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Variety Helps Anthropology Major at Smithsonian

Published on July 24, 2014

• Internship gives rising senior glimpse of bright future

Susquehanna University's Katie PatschkeKatie Patschke, a rising senior with a double major in anthropology and international studies at Susquehanna University, is splitting time between the American Anthropological Association and the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington D.C. this summer. Both facets of this internship experience are taking full advantage of the research skills, exuberance for promoting anthropology and the foundation in studio art Patschke, from Shokan, N.Y., learned at Susquehanna.

Tell us about your internship:

“I work with the American Anthropological Association two days a week. So far, I’ve been researching different anthropologists and writing their bios for the association’s website. We’re also working on a project to start National Anthropology Day with members of Congress. We’re planning some events for the day in February and doing student outreach to try to organize different clubs around America.

“The other days I work with Christine Kreamer [deputy director/chief curator of the National Museum of African Art] and I’m doing research for her project called Creativity at Work. I’m looking at different African work topics like farming, masquerades, cooking and broader issues like gender.”

How has Susquehanna prepared you?

“I’ve been able to take a real variety of classes at Susquehanna. I’ve taken all the anthropology classes and completed a minor in studio art. The African history class I’ve taken has helped because I know a lot of what we’re talking about at the museum. I took research methods this past semester and that has been very helpful. I know what to research and where to look.”

What do you like most about this internship?

“It’s exciting and it’s shown me the number of career paths open to me after studying anthropology. I think anthropology isn’t widely known about as some other disciplines, but we look at whole cultures. In my research I look at why people have the jobs they do, what artwork connects their jobs to their everyday lives and how they make these objects. Another very exciting thing is Bill Cosby’s wife is getting ready to put on an exhibit for the museum, so we’re looking forward to setting that up and working with them. That exhibit opens in November.”

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