After much consideration for what I am going to do my applied project and research project on, I have come to a consensus. I have decided to combine the marketing, anthropology sociology and Spanish into my project and into my research article. Here is the outline and my vision for both my project and my research.

For my applied project, I have decided to take over the Plymouth State University Global Engagement Office’s Instagram. With this project I will be able to do marketing for study abroad which is exactly what I am interested in. I will be able to use the knowledge from my Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology and Spanish classes and combine it with the marketing components of an Instagram takeover.

With this, I will be reaching out to students who are currently studying abroad and students who have already come back from studying abroad. I will be asking them to provide pictures, and a statement about their experience, whether it be able what they would tell other students, or what their favorite part is. I hope to collect information that will be simple enough to be appealing to Plymouth State students, but also having enough depth to be able to understand how powerful the experience can be.

In order to stay on track for this project I have decided to make a timeline for the process.

  • March 19th: This week I will get the login information for me to take over the Instagram account. I will also plan out the emails that I will be sending to students, as well as make a list of the students that I will be reaching out to.
  • April 2nd: this week I will make my first post, and if I get enough responses I will post twice per week to try and promote studying abroad as much as possible.
  • April 23rd: This week I will continue to post on the instagram account, as well as advise students as they start to considering study abroad as an option for them.
  • May 7th: I have a goal of posting twenty times of twenty different study away experiences.

I am excited to reach out and learned about many different study away experiences that students have had, and to use different social media strategies. I look forward to seeing what I can learn from my different passions.

As for my research article, I have decided to look into “Why do Americans view food differently than people from other countries?”  While I was studying in Costa Rica, it really intrigued me how eating was different than it was back home in the US. So I am curious to find cultural differences between the two countries.

In order to stay on track for this project I have created a timeline for myself to follow:

  • March 19th: This week I will find all of my sources from online as well as books from the library documentaries, interviews, ect.
  • March 26th: At this time I will start writing the first draft of my essay
  • April 20th: By this time I will have my entire first draft completed
  • April 23rd: I will go to the Writing Center and have them review what I have completed.
  • April 27th: I will add in final details, such as pictures, videos and make final touches.
  • May 4th: Visit the Writing Center one last time.
  • May 12th: Deadline. Have everything completed.

With both my research article and applied project planned out, I now have a clear plan of what I am going to do and how I will follow through with that plan to be successful. It is exciting seeing the different components of my interdisciplinary education, as well as all of my passions, come together into one capstone. I look forward to seeing what the final product turns out to be.


To wrap up my college education, in which I have designed to be my own, I am doing an applied project, as well as a research project. In order to decide what each of these tasks are going to be, I first need to brainstorm ideas. At the very beginning of this process I had no idea where to begin. This is why I am brainstorming in this article.

With my major being Cross-Cultural Marketing Studies, it was challenging for me to decide what direction I wanted to go in. As I asked people for suggestions they were quick to suggest a project that was largely marketing based ideas. However, the direction that I hope to go in is more of a culturally focused direction, while using some of the marketing techniques that I have learned in my classes, instead of being vice versa. Regardless, here are some ideas that I have come up with:

  • In April, there will be an event being put on called Global Village. This event is going to be a cultural event that is intended to help educate the plymouth community on other cultures around the world that could be very different from how people here in Plymouth live. Getting involved in this could be a good way for me to use all of the different skills and knowledge that I have learned in my previous course work.
  • Another idea that I have thought of is making a brochure for students that are about to study abroad. Since I have studied abroad 4 times, I certainly have insight from both my major and my experiences abroad.
  • Something else that I am considering doing is taking over the Instagram account in the Global Engagement Office and posting about students experiences studying abroad to market to other students.
  • I could also become some kind of a mentor for students in any point of their study abroad application process. I could help them decide if studying abroad is right for them, what location is best for them, what to pack, some tips and tricks, ect.
  • Lately, I could start a blog about my experiences abroad, tips and tricks for students, the benefits of studying abroad, ect.


