When someone tells you they’re studying anthropology, do you assume they’re from the school up the hill? Fourth year UNB anthropology student, Mychaela Igarik, says students should be made more aware of the Anthropology Department at the University of New Brunswick. “They should be given the opportunity to get to know it,” said Igarik.
Igarik’s aunt, a clinical psychology and graduate studies professor at UNB, convinced Igarik to make the move from Carleton Place, Ontario four years ago. While she originally came to study political science and obtain a degree in law, it took just one semester for her to realize she hated her chosen field. “It was not my cup of tea,” Igarik said.
Needing to decide on a new academic path, she registered for the Introduction to Cultural Anthropology course and fell in love. Igarik quickly realized this was her true passion; “It was probably human osteology where I was just totally fascinated and it just clicked.”
Igarik was given the opportunity to work in the Fredericton Region Museum this past summer. “My main project is working with the art collection,” said Igarik. As an artifact cataloguing officer, she researched the history of paintings and painting mediums used in New Brunswick. Igarik also planned the exhibit launch, where she met and spoke with guests and art donors. “It was quite the experience.”
Igarik says her time at the museum reinforced her love for anthropology and will help her moving forward in her career. “It’s definitely good job prep, [I know] I want to work in a museum setting and I want to work with art,” she said.
Igarik wants other students to be given these opportunities, but feels the Anthropology Department isn’t given the same attention as others. “We don’t have the funding of larger faculties to actually get the word out.” She thinks students are missing out on a career they may love; “Anthropology is cool, it’s so rad.”
One of the reasons Igarik loves being a part of the Anthropology Department is because of its close-knit community. “Professors will walk into our lounge and strike up a conversation with [students] because they all know us,” she said.
She says her professors go above and beyond for their students. Igarik gave an example of this when talking about her professor Amy Scott, who lent Igarik her excavation kit (A toolbox consisting of shovels and paintbrushes used, in this case, for biological archeology) for a project. “It’s literally her life in a box, it was super cool,” said Igarik.
Once Igarik graduates this spring, she plans to travel through Europe. Her former boss at the Fredericton Region Museum is helping her find weekly internships at historic museums throughout the continent. Igarik hopes this will enhance her knowledge of art before attending graduate school so she can continue her education in the “rad” field of Anthropology.