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Alumni Stories

Nothing gives us greater pleasure than hearing from our alumni and finding out what exciting things they're doing in their chosen fields. If you haven't already, please update us and tell us about your post-graduation adventures!


Brenden FransonFranson

I graduated with my degree in Anthropology from SIU in 2014. With a focused education in Anthropology and Wildlife Biology, he is striving to help manage and restore the relationship between wildlife, land, and people, "SIU provided me with an excellent academic foundation. The Anthropology program, at SIU, has allowed me to explore my fascination of culture and diversity, and analyze the adaption and change people have with nature." Currently, he is studying Wildlife Biology, at the University of Montana, and examining the change in ecology and wildlife. He states, "It is my dream to collaborate in the management and conservation of ungulate and carnivore populations and habitats, particularly with wolves."


Laurel Dillon-Sumner

Laurel Dillon-Sumner

I got my degree in Anthropology from SIU in 2011. As a curator at a children's science museum, the skills I learned from anthropology helped me research and design new exhibits. As a graduate student in Applied Anthropology at University of South Florida, my training has enabled me to conduct original research in public policy and community development.

My work aids community residents in shaping public policy decisions which directly impact their community and way of life. The skills and tools I have learned allow me to work collaboratively with others in a vast array of settings and make entirely unique contributions.


Kohl DothageKohl Dothage

I am currently attending graduate school at Wichita State University. My research interests include forensic taphonomy and the application of forensic anthropology to the preservation and protection of human rights in Latin America.

I am currently attending Wichita State's biological anthropology Master’s Program and working in a laboratory. In the future I hope to complete a PhD in biological anthropology and post-doctoral research in Guatemala.


Erin Hughes

Erin Hughes

Hello! I am Erin Hughes. I graduated from SIU in 2010 with a degree in anthropology, focused in archaeology.

Since then I worked for the Illinois State Archaeological Survey, I came back to SIU to work on a late Woodland lithic collection, and I am currently working towards a Masters degree at the University of Colorado in Boulder, studying the stone tools of the Great Plains.


Emma Kirby

Emma Kirby

Hi!  My name is Emma Kirby and I graduated from SIUC in December of 2013.  I got my degree in Anthropology with a double minor in Forensics and History.  I am now currently going to grad school at Wichita State University!  I plan to get my Masters in Biological Anthropology (or something of the sort) and then go on to obtain my Doctorate.

I am the Assistant Residence Life Coordinator at Fairmount Towers here in Wichita.  I basically assist the Residence Life Coordinator in making sure the building runs smoothly.  Go Shockers!! Anyway, once a Saluki, always a Saluki!


Sammy PackardSammy Packard

After graduating in 2009 with a focus on biological/medical anthropology, I enrolled in the Peace Corps. It was very much an anthropology student's dream, living in a hut in a rural community of contemporary indigenous people in Panama, treated to big doses of indigenous politics, becoming admirably conversational in the local language, and sitting on both sides of the looking glass as tourists came and went.

Upon returning to the US, I worked with a nonprofit supporting low-income female aspiring entrepreneurs, doing program evaluation and putting to work all the statistical analysis I learned in my research methods courses at SIU. Bored with the cubicle routine, I returned to the Peace Corps for a yearlong assignment. I currently live in the gorgeous western highlands of Guatemala, where 98% of the population is K'iche' Mayan, working in the departmental office of Guatemala's Secretary of Food and Nutritional Security.

As I navigate through what a non-academic career might look like for an anthropology degree-holder, my academic formation at the hands of SIU's anthropology faculty remains at the core of my perceptions and efforts everywhere my travels take me.


Kitty Wilson

Kitty Wilson

I have been living in Alaska working with Environmental Protection Agency for the Tlingit people in Sitka. We’re working on protecting a species of fish called "Herring."

The removal of this fish is damaging our ecosystem and, more importantly, it is a traditional food of the natives here. My project with Resource Protection Management is to educate the public, specifically the younger generations of Tlingit, about the traditional uses of the native plants around the island.

I attend tribal meetings, meet the council, and listen to them discuss the ways they can revitalize their culture for younger generations.  I help to mediate the conflict between the fishermen and the natives who are consistently being ignored by the government.