My research project has been just as challenging, if not more, to come up with a topic that I want to research. A few ideas that I gave come up with so far have been:

  • Why is there such a difference in how Americans view food compared to how Costa Ricans view food?
  • Why are so many American college students, specifically, so nervous about leaving the country?
  • Is studying abroad beneficial to students in their academics, professional development, and/or personal lives?
  • Why is the majority of study abroad students female?
  • What have tobacco companies done to be successful in continuing to get people to use tobacco products, around the world, even though the health risks are well known?

Truly, my options for research and a project are endless. But here is a short list of a few things that I have thought about as options for me to put the different components of my major together. I am excited to see what the final product will look like in the end.


Monday, February 9th, 2012 sometime between 10 and 11 am is when I learned how not to use a car steering wheel. It was exactly one week after my fifteenth birthday, and it was just minutes after my third and final attempt at passing my learners permit test. The previous two attempts were failed attempts due to missing only one too many questions.

My father had decided that it would be best for him to drive his truck home from the DMV, since I had no prior driving experience at all. This was disappointing of course, but I couldn’t stay mad because after all I had my permit, so I would be driving soon enough. So my  dad made the ten minute drive from the DMV to the Stewart’s gas station in my town to fill up his gas tank.

After he finished pumping the gas he opened the door and asked, “Hey Lynds, wanna drive home?” Oh boy did I ever want to make that 72 second drive from Main Street down to Clarendon Ave. So I hopped out of the passenger side and ran to the drivers side door.

The day I bought my first car when I turned 16.

Dad had coached me through it all. I did exactly what he said. I made sure I could see out of all the mirrors, I turned the key and heard his green Toyota Tacoma start. This was the most exciting moment of my life.

I put my foot on the break and put it in drive. I slowly lifted my foot off the break, and we were moving. I braked at the edge of the parking lot to look for oncoming cars before pulling into traffic. I was so happy that I forgot about the other two times I had failed my permit test.

Everything was going great. I put my blinker on to take the left turn onto Clarendon Avenue, and headed for home. As my mailbox came into sight I put my right blinker on and turned right.

I turned right just like they do in movies. My hands went from “ten and two” to “one and five,” and without touching my foot to the break. The hill that my house sits on came rushing toward the truck, and since I did not cut the corner sharp enough, I realized that I had made a great mistake.

Not being familiar enough with the vehicle to realize which pedal was gas and which was the break, I pressed the pedal on the right hoping to stop the truck. Quickly I discovered my second mistake, so I decided to quickly try the pedal on the left. Both me and my dad jerked toward the front of the truck as the vehicle suddenly came to a stop on the sidewalk just feet from our mailbox.

I lived, my dad lived and the truck saw no damage. Although the embarrassment still stings every few months every time my dad brings it up to pick on me. I have not been allowed to drive my dad’s truck since February 9th of 2012.

As an interdisciplinarian, I am constantly connecting dots that have not traditionally been connected, like how anthropology and marketing relates to one another in my major. To do this I need to step back and look at the bigger picture and critically think before I act on it. In the exact moment that I almost crashed my dad’s truck, exactly seven days after my fifteenth birthday, it would have been very helpful for me to have done this prior to my almost crashing my dad’s car.

For some reason I thought that if I passed this meager test that I would be able to at least handle a car on the road. If I had thought about it more in depth instead of with just wishful thinking, the situation would have ended differently. This experience solidified the importance of thinking more holistically, and connecting information that may not appear entirely relevant to each other in different situations, and being proactive whenever possible

Interdisciplinarity to Me

Interdisciplinarity. How should I know what that is supposed to mean? No one ever talks about it. Before this semester, all I knew was that ‘Interdisciplinary Studies’ meant that I can create my own major. ‘Inter,’ ‘disciplinary,’ it seemed pretty simple if you just broke the word a part, the mixing of disciplines. Well it turns out to be much more than that.

This semester we discussed the many aspects of Interdisciplinarity. Come to find out it is more than ‘just’ creating your own major. It is not unique to only me and my classmates who share this major, but many professional goals are also interdisciplinary. A college admissions counselor, for example, must have some sort of understanding of many different disciplines in order to recruit students for their schools, such as marketing, statistics, writing, psychology, and counseling. Each component is important when trying to bring students into a school and understanding what they want and need. That is what interdisciplinarity is.

