February 4, 2015 at 8:27 am

Spotlight on OSAS: New Anthropology Student Organization

Ellie Koewler ’15

In Fall 2014, anthropology students formed the Ohio Student Anthropology Society (OSAS). The organization seeks to provide members professional and career development skills to supplement their academic training.

“We wanted to prepare for grad school, find out more about resume building and job opportunities together,” says organization clerk and anthropology major Zachary Matthews, explaining the need for a professionally focused group.

OSAS students visit the Columbus Zoo. Photo courtesy of Jeff Tatarek.

OSAS students visit the Columbus Zoo. Photo courtesy of Jeff Tatarek.

Since its establishment just last semester, the organization has held several events and fundraisers, a favorite being a trip to the Columbus Zoo. OSAS members partnered with the Anthropology Learning Community and interested students from the Introduction to Biological Anthropology Course (ANTH 2010). Once at the zoo, OSAS members assisted their partners in interpreting primate mannerisms and traits. The visit also provided a unique opportunity to access special areas, tour the elephant house, pet rhinoceroses, and interact in animal enclosures.

“Even when we’re having a great time, everyone is approaching events professionally and asking insightful questions,” says OSAS adviser Dr. Nancy Tatarek, Associate Professor of Anthropology. “I’ve been so impressed with how much the group has done in just six months.”

Other events included an outing to a local haunted house to discuss the cultural significance and biological responses of fear, a trip to Lancaster, OH, to observe Native American culture and dance at a yearly powwow, and an open discussion with new faculty member Dr. Smoki Musaraj, Assistant Professor of Anthropology. These kind of open discussions with faculty facilitate collaboration opportunities in course development, research, and career connections.

Upcoming professional development events slated for this semester include a meeting with Kimberly Blue from the Career and Leadership Development Center to improve members’ professional resumes and to discuss the process of graduate school application and admittance. A peer mentorship program is planned to connect with new anthropology students. “It is our hope that this relationship will promote a greater sense of community here at Ohio University as well, as the professional and personal development of all those involved,” says OSAS President Natasha Cromwell.

Later in the spring, members look forward to a weekend trip touring Ohio earthen mounds and a Paleo-picnic where attendees will create and use lithic tools to prepare a meal with new anthropology faculty member Dr. Sabrina Curran, Visiting Assistant Professor.

In addition to events, OSAS holds a number of fundraisers. The money raised will fund a trip to the Central States Anthropological Society (CSAS) conference April 8-12 in St. Paul, MN. The organization hopes to raise enough money to cover all members’ conference admittance fees and travel expenses. Members attending will hear presentations of faculty and fellow students from across the Midwest. For the majority of OSAS members, this will be their first professional conference.

According to Cromwell, using fundraiser profits directly to offset cost is paramount, “so that financial burden would not prevent members from attending.” This semester, OSAS is planning Taco Tuesdays in Bentley Hall starting Feb. 10. Stop by for beverages and “walking tacos” complete with your choice of cheese, salsa, and veggies from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday. Remember, your donations contribute to offsetting CSAS conference fees.

OSAS meets Thursdays 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Bentley 021. All interested students are welcome to join them and engage in upcoming events.

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