Anthropology

Bridget ‘Rose’ McSweeney “It started out slowly for me, as usual in my life. But once you find your niche, it’s great. This school has amazing teachers.”

“I found my niche in anthropology last spring, and once I got into it, I was off and running,” says Rose McSweeney. “I had everything I could ask for, because I was out in the field—down in Belize—with Brandon Lewis, and it was just great. It was five weeks out in the jungle doing excavations on Mayan ruins. I never thought I’d be in a field school because there’s no actual Anthropology department here. And Brandon was such a great lecturer and teacher,” Rose continues. “You can always tell that he loves what he does. And when you see somebody at 5 in the morning every day,” she says with a delighted laugh, “you really get to know them quite well.”

Bridget recalls of her Belize trip that it was an absolutely different world. “There were no phones or any kind of communications. You are totally within the camp, and after a while you realize that you’re really out there!” Waiting in nailbiting suspense for word on her transfer to either UCLA or Berkeley, Rose reports continuing awe with SMC’s Science department.

“We have some of the greatest professors I’ve had anywhere,” she says with excitement. “Like Suellen Gauld and Jan Austin. They love what they’re doing, and they want you to love it too. It’s just amazing what they’re doing in physical anthropology with the study of bones. And you have Joan Barker, who just got back from studying a tribe in Africa. And she and Brandon are the advisors of our Anthro club. The best!”

Rose adds, “The only problem I have with my field is deciding what area I want to focus on. It’s sooooo broad! But all the correlations I’ve studied have made one thing perfectly clear: All human cultures have the same basic needs.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.