Sociology & Anthropology


Resources for Alumni

WIU Resources
Student Profile: Jimmy Peterson, Class of 2008


"While in the Yucatan, I used anthropological techniques learned in the classroom at WIU. Participant observation, mapping, interviewing, and other tools were instrumental while conducting my research. I became immersed in the "real world" of anthropology.

I flew into Merida, spent a large amount of time in Izamal, and made trips to the village of Tekal de Venegas. Sometimes, I had to communicate in Spanish. Other times, I utilized informants to translate the Yucatec language. The informants were an invaluable resource. Without taking the time to get to know the people, I couldn't have conducted my research. They told me about their culture, traditions, botanical knowledge, and religion. They took me to visit their milpas and places of worship.

While helping me to map their gardens, they told me about the uses for each plant. They also prepared some of the best food I've ever tasted - even though I didn't always know what it was. Overall, it was a very educational and rewarding experience.

Student Profile: Kathalene Willis

Junior with Major in Anthropology and Minors in History & Poli-Sci

Why I choose Western: I really wanted to transfer from my Community College but I was not sure what I wanted to study yet. Western was more affordable; especially while I was deciding what to Major in.

Why I choose Anthropology: Anthropology focuses on a holistic perspective; utilizing different views presented from the many social sciences, I feel like I can obtain a more lucid view of human history. I love learning about people from all over and experiencing different cultures and perspectives-it just fits.

Research interests: Economic Development in LDC's, Social inequality & Lab work w/ Orendorf site After graduation: Peace Corps then Grad School for Socio-Cultural Anthropology or vice versa.

Reaction to program so far: Excited for the many courses being offered and loving the experience!

Student Profile: Mercedes Taylor, Junior

Majoring in Forensic Chemistry and Anthropology

Why I choose Western: Western was the best choice for me because it offered the Forensic Chemistry major, which only few school in the country do!

Why I choose Anthropology: I chose to major in Anthropology because it is definitely an interest that can take me places and better my knowledge of forensics.

Research interests: At the moment, I'm very interested in researching Middle Eastern cultures and current affairs, in hopes that one day my career can take me there to get a full perspective of the culture.

Reaction to program so far: After graduating Western, I wish to continue grad school in forensic anthropology.

I find anthropology to be an incredibly well-rounded subject. A person can gain so much from taking a class in cultural anthropology, learning about a variety of religions, languages, social interactions, etc of a cultures some have never seen or heard of before. Physical anthropology is a really stimulating area of study for students who want to dive deeper into the science and biology behind cultures.