Read about some of the exciting things our alumni are doing with their degrees! Here are some selected profiles of former students.
Help keep the Anthropology Department informed of your whereabouts and successes after graduation… If you are an alum and would like to be highlighted here, please send an email to Elaine Gerber at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jamie Ancheta ’13
Jamie Ancheta was born and raised in Elizabeth, N.J. and attended Upper Academy, the honors high school for the Elizabeth Public School system. She attended Montclair State University from 2009 to 2013 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and minors in Archaeology and Geoscience. Following graduation she participated in Montclair State’s archaeological field school in East-Setauket Long Island and applied the skills she acquired in her undergrad career to a live setting.
At the conclusion of the field school she was accepted into Monmouth University’s Master of Art’s program for Anthropology. While at Monmouth she had the opportunity to manage the Archaeology lab that was processing historic artifacts from both New Jersey and Nevis in the Caribbean. During her time at Monmouth she was also the archaeological lab director for the 2014 field school in Cedar Bridge, N.J. and assisted as a Geographic Information Systems technician for Monmouth with a project involving her alma mater, Montclair State University. She also gained experience with the Cultural Resource Management firm Richard Grubb and Associates as an artifact technician. In the summer of 2014, she was the co-site director for a public archaeology program at the historic site of the Christoffel Vought House in Clinton, N.J.
Her Master’s thesis is entitled, “A Comparative Study of African American Identity Creation in Antebellum New Jersey,” in which she analyzed the structuralized racism and community progression of the 19th-century African American community of Fair Haven, N.J.
Now at 24 years old, she is working as a field and lab technician for Hunter Research, Inc., a historical consulting company that is based in Trenton, New Jersey.
Stephen Brighton, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies
Associate Professor Stephen Brighton joined the University of Maryland Department of Anthropology in 2005, and organizes an archaeological field school each summer in rural Ireland. He completed a B.A. in Anthropology at Montclair State University, New Jersey, in 1992, and received his Ph.D. from Boston University in 2005. His dissertation, An Historical Archaeology of the Irish Proletarian Diaspora: The Material Manifestations of Irish Identity in America, 1850-1910, is an anthropologically based study on the transnational history and historical archaeology of pre-Famine rural Ireland and Irish immigrant and Irish-American communities in New York City and Paterson, New Jersey. For more information about him, or the field school in rural Ireland, see http://anth.umd.edu/facultyprofile/Brighton/Stephen
Following graduation in 2006 (BA Anthropology, Archaeology), Jonathan Hanna worked in Cultural Resource Management for a variety of firms throughout NJ, NY, PA, MD, and TX- including the World Trade Center Forensic Recovery led by the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner from 2007-2008. He then worked in the Department of Membership and Development at the American Museum of Natural History, managing the membership database and hoping in vain to land a job in the Anthropology division. Married in 2008, he and his wife (Stephanie Morano, also Montclair, 2006- Industrial Design) have been serving as Peace Corps Volunteers on the island of Grenada in the Eastern Caribbean since 2010. Jon taught computers at a primary school and ran an archaeology camp for local kids during the summer. Upon his return in 2013, he began a PhD program, focusing on Caribbean archaeology, at Penn State University. He credits Montclair for igniting his interest in Anthropology and for providing a solid foundation in the four sub-disciplines. You can read more about him here.
Claudia Urdanivia, Program Operations Manager at City Green
Claudia Urdanivia, graduated from Hunter College with a Master’s degree in Anthropology; she received her Graduate Certificate from in Community Development from Montclair State University. Claudia is currently working as the Program Operations Manager at City Green, a non-profit organization dedicated to establishing urban farms and gardens in northern New Jersey’s cities in order to create increased access to healthy, local food while also providing education in food systems, nutrition and the environment. City Green offers practical, technical and financial support to community members of all ages, and is committed to promoting food justice through greening efforts. They also host a number of internships that might be of interest to current Montclair State students! Claudia’s interests include organic agriculture, sustainability, agrobiodiversity, and social justice. She works with local residents in cultivating both gardens and community. Here is a link to an article she published on the role of women as “guardians of crop diversity” in the Andes: http://foodtank.com/news/2015/06/the-role-of-women-in-protecting-crop-diversity-in-the-andes
Estefany was an Anthropology minor (Linguistics major) and is currently enrolled in an ASL certification program at Union County College. She is also working full time at Microsoft. She is trilingual (English, Spanish, American Sign Language) and one of the first in her family to graduate college.
Estefany says that her anthropology background gives her a better understanding of what ASL is about, including the culture behind it…. “It’s not just language, but it’s language and its context that matter. Also, I think that anthropology has taught me about the grey areas in life, things aren’t just black and white but far more nuanced. And the culture empowers everything from the language you speak, the food you eat, the friends you make, and all kinds of decisions are influenced by culture….including how disabilities are looked at.”
She also says she has had some great professors at Montclair State, who she still thinks about, and the influences they’ve had on her. “I really miss my professors, and having intellectual conversations!”
Kristin Etzold, Program Advisor, American Field Service (AFS)
Kristin had this to say about her new job, and how anthropology connects to it:
“At AFS we offer programs to students who wish to gain a cultural perspective of a host family in a different country. Because I spent a semester with AFS in Argentina before college, I knew that I would be mainly working with students who were motivated to become more globally conscious. The host families in the US are not paid so their main drive to host an exchange student is to shatter stereotypes and offer foreign students to really join their family and be able to spread the word back home about our culture as well. For me, I think where my knowledge of anthropology is most useful is primarily by encouraging students to be open minded and willing to not only be cultural ambassadors for the US but also immerse in a culture they may not have had a previous understanding of. This gives me hope that the future might be filled with cultured minds.”
For more information, visit http://www.afs.org/