Marshall Stay '17

Marshall Stay '17

Majors: Anthropology, Classics

How do you feel Luther’s anthropology major stands out among other colleges?

I am interested in other cultures, ancient civilizations, and have a fascination with archaeology. Coming into Luther undecided, I took a few anthropology courses and knew I had made the right choice. The courses require students to be critical of what they research while remaining open-minded. I had to be willing to dive into whatever aspect of culture I was studying and analyze everything. This was challenging for me as I grew up in a small Midwestern town without a broad worldview.

Luther’s anthropology program also has professors experienced in the courses they teach. The intimacy of the department also allows students to connect with professors at a level that is rare in larger programs at other colleges. They have helped me with potential career paths and finding internship opportunities. I know I can go to them with any question. They are my academic support group and have helped prepare me for graduate school.

Why did you choose a liberal arts education?

A liberal arts education is much more than just getting a degree. It makes you more aware of majors or fields that you had never considered. This is valuable when coming into college undecided, like I was. Now that I have experienced a liberal arts education, I know I am more prepared for life after college.

Where have you studied abroad?

Study abroad has been my most valuable experience at Luther. The summer after my first year at Luther, I attended a one-month archaeological field school in Greece. Through the program, I was able to visit several archaeological sites across Greece. This was where I became fascinated with archaeology. I learned how to record ancient architecture, clean and identify ceramic types, and manage a new collection of materials. Studying abroad showed me how critical it is to travel overseas while in college.

During spring semester of my junior year, I took part in a study-away program through Luther. Through the Lutheran Colleges Washington Semester program, I took courses in Washington, D.C. I also interned at the Naval History and Heritage Command at the Washington Navy Yard. Working alongside the U.S. Navy’s underwater archaeologists, I helped document and maintain the Navy's sunken vessels and aircrafts from around the world. This internship introduced me to what it’s like to live and work in the city. I also got many opportunities to make connections with professionals in my desired field.

In what research projects have you been involved?

I participated in a Summer Student/Faculty Research Grant opportunity with anthropology professor Colin Betts. The department received a new piece of survey equipment called a magnetometer. We tested its effectiveness on local Native American mound groups by identifying subsurface features. Our research gave us a lot of information that we wrote into a report for publication. I even presented our findings at the Midwestern Archaeological Conference in Iowa City. This research allowed me to work with a Luther professor as a colleague. I also developed skills necessary for publication writing.

What is one class that you would recommend to all students?

Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 101) was the first course I took at Luther. It helped me develop a stronger, open-minded worldview. This anthropological approach to our world and its cultures is important to keep in mind. Regardless of major, I think all students would enjoy taking the course

I have always found something to do or attend on campus. There are always events that are free for students; go to a few whenever you can.

—Marshall Stay '17