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Caroline Krumholz '10
Caroline Krumholz '10

Internship in Anthropology Department Inspires Caroline Krumholz ‘10

By Allison Eck '12  |  Contact Holly Foster 315-859-4068
Posted August 20, 2009
Tags Anthropology Funded Internships Student Internships
Caroline Krumholz ’10 never described her interest in different people and ethnicities as anthropology until she came to Hamilton. Once she identified anthropology as a distinct subject with its own title and terminology, her interest began to grow. Ever since, she has become increasingly committed to learning more about culture and tradition. This summer, she is interning in Hamilton’s Anthropology Department, working under the advisory of Assistant Professor Chaise LaDousa. He is guiding her through the process of conducting fieldwork and sifting through relevant literature.

The internship is intended to give Krumholz a better feel for what it is like to write lesson plans and course syllabi for classes at a small undergraduate school like Hamilton. LaDousa’s background in folklore pertains to Krumholz’s academic interest in a New England folk custom: contra dancing. She meets with LaDousa at least once a week to discuss their goals, and it is during this time that she learns more about pertinent anthropological theories and how professors integrate them into their lectures. Krumholz feels that, in order to be an effective educator, it is important to transmit ideas to students in a way that is both memorable and insightful. Since she hopes to teach someday, Krumholz is using this internship to start learning the ropes as early as she can.

Because her internship is affiliated with the College, Krumholz can be flexible with her hours. She spends most of her time reading ethnographies, distributing questionnaires, and scheduling or conducting interviews. She also participates in contra dancing on weekends, where she observes and evaluates participant attitudes about this common practice.

The internship is not paid, so Krumholz applied for and received support from the Summer Internship Fund, which goes to students who might have insufficient resources to take on a full-time internship for the summer, whether or not it is paid. She also received support from the Bonnie Urciuoli Fund to pursue this project. The opportunity will offer her skills that are applicable to any discipline, to graduate school, and to many professions, which is the biggest difference between her internship and other research-oriented grants. Krumholz is conducting fieldwork, and then incorporating theory into a critical analysis of her own data. These processes may help her grasp research and curriculum-building methods that will be useful in variety of careers. Krumholz will also write a paper on the subject of contra dancing next spring, and LaDousa plans to include some of her material in his folklore class the next time he teaches it.

And she’s not even an anthropology major. Krumholz’s concentration is biology, and she will write her senior thesis on parasites and public health. However, she says she has been looking for more ways to tie in her love of anthropology. Her summer position also gives her the chance to study dance – something she regularly takes part in through Hamilton’s Ballroom Dancing club and Contra Dance club. As she closes in on her senior year, she has a multitude of interests from which to choose a career.

Krumholz also believes that she can draw together biology and anthropology. “An important link I see between anthropology and biology is how necessary it is to understand cultural practices…in order to effectively study public health,” she said. “It is not effective or acceptable to throw resources at a community that work elsewhere but which don’t have any foundation in local practices.”

An appreciation for regional doctrines and behaviors probably comes from her understanding of people. “Ultimately, being able to talk to and learn from people from any generation will enable me to learn from just about anybody, which is something I definitely live for,” she said. Whether she ends up working in biology, environmental conservation, anthropology, or public health, she knows that she will be happy if she can see applications for helping people outside of her immediate circle.

“Whether it is people affected by a disease, or just students who want to learn more, I think I will be happiest and most engaged knowing that I can help.”

Krumholz is a graduate of Burlington High School.

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