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Betselot Wondimu

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Betselot Wondimu

Betselot Wondimu

Public Health Analyst, RTI International

AAA Member since 2020 | NAPA Member since 2020

What first sparked your interest in anthropology?

I was first exposed to anthropology in high school when I saw the visual story-telling [about] HIV/AIDS among African-American women in New York City. I didn’t come around to pursuing anthropology academically until the start of my second year of college, and I immediately fell in love with it. The main factor that sparked my interest in anthropology was the holistic manner in which the field addresses complex and nuanced questions.

What did you intend to do as a career after pursuing an education in anthropology?

After pursuing further education in anthropology in the coming years, I would like to work in a university or research institution, collaborating with community organizations and other stakeholders to answer questions surrounding substance misuse and mental health disorders in marginalized communities.

How do you utilize anthropological skills in your current position?

I currently serve as a Public Health Analyst.  My work largely surrounds the evaluation of interventions at the national, state and local level, and I utilize a variety of anthropological skillsets in my current position. For example, I regularly assist in conducting semi-structured interviews and creating thematic codebooks in the data collection and data analysis phases of multiple projects.

Why did you become a AAA member and how has it enhanced your professional development?

I officially became a AAA member having been elected as the Student Representative for the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA) and a member on the Ethics Committee. Since becoming a member, I appreciate the benefits of having access to an expansive network of anthropologists in academic and professional settings.

What tips do you have for the next generation of student anthropologists?

Lift anthropology up. It is a powerful discipline that has a strong footing in its own right and in interdisciplinary settings. Nothing occurs in a vacuum, as all human proceedings are touched by historical realities and institutional forces. Take this knowledge with you wherever you go.

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