ return home from deployment. I've been conducting data analysis
on the qualitative data looking at the participants’ perceptions of social support.
Over the summer, Jenessa Gebers (Dual, '15), completed her practicum with Uganda Village Project. She lived and worked in rural Iganga District, Uganda, with an interdisciplinary
team which focused specifically on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). As a team
they worked in several villages, conducting needs assessments, learning from Water and
Sanitation Committee and Village Health Team members, facilitating meetings between
community members and the District Water Office, and teaching WASH in schools. Additionally,
Jenessa conducted research examining the barriers to water access where they were
working, the health problems that arise from limited access, and the effectiveness
of community-based solutions. She will present her practicum on December 1st at the
Anthropology Department's Practicum Forum and also hopes to present a paper of her
findings at the SfAA Annual Meetings in March of next year.
| Theo Davies
I have been working on my practicum with Green Leaf Learning Farm, a program of the local non-profit Knowledge Quest. Green Leaf is a 2/3 acre, USDA-certified organic farm in the heart of South Memphis
that educates students about urban agriculture and healthy eating. We developed a
survey that I administered to different residents and community members of the Soulsville
neighborhood in an attempt to gauge their current and future involvement in Green
Leaf programming and urban farming. The next step is to pool together ideas for new
programming via focus groups.
This summer I began my practicum with Memphis Teen Vision, a coalition working on teen pregnancy and teen parenting issues. I’m collaborating
with the coalition's three working groups on separate projects including a parenting
resource directory, research support for a comprehensive sex ed policy, and tools
to support teen friendliness in clinics. I also continued working at the Center for Research on Women, contributing to the production of two program evaluations.
| Taylor Arnold
This summer, in fulfillment of my practicum, I completed an internship at the National Farm Medicine Center (NFMC) in Marshfield, Wisconsin. My placement was part of the Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP), which places teams of interns in unions or worker organizations throughout
the US to work on occupational health projects in high-risk or under-served jobs.
My internship partner was Ivanna Pereyra (BA, Salisbury University). Our main task
was to work with the research team on the Seguridad en las Lecherías project, which is exploring a safety intervention for immigrant Latino workers in the dairy industry
of Wisconsin. The Seguridad project is designed and being implemented by NFMC, Migrant Clinicians Network (MCN), and the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH). We traveled to participating farms in Wisconsin and assisted in various
forms of data collection such as questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, and training
assessments. We also contributed to the Spanish curriculum design, safety trainings,
and overall operations at NFMC. The experience was a great way to put classroom knowledge to practice and will serve
as a springboard for my future research.