I found this course to be unique from every other class that I have ever taken. We don’t use Moodle?! What planet are we on? In this course, for the first time in my academic career, I own my domain instead of my domain owning me. I have created my own website where I post all of the assignments that I have put so much time into. So now I can not only keep the work that I have done, but share it with anyone that has internet. I am used to a system where I do my assignment, hand it in via Moodle, receive a grade, and never see the assignment again.

I would also like to speak to the fact that I have so much power over my education now that I created my own major. I have been able to not only hand select the courses that interest me the most, but I am also able to have my degree be tailored to the career that I am working to have upon graduation. I was able to do this by understanding the bigger picture of how knowledge from different disciplines works together to solve problems. By stepping back and seeing how interdisciplinarity works in the career that I dream of, I was able to also create a college education that is as interdisciplinary as the career that I will one day have.

One of my favorite concepts that we have done over the semester was learning about personal learning networks. A personal learning network is a way to create a circle of professionals that are sharing their knowledge and expertise via the internet somehow. I loved the fact that we were able to tie our Twitter accounts to our education. Many people who are on the internet today have their own PLN for their social life, so it only makes sense for students to create one for their professional life since it is so easy to do so.

Although The concept of interdisciplinarity is a somewhat new concept in higher education, it is not an overall new concept. For centuries, colleges have been teaching courses based on disciplines because that is what made sense for the time period. But with globalisation and the internet, it not longer makes sense to only educate students with a singular discipline. So although it may be obvious to many that a better education system is an interdisciplinary one, colleges are resisting. This threatens the way that they have always done things, and such a drastic change would involve lots of restructuring within the institution. So although it may take some time for institutions to change their education system, the world we live in is becoming more and more interdisciplinary.

With my interdisciplinary degree, being Cross-Cultural Marketing Studies, I hope that people will be able to see the value in combining anthropology and marketing into one degree. Some people are searching for a traditional degree, being from one single discipline. I am hopeful that there will be employers who will be able to see that I was able to think outside the box, to create a major in which I found to be even more valuable than a degree which focuses on one area of study.

This is a picture of me when I first arrived at the University of New Orleans for the National Exchange.

I also hope that I will be able to help students to travel the world, and to have the opportunity to learn as much as I have while being outside of their comfort zone. International education is a valuable thing, that few people recognize. So I hope to put my passion to work and help others to have similar experiences that will also change their lives.

For the overall world of interdisciplinarity, I hope that in the near future, it will become a more widely accepted way to get an interdisciplinary education. Although it is not, and should not, be the only way to get a college education, it certainly should be a more common way to do so. I believe that Plymouth is on the right track to doing this with the up and coming clusters. The school is trying to have students from different majors work together on projects to become more interdisciplinary. To me, this makes the most sense since many of the jobs that students will have upon graduation will be interdisciplinary.


Here is a link to a video that CIEE made for the high school study abroad programs, like the one I did in the Dominican Republic! Don’t blink, otherwise you will miss the clip of me laughing in the beginning!(19 seconds in)

Language Acquisition & Death and Dying

After spending a semester gaining so much valuable knowledge, I have been forced to reflect upon all of the lessons that I carry with me everyday and select only two. I have chosen to discuss something that I learned in my Language Acquisition class, and my Death and Dying class. Both of the courses are a part of my general education requirements.

Starting off the year in Language Acquisition, we learned about “the critical period,” which is a key period in human development when humans are learning to speak. This is a time when young children need to be exposed to language and communication. This is such an important time for children, because if they are not exposed to language at this time, they may have fallen behind compared to their peers, and it could potentially affect them for the rest of their lives.

In my Death and Dying class, we started the semester off by reading “On Death and Dying.” In this book, the author interviewed many different terminally ill patients regarding their death. I found this to be especially fascinating because death is something that we call need to face at some point, and yet it is hardly talked about.

These two topics each struck me for different reasons. I found “the critical period” to be extremely interesting for two reasons. One being that I did not realize how much of a difference that parents can have on their children’s lives simply by communicating with them. And the second being that this concept does not apply to the rest of my life.

