I hope you’re all doing well. Happy almost-Halloweekend!
This week I wanted to talk a bit about one of my favorite Viterbi Plus experiences: Viterbi + my Cultural Anthropology minor. I originally declared my minor in Cultural Anthropology after taking a General Education class in anthropology. My class was on the nature of Maya Civilization, and I became fascinated. I wanted to learn more.
After I took my first anthropology class and really enjoyed it, I spoke with the professor, Dr. Thomas Garrison, about other opportunities to learn about the Maya. He told me about another course he taught during the summers called ANTH 400: Maya Resilience. It is part of USC’s Problems Without Passports Program, which combines problem-based learning with study in a foreign country. The ANTH 400 course I took studies how the Maya people of Central America have forged a strong cultural identity in both the past and present.
With just three students, the professor, and a diverse selection of guest speakers along the way, my group traveled to four different regions of Guatemala. We visited archaeological sites, museums, and Maya communities where we discovered the complexities of issues related to the conflicting interests of indigenous cultural heritage and national economic development.
At ruins and museums in Guatemala, we could see how the Maya of the past are presented to the public, both nationally and internationally. During visits to modern Maya highland markets and towns we were about to witness how the modern Maya live today.
Traveling through Guatemala with just a few other students and an extremely knowledgable and experienced professor and archaeologist was an incredible experience, and certainly one I will never forget. I feel very lucky that I am on track to complete my engineering degree in four years, but USC has also provided me with the unique opportunity to participate in some amazing experiences unrelated to engineering along the way.
Thanks for reading! Until next time,