Department of Anthropology Alumni
The Department of Anthropology is honored to showcase our outstanding graduates!
Our graduates have gone on to have incredible careers spanning various industries including: public agencies at local, state and federal levels; in the business sector; for nonprofits and community-based organizations; and in academia.
After graduating from Texas State with a major in anthropology and a minor in art design, I initially taught art in Costa Rica. Now, I run my own design business, Erin Morton Creative. I help companies with branding and logos, strategy and messaging, and user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) web design. I'm a creative director and designer, and I manage a team of creative collaborators to meet the needs of my clients.
My anthropology training has helped me tune into and align audience needs with the desires of the organization/business that is trying to meet their needs. Anthropology taught me how to study who these groups are, who they think they are, their likes, dislikes, demographics, their ideas about certain topics, political leanings, moral leanings, their own cultural context, the greater cultural context, and anything else you can think of that might be useful to the piece of work you’re building or the product you’re putting into the world. The designer is just the vessel for one group to get an idea/product/resource out to another group. Anthropology helped me to understand that the reason this practice of marrying the groups’ desires works AT ALL is because design is reflective of its culture. Design reflects its culture’s desires and has the potential to influence it.
After graduating from Texas State with a major in anthropology and a minor in Japanese, I moved to the Republic of Ireland and worked as the US Embassy liaison and programmes assistant, helping students through the visa process to temporarily live, work, and study in the United States. Once I returned to the US, I continued my work with students in higher education as an academic advisor at my alma mater. As an advisor, I have taken on additional projects and roles such as the political science specialist, website coordinator, NSO coordinator, and workshop developer.
My background in anthropology has equipped me with the understanding of different languages, cultures, and ways of thinking to effectively work and coordinate with domestic and international populations. Working in Ireland and Austria, anthropology taught me how to overcome cultural, political, and language barriers; to identify my own cultural biases in my work; and to remain culturally sensitive in roles wherein I represented the US. In academic advising, anthropology has helped me understand the perspectives and needs of my students, specifically diverse and marginalized student populations. Using a combination of skills found in applied cultural anthropology (such as focus group interviews, ethnographic research, and project development), I’ve helped developed and host workshops for other advisors and institutional staff to understand the issues and successes that DACA/undocumented, first generation, and international students have. These experiences have been essential to helping not only myself, but others understand barriers to education and the needs and motivations inherent to students and their success.
After graduating from Texas State with my MA in cultural anthropology I was hired as a contracted researcher to join the Translational Research Group, a multidisciplinary social science research team housed under Marine Corps University’s Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL) at Quantico, Virginia.
My role at the translational research group was very broadly defined, and included supporting the culture training and education efforts of the university, providing scientific advising for senior military and government leaders, and conducting academically rigorous original field research to support the Marine population. The field methods I learned at Texas State were invaluable when our team was activated to study issues of gender discrimination and harassment in the ranks of the Marine Corps. My anthropology training prepared me to effectively navigate the organizational, political, and moral complexities of working within an academic military institution. After almost 5 years and many different projects and experiences, I am now returning to Texas State University to work toward a PhD in Applied Anthropology. I am very excited to continue my academic journey with Texas State before returning to the world of applied social science in government institutions.
Whitney Lytle | Director of Curation and Education, Boothbay Railway Village in Maine (MA Anthropology)
After graduating from Texas State in 2009 with my MA in Anthropology, I attended the University of Texas at San Antonio to pursue my Ph.D. While completing my doctoral research focusing on Maya archaeology in Belize, I worked for UTSA’s Center for Archaeological Research as their Educational Outreach Program Coordinator. In 2017, I also began teaching in the anthropology department at Northwest Vista College. Using the field-methods I originally learned at Texas State, I started NVC’s first archaeological field-school. After graduating from UTSA in May 2020, I was ready for a new challenge and a change of scenery. I am now the Director of Curation and Education at the Boothbay Railway Village in Maine. I am responsible for the museum’s collection of historic artifacts, developing new exhibitions, and creating a formalized education program.
Texas State taught me one of the most important lessons in anthropology - that you are not training to be knowledgeable about just one concept, one time period, or one culture. Instead, you are trained how to research, understand, and communicate with diversity in mind. I was inspired by my professors at Texas State who specialized in a variety of research interests within their own careers. The Texas State anthropology department equipped me not only applied skills needed for my current position, but also the flexibility to explore new opportunities!