This was me my senior year of high school, the day I put my deposit down to come to Plymouth State!

Although there is a certain time frame that humans must follow in order to understand language, this is not true for lifelong learning. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is nonsense. Humans are one of the most intelligent species, which means that learning is lifelong and does not, and should not, stop once we hit a certain age.

“On Death and Dying” talked about death in ways that are not normally talked about in everyday life because they are taboo. Once main concept, or theme that carried throughout the book was the stages of death. Denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. As a person is dying, they go in and out on these stages in no particular order, it depends on how they are viewing their own death.

Every human being will have to face death at the end of their life, and throughout their life. It is hardly talked about, so it can be challenging to prepare for and to face. It does not need to be a sad moment though, it is just a part of the life cycle, and if people talked about it more, it might not be as scary especially if it brought people together in a positive way.

This lesson is something that I do think applies to my everyday life. I learned that death is always there, there is no escaping it. But that does not need to be a scary or lonely thing, it is now just be a reminder to live each day with meaning.

Both of these lessons, although are very different, and come from very different disciplines, are relevant to one another in some ways. We have a limited number of days here on Earth, so it is important to take advantage of this time and learn as much as we can.
Kübler-Ross, E. (1969). On death and dying ; What the dying have to teach doctors, nurses, clergy and their own families. New York: The Macmillan Company.

Interdisciplinarity in Global Mental Health

This little girl fell asleep in my arms at summer camp while in the Dominican Republiuc

Conversations Between Anthropology and Psychiatry: Drawing out the Best from Interdisciplinarity in Global Mental Health was an interesting article in which I found that discusses interdisciplinarity in action. Considering that the program that I have created for myself is partially made up of anthropological courses, I found this sort article to be applicable to be personally.

This article specifically discusses the importance of interdisciplinarity which discussing global health issues. Largely, this article is explaining how important it is for all people involved to keep an open mind about the way that things should be taken care of. As global health issues will be viewed from many different vantage points, possibly being biologically, culturally, politically, economically, and geographically. It is important that all perspectives consider all other perspectives valid, as each have slightly different trainings and different perspectives, they all have great perspectives. Viewing an issue from one perspective is limiting, and likely will leave out some critical points when it comes to solving the many problems in which the world faces today regarding health.

When attempting to solve the many health issues that we are facing around the world, anthropology is a perspective that may be unexpected, but is a valuable one. The anthropological perspective is one in which gets to know and understand the lives of the people who are being directly affected with these many issues. Instead of having a strictly biological perspective, for example, it will likely fill in many gaps. By having someone go into these smaller communities we can truly get to know what the lives of these locals are like. Once this information has been unveiled, it could become more clear as to not only what the best solution could be, but also what the causes of some of these problems are.

Overall this article allowed me to understand how an interdisciplinary, anthropological perspective can be applied to real life. Outside of the anthropological courses that I have taken for my major, I have limited exposure to what anthropologists do for work, it is was very engaging and applicable for me to be able to have a clear example of why the world needs interdisciplinary anthropologist like myself.


Buckton, Amanda R. “Conversations between anthropology and psychiatry: drawing out the best from interdisciplinarity in global mental health.” Australasian Psychiatry 23(6) (2015): n. pag. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.


Getting picked up at the airport after the month in the Dominican Republic

Flights. Something that most of us love to hate. Making life much more convenient, but can also be painful and scary. Flights are a prime example of what interdisciplinarity is. You don’t just appear in the sky, there are tons of details that go into flying that many people don’t even realize.

First of all, when you are on a plane, you are 40,000 FEET IN THE AIR. How is this possible? Science! Physics to be exact. It took humans a long time to figure this out, but there is tons of science and math that needs to be done in order to have people soaring through the sky.

And of course engeneering. Planes are not random parts put together, there are tons of planning that goes into them. And every single piece that is put on a plane, is put there for a reason. They are designed for safety, efficiency, and to some extent comfort. A plane is designed to try and allow people to land safely in the event of a crash, whether is be land or water. Efficiency of speed, money, comfort and design is important as well. And one of the least important factors is comfort. As anyone who has been on a flight can agree, flights have somewhat comfortable seats, but since they cannot recline very much, and since there is not much personal space, it is hard to be comfortable on a flight that is 5 or more hours long. But hey, as long as we get there in one piece.

