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Outstanding Undergraduate Alumni: Lauren Singer

Lauren Singer teaches U.S. History and Social Studies at Casteel High School in Chandler, Arizona. She graduated from the University of Arizona in 2006 with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Classics. She received a B.A. in Secondary History Education in 2009 from the University of Central Oklahoma and an M.A. in Education Curriculum and Instruction with an additional concentration in English as a Second Language in 2012 from the University of Phoenix. From 2010 to 2017 Lauren worked as an academic counselor, and then began her teaching career in 2017. Although Arizona has had a few high school anthropology courses since the 1970s, Lauren created the most recent secondary school anthropology course in the state. Her anthropology class for grades 10–12 was approved by the Chandler school board and will be offered in the 2021–2022 school year.

When asked why she was attracted to become an Anthropology major at the UA, Lauren responded:

I had actually never heard the word “anthropology” until I was a somewhat lost freshman at UA, I had to pick a major, and I had never been tasked with such a big decision. I decided not to declare a major right away, but rather do some thinking while I completed my Gen Ed requirements. As I’m sure they still do, the UA admissions team had given the freshmen a curriculum booklet, outlining all the different degree programs with descriptions, requirements, courses you'd need to take, and (most importantly for me) a list of potential career outcomes.

I knew I enjoyed history classes in high school, but hadn't really caught onto the idea of teaching at that point in my life. I also knew I liked to learn about different cultures, languages, and civilizations, and I also had a deep respect and value for human diversity. As I read through that booklet and came across the Anthropology degree program, I had the “ah-ha moment,” as we teachers like to call it: the moment you hear or read something and realize you found exactly what you were looking for. I saw a career outcome that I thought I would enjoy: museum curator/archivist. So, I set the goal for myself that I would earn my degree in Anthropology and become a museum curator. However, happily, life took me down a somewhat different path after I graduated.

The skills and knowledge Lauren learned in Anthropology at the UA have been important in her career path. Lauren elaborated:

Without question, the knowledge that has impacted my career the most from the Anthropology program at the UA is a deeper understanding of different cultures, and the acceptance of different ways of life, both in modern society, and throughout history. Today, I seek out the diversity in those around me and celebrate it, not shy away from it. As a teacher, I’ve connected with students from hundreds of different cultural backgrounds and ethnicities. Students have singled me out as an adult on our campus of 3,000+ students and faculty who they can trust and are comfortable confiding in. I don't think I would be the person and teacher I am today without having the opportunity at UA to really immerse myself in a program that valued global human diversity like the Anthropology program did and still does.

Lauren’s offers sage advice for undergraduate Anthropology students:

[Don’t] be afraid of what will happen in the future. Have a plan and a backup plan for yourself, but college is the time to explore your interests and learn! There were times people questioned my decision to major in Anthropology (I was asked many times “what are you going to do with that?” or “what is that?”); however, what I've learned since graduating from the UA and living life as an adult is that things, like employment, will always work out. If you love anthropology, and even if you don't find the job you thought that you wanted after you graduate, you will always find a way to use anthropology in your career if you really want to.

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