Hayley McMahon, B.A. 2017

Doctoral Student, Department of Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences at Emory Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta, Georgia

B.A., Cultural Anthropology (2017)

How has being a Cultural Anthropology graduate from Duke helped shape you personally and/or professionally?

"Studying Cultural Anthropology at Duke has had an enormous impact on both my career and my personal advocacy for reproductive justice. I came to Duke positive that I wanted to study virology, but my courses that were cross-listed as Global Health/Cultural Anthropology (like Dr. Solomon's Medical Anthropology course!) quickly showed me that I am much more interested in how health is constructed at a sociocultural level. Blending Cultural Anthropology and Global Health as my major and minor has helped me build a career as a public health researcher who studies the social and structural determinants of access to reproductive healthcare. Since graduating from Duke, my CulAnth background has led me to earning a Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and now to pursing my Ph.D. in Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences at Emory Rollins School of Public Health. Ultimately, I hope to become a professor of social science and public health—and being a Cultural Anthropology major gave me the best possible start."

What advice would you give students in Duke's Cultural Anthropology programs?

"Don't let anyone tell you that Cultural Anthropology is not a marketable or highly valuable degree. It's just as powerful as those more "mainstream" fields like biology or economics. Cultural Anthropology offers an analytical skillset and a systems perspective that you won't find in many other disciplines—and employers and graduate schools notice that. Beyond professional goals, I also feel like every Cultural Anthropology graduate I meet raves about how personally fulfilling our field of study is. I think the most important thing about studying Cultural Anthropology is that it doesn't just teach you to be a better analyst; it teaches you to be a better person."

Hayley McMahon