Business. Flying people around the world is a huge business, and there is a large market. There is tons of advertising, price competition, sales, customer service, the list goes on and on. There are many employees behind the scenes that deal with the planning and logistics that customers don’t realize.

Another necessary discipline that airlines have is communications. An airport would be a disaster if there was not an efficient way for all different departments to be able to communicate with each other, as well as with the customers. Anyone that has ever been to an airport knows at first glance, it can be overwhelming. But once you are able to understand how everything comes together, is it not difficult at all to find the information that you are looking for.

Overall, it takes many different disciplines in order to successfully fly a group of people around the world. As customers, do not put much thought into how, or why everything works, we are only concerned with getting to our final destinations. Hopefully this does not make your next trip to the airport even more overwhelming than it ordinarily would be.

What the Heck is Anthropology?

Anthropology. What the heck is that? It is not a subject that is often taught to students in high school, so unless people have searched on their own, or were forced to take a course in college, they don’t know what it is. It is unfortunate, but considering the circumstances, it is understandable.

If you Google ‘what is anthropology?’ “the study of human societies and cultures and their development” is what pops up. Which is a short answer for such a diverse field. Anthropology is broken down into four main branches being cultural, biologically, linguistic and archaeology. Each sub field is asking their own sets of questions in order to explain what culture is for different societies throughout time. Anthropology uses observation and interviews to understand the culture of different groups of people. Using observation, participant observation, and ethnography human culture throughout time is being studied.

Here is an interesting YouTube video that has a more visual explanation:

A cultural anthropologist, which is what I am most interested in, does their research in a different way than other types of researchers may do theirs. An anthropologist does their research through interviews and ethnography, which is because they really want to get their information first hand from the people in the society that they are studying. Interviews are given to many different people to see how strong a certain aspect of culture is for a certain society. An example of this is asking how certain holidays are celebrated. If an anthropologist were to do some work in the United States and were to ask what happens on Halloween, most people would likely have a similar response. “People might decorate their front lawns or offices with scary themed decoration on the days and weeks before. Then on the day of, people dress up in any kind of costume imaginable. Children walk around town knocking on doors asking for candy, and adults throw costume parties.” Although some people may give slightly different answers, a majority of people would say something similar to what was written above.

Dom Mazzetti and Ronda Rousey on Bourbon Street on Halloween.

If an Anthropologist were to ask an American what happens on the 4th of July, they might get less consistent answers. Some people might say that they have a cookout with their family and friends, or go camping, go on a vacation, see fireworks, spend the day by a lake or pool.

Additionally, ethnography is when anthropologists participate in the the cultural events firsthand so that they can get a very in depth understanding of what is happening. Ethnography is when anthropologists participate in the culture that they are studying and log their experiences in a detailed journal.

Here at Plymouth State, our anthropology department has a variety of courses. Some of the professors background is largely in archaeology, so there are many archaeology courses offered. The courses teach the history, as well as the processes and strategies that archaeologists use on their digs.

I have chosen to study this field because it is fascinating. People are fascinating. This subject has allowed me to have a much clearer understanding of the world we live in.

If you are interested in learning some more specifics in the field of anthropology, then you can read below about a few sources and specific examples of the field.

Journals: This is a journal that is published by the American Anthropologist Association.

Scholars: Kim Fortun is an example of a current anthropologist,

Historical Figures: These are some of the most well know anthropologists throughout history.

Organizations: This is one of the more well know and reputable organizations for anthropology.

Majors: Anthropology, cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology.

Transdisciplinary organizations: The archaeological digs that Plymouth State students do at Canterbury Shaker Village are considered transdisciplinary because it is a subject area that is worked on outside of the classroom.


