Anthropology Day 2020

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) says, “Anthropology Day is a day for anthropologists to celebrate our discipline while sharing it with the world around us.” An event is hosted every year on the 3rd Thursday in February, so students across the world can participate in activities that bring awareness and promote learning in the field of Anthropology. This was my first major Anthropology event. Organizing and participating in this event gave me the inspiration to start this blog.

AAA’s website allows schools, organizations and students to register a local event that will be hosted for Anthropology Day and in return they send swag promoting the AAA and Anthropology during the registered event. For 2020, I collaborated with a local school to register and host an Anthropology Day event for their middle school science students. This was an awesome experience! But before we get to awesome part, let’s talk about the most challenging series of events in my life.

Hosting an event was a breeze because I have hosted hundreds of meetings successfully throughout my insurance career. But anthropology? Who was I, but a mere anthro student to think I was good enough to host an anthropology event to teach others in the community? It was me! I was the most challenging part of this event; feeling like I did not have enough knowledge, expertise in any one field, or support to make something like this happen. This is when the light bulb went off and I decided to tap my friends that joined me on the Manzanar trip last semester (more to come on this trip). They too are anthro students and enthusiasts who had participated in prior anthropology events and had a clear vision for what field of anthropology they were majoring in. Best decision ever!

Agenda for Anthropology Event

  • ~5 minute introductions of the hosts (Vanessa, Abby & Tanessa) and what is anthropology and why we care?
  • ~5 minute TED Talks video (refer to Resources) “What Can You Learn From An Ancient Skeleton?”, a quick summary of all of the fields of anthropology, how they complement each other and how to apply in the real world.
  • ~35 minutes of participating at one of three (3) available stations:
    • Biological Anthropology station led by Abby, discussion was led about human and primate skulls with skull casts being available thanks to local community college Monterey Peninsula College
    • Cultural Anthropology & Linguistics station led by Tanessa, art activities regarding Egyptian culture and hieroglyphics
    • Archaeology station led by Vanessa (that’s me!), dig stations filled with artifacts to help simulate the experience of a real archaeological dig site
  • Worksheets were available to supplement the discussions happening at each station
  • AAA swag was available for students

The middle grade science teacher had lessons planned surrounding anthropology in the weeks leading up to the event so the students were very receptive. Each station was a success with the middle grade students who were excited rotating stations and learning about anthropology. We even got to share some of our personal experiences participating in field work, which validated that much more to the students that we were meant to be there. Afterward, the school was so impressed with our event that they expanded the audience to have the 2nd, 3rd and 5th graders join us as well.

My friends and I really enjoyed doing this together, meeting and coming up with ideas to make this a success. We are certainly on track for a 2021.

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