Tierney Marey, B.A. 2017

Manager - Student Experience, Faculty of Arts, Design & Architecture, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

2017 Major: Cultural Anthropology; Minor in Electronic and Digital Journalism (via Robertson Scholars Program)

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

"My current professional and academic pursuits build off my research I completed while studying Cultural Anthropology at Duke. I currently work full-time in higher education, and am pursuing a PhD part-time looking at the embodiment of labour among those who do equity, diversity and inclusion work in university settings. My studies at Duke in Cultural Anthropology encouraged me to be curious and creative in my consideration of how power, systems, and structures operate both invisibly and visibly. Cultural Anthropology taught me to be alert to patterns, and self-reflexive about my own positionality, to be exploratory and constructivist in my approach to problem solving and meaning-making. I use all of these skills in both my professional work, supporting higher education students, and in my research. I am grateful for the opportunities, training, and support I received throughout my time at Duke as it has allowed me to re-imagine possibilities for both others and myself."

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

"I never truly understood this advice when it was given to me, so I phrase it here in the hopes that it becomes a little clearer: 'take a risk'. This advice is continually given to students, but often with little context or appreciation for the stressors that make risk-taking seem unwise at times. Find something that you love or are curious about in your studies, university experience, or general life and then take a slight detour, just to test it out. It may be that you love a particular theorist but have only written about them based on a few texts, or what you've been taught. Can you find a different angle and pursue that in an essay? Would you like to study abroad in a non-Duke program but are worried about your GPA? Go ask some questions about the program and find out what would be the best options for you. Curious about a hobby but scared you'll be no good, find a way that feels okay for you to give it a go. Some of my most wonderful moments during my studies came from accidental or deliberate risk taking, from stumbling into the wrong place at the right time, from being brave and asking for help. It doesn't always land perfectly, but it does become a little easier next time to try that detour again."

Tierney Marey