Cross-Cultural Marketing Studies

As I began thinking about what to write about for my college essay, the first thing I thought of was how big of an impact that my trip to the Dominican Republic just had on my life. At that time I had just returned from a month long trip to the DR, where I lived with a host family, taught English at a children’s summer camp, took leadership and Spanish classes, and spent a week site seeing. It was a life changing experience for a small town Vermont girl who had never been past New York State.  Those four short weeks taught more about life than I could have ever imagined. Even to this day, it is a rarity for me to not be somehow reminded of all of the lessons that it taught me.

Following my acceptance to Plymouth State, I needed to pick a major. Being unfamiliar with essentially every part of college, I selected a major simply based on where most of my interest laid. With my passion for understanding why humans are the way that they are, I knew that it was between Psychology and Sociology. Although psychology is a fascinating subject to me, I chose Sociology. I knew that the major had both sociology and anthropology components to it, which helps me understand why people do the things that they do, now and in the past. It also helps me to understand people here in the United States, as well as abroad. The first semester of my freshman year I felt that I had selected the right major. But as the year progressed and I started thinking of career plans, I began to reconsider if sociology truly was the best decision for me.

After reaching out to different professors throughout the year I had realized that what I was missing from my major was some of the skill sets that come along with some business classes. Later, I discovered all of the ins and out of the interdisciplinary major. I truly found the perfect major for myself.

Majoring in interdisciplinary studies will allow me to obtain all of the courses that I will need to satisfy all of my passions, as well as the necessary skill sets to have a successful career. I have designed my major to have a general theme of marketing, and anthropology, as well as courses in sociology, Spanish and Psychology. I am calling it Cross-Cultural Marketing Studies. Plymouth State does not offer a major that would allow me to take such a combination of marketing and humanities courses that are necessary to purse the type of career that I hope for.

With this degree, I intend on potentially working for a study abroad agency to help other students travel abroad so they can have experiences similar to the one that I had. I also would be able to work in a global education office at a college to help students get a valuable time abroad as well as earning credit with their classes. Another option that this major would allow for me to do purse is a variety of different administrative positions within a university. I genuinely enjoy assisting college students with gaining the valuable skills that college education provides. Overall, this major would certainly give me a world of opportunity.

In order to major in something that is as global as this one, I felt that it would be an important piece to include a foreign language. Having taken three years of Spanish in high school, the number of Spanish speaking countries in the world, and the number of Spanish speakers in the United States, it seemed more than relevant to continue with my Spanish language education. During my semester at The University of New Orleans, being in a place that is so richly made up of a diverse culture, taking 1020 Basic Spanish II only made sense to me. Upon completing that course, I wanted to put my Spanish language knowledge to the test. Following that semester I spent winterim in Salamanca Spain taking a 2 week long Spanish course, 2020 Intensive Intermediate. During my time there I also lived with a host family where I was able to improve my language skills. Both of these courses will give me the foundation of Spanish that I will need to be successful when working with Spanish speakers here in the United States, as well if I need to communicate with people from any Spanish speaking country.

I chose AN 2210 Cultural Anthropology to help me to have an overview of all cultures. To give myself a broader perspective of cultures that are vastly different from mine, I added AN3999 New Orleans Public Culture to. AN3400 Anthropology of Sub-Saharan Africa was also added to help me to have a more global sense of culture. Lastly, An 3999 Race and Nation in the Spanish Caribbean is another course that I chose to help me to better apply the Spanish courses that I have taken. I believe that these courses helped me to get insight on different customs and traditions that are used across the world.

To compliment the anthropology in my major, I have chosen two sociology courses. SO2220 Foundations of Sociology is another course in the humanities that I thought would be helpful in my major. It will help me to get a broad overview of how and why different types of people are who they are. To add to that, I also took SO3030 Social Psychology build upon my basic understanding of sociology and to give me some insight to the psychology of people as well.

A communications course that I think would be helpful is CM 3090 Technical Communication because in a field having so much to do with travel, it is imperative to be able to have clear writing skills. In which ever business setting that I end up being in, it will certainly be helpful being able to be able to help my company work through both the cultural challenges as well as any logistical concerns. In addition, this is also a TECO and WRCO class, which will satisfy the technology and writing component in my major.

