Preparing students for the field: What makes for a successful experience? Day/Time: Saturday, April 18, 2020, 10AM - 12PM. Description: In this discussion session, we ask participants to contribute to the question: how can mentors prepare students for successful field experiences? Organizers: Kelly Boyer Ontl, Ball State University, ([email protected]); Caitlyn Placek, Ball State University, ([email protected]).

Description: ­­­Field work is a hallmark of the anthropological experience, often considered a stepping stone or a rite of passage to career success. From primate field schools in Costa Rica and bioarchaeology programs in eastern Europe to ethnographic work in the U.S., fieldwork exposes students and early career scientists to new places and cultures, often for the first time. Effective field experiences can foster motivation, collegiality, and trust in the discipline; however, problematic field experiences can leave students feeling discouraged or even traumatized. In this discussion session, we ask participants to contribute to the question: how can professors and mentors prepare students for successful field experiences? We expect to cover topics such as establishing appropriate expectations, establishing clear and healthy boundaries (i.e. when is it okay to leave?), and tools to process some of the difficulties they may face. Other areas of interest may include ways to support students in setting up their own field sites and research, and how to help students evaluate programs and volunteer opportunities in advance. The discussion will be geared toward professors, student mentors, and graduate students, but will also be beneficial for undergraduate students attending the conference. This initial discussion will set the stage for the creation of standards that outline best practices, which will be shared with interested anthropologists.

Audience: professors, student mentors, graduate and undergraduate students.

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