To add to my Technical Communication course for TECO and WRCO, I have also chosen MA 1900 Statistical Literacy In Today’s Society to complete my QRCO. I believe that this course will be useful for me because having some statistics skills are helpful for evaluating reports in the media as well as other sociocultural concerns. Whether I am the one going on a big trip, or I am working with others who are preparing for travel, it will be important to understand all of the numbers that are being reported in all current events. This course will give me just enough basic statistical knowledge to be successful.

The final piece to my major is the marketing component. To help me start off, I thought it would be best to understand the groundwork of marketing strategies in BU 2450 Principles of Marketing. This will certainly help me get a leg up since it is likely that I will need to market the programs that I will be trying to convince people to take advantage of. To build off of that, I have also selected BU3340 Consumer Behavior to help me to better understand my target audience. On top of that, I have also added BU 3370 Branding and Marketing Communication to help me better understand how to make my company stand out from the rest. That is important to me because no matter what company I am working for, it is always important to understand how to set company a part from the rest.  Another course that is relevant to me is BU3480 Social Media Strategies, because this course will give me the tools that I will need in a field that is growing more dependent upon social media. With that being said, it is important that I am able to utilize this tool to better communicate with my better customers. Once I properly market whatever program that I am advising people to take advantage of, I will need to be sure that I have the skills to properly sell it to the person to ensure that they follow through with it. The last business course that I have chosen is BU3350 Event Marketing, which is where I will learn how to effectively market events to people. Having the ability to effectively market an event is more than relevant in the field of work that I am going into.

I feel that BU3460 Small Business/Entrepreneurship Marketing and Operations, and EC4444 Introduction to International Economics in Latin America are courses that are more pertinent to my overall program of study. International Economics in Latin America will help me to better understand the connection between the business world and the behaviors that people may have on a more global scale. Small Business/Entrepreneurship Marketing and Operations will help me to better understand the bigger picture of how a company markets to people. I want to add a 3 credit business internship to my major because having hands on experience in my field of study is advantageous when it comes to applying for job in my field. It also helps me to clearly see the connections between my academics and the field of work that I hope to go into.

In addition to the courses that I have listed above, I will also be taking IS 2222 Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies to help me to better understand all aspects of interdisciplinary studies. Also, I as the end of my time here at Plymouth, I will also be taking IS 4444 Interdisciplinary Studies to complete my major by learning interdisciplinary research methods, applying my knowledge to real world situations and learning how to better market the major that I have created for myself.  Furthermore, with my remaining elective courses that I have, I intend to travel abroad to help me to have more insight into other cultures so I will be able to better assist people is the traveling abroad.

To conclude, the major that I have created will give me all of the knowledge and skills that will be essential for helping people to go abroad in all types of ways. As well as allowing me to choose classes that I find interesting, so I will thoroughly enjoy what I will be studying while being an undergrad. Since I have found a good combination of courses, from all different disciplines, and they have fallen under one topic being International Marketing Studies, the major seems to fit in perfectly with interdisciplinary studies. Overall, these courses will help me to integrate global understanding, travel and marketing that will allow me to contribute to the world of cross-cultural exchange.

After class in the Dominican Republic

Interview with Laura Tilghman

I have come to realize that Plymouth State does not have “the perfect major” for me. Although it is a fantastic school, over the past year and a half of exploration I have come to find that I need complete my college degree in something a little more unique. Interdisciplinary Studies seems to be the solution to my dilemma. I am creating a major of my own.

Upon entering the world of Interdisciplinary Studies this semester, I have realized that in order to fully understand this new educational sphere, I should understand different people’s thoughts on it. Many people are unfamiliar with the concept, so I need to be aware of how the rest of the world may be perceiving my degree. I decided to start with an interview with one of my current academic advisors, Laura Tilghman.

I started the interview off by having her tell me about the courses that she teaches at Plymouth, which are a combination of introductory anthropology courses as well as upper level cultural anthropology courses. However, this was not her area of study while she was getting her undergraduate degree at University of Vermont. While she was there, she received two degrees, one being a BA in Environmental Studies, and the other being a BS in Environmental Science. These two degrees sparked her interest for graduate school, where she started looking to study environmental anthropology. She however, ended up doing her doctoral research on migration. So realizing it or not, she had somewhat of an interdisciplinary studies degree herself.

Once I learned what her educational background was, I was curious as to what her current research entailed. She explained that she is still interested in migration but on a more local level, focused largely in New Hampshire. Additionally, she does small projects on public health. She also did some work for the Veterans Administration. She was using anthropological tools, qualitative research, to evaluate some of their programs around ending veteran homelessness.

Once I figured out her education and research, I was then curious to how she works with a variety of people, from scholars outside of anthropology as well as non-academics. We both agreed that many people do not fully understand what anthropology is, she understands that, and explains it in a way that is understood by many people, which she does by using straightforward terms. She also has to explain her perspective, and why she may have a different tactic than others.

Additionally, anthropology is a set of tools that are helpful to understand the world, that also help to not make judgement of different ways of doing things, and to understand others who are both similar and different from us. So overall, she is constantly aware that although people are not always familiar with what anthropology is, it is a useful set of tools that are relevant to many things.

I proceeded to ask her if she ever has to collaborate with other people. Being a cultural anthropologist, she mainly conducts research alone. This is partially because people get the most credit when they are the sole author for a publication, or if they are the sole person on a grant. Although, she does not often collaborate with others, the exception that she has in her work is when she works with a research assistant to translate language or assist her in other ways. Often she works with just one person, but for large research projects she has worked with up to 20 people to administer surveys to a large number of people in a short amount of time.

Then, I asked her what some of her thoughts are on Plymouth’s new project for incorporating majors in an innovative way. Her response was that it is a great idea, however putting it into action is what will likely be challenging. We both agreed that in the end it will likely be a great system for everyone.

It appears from our current knowledge about Plymouth’s upcoming transformation, the school is hoping to integrate as many aspects of student’s education as possible. How that will all be implicated is yet to be determined. One option for the school to do, is to try and take our current system and make that more integrated. So one direction that the school could go toward, is trying to turn the required general education courses for all students in all majors, into an even more interdisciplinary system.

During our discussion, we agreed that often times we will hear students complaining about general education courses. All the while I am building my college major based on the same principles as a general education system. We agrees that it is important for students to understand the purpose of these courses being to make someone a well-rounded person, so that they can have knowledge outside of their specific field. This seems like the whole point of the integrated system that Plymouth is hoping to become, but currently students are not understanding the relevance of the small variety of courses that they are required to take outside of their field now.

Continuing with our interdisciplinary topic, I was curious if she does any interdisciplinary work herself. Her quick answer was no, but she hesitated then said in she does a small amount of interdisciplinary work. As she is interested in migration, there are other social science department faculty members who are also interested in migration, but look at it from another perspective, such as from a historical or political science perspective. In the past, they worked in a more traditional way instead of an interdisciplinary way of doing things. Typically, they each did their own research, then came together to discuss what they have found. They are now working towards becoming more collaborative, but they are not quite there yet.

Following that, I asked her if she thinks if there are any specific courses that anthropology students should be taking outside of their major. Her response was, it depends on the student. Since anthropology has such a large range of topics, the answer truly depends on which direction the student wants to go in upon graduation. For example, if a student wants to go into physical anthropology then they should be taking more biology courses, or possibly some nursing courses. Whatever will help the student gain more relevant knowledge toward their field.

I then asked her if she thinks that all types of students should have a more interdisciplinary education, or if students should focus on their one area of study. Again, her response was that it depends on the student. Sometimes it is great for students to have a large set of varying skills, depending on what direction the students wants their education, or career to go in. Then again, some students want a more specific area of study for their undergraduate degree because you need that depth for a certain field. Sometimes that can be accomplished in an interdisciplinary degree, but for others it is best for them to focus on one specific area. Then she proceeded to say that this is exactly why the general education system is important, because for the students who want to focus on one specific areas, this allows them to also be able to step briefly outside of their field and learn about other things.

Overall, it was an interesting conversation that I had with Laura. It was intriguing to see a new perspective on the interdisciplinary studies route of education. I will be sure to keep our conversation in mind as I continue through my new experience of Interdisciplinary Studies at Plymouth State.


Laura Tilghman