Johanna McAlister, a junior Anthropology major and Sustainability Studies minor, takes time to reflect on her undergraduate experience.

1. Why did you choose your major?

I am passionate about anthropology because I have always been interested in indigenous cultures (specifically their relationship with the environment) and seeing the world from a different perspective than my own. I am interested in sustainability because I have a love for the environment and conservation, and would like to combine my love for the earth with anthropology by eventually working with indigenous peoples in the Americas to protect their human and land rights, whether that be in the form of representing non-governmental organizations, the National Park Service, or other organizations that protect human and environmental rights.

2. Why did you decide to come to UMD?

I decided to come to UMD because of its research university reputation and because I grew up in Maryland, I knew what a wonderful reputation it had. I knew that I always wanted to get involved with Anthropological research, so UMD was the right fit for me.

3. What clubs/organizations are you involved in on campus? What do you do within these organizations?

I am involved with the Dean’s Student Advisory Council (DSAC) and YogiTerps on campus. In DSAC, I am the Anthropology representative and my job is to be the mediator between my fellow Anthropology majors and our faculty, deans, and administration so that our needs and wants as students can be approached in the form of projects throughout the year. In the YogiTerps club, which was newly formed in spring 2016, our goal is to spread the word of the importance of being balanced, peaceful, and not stressed during a person’s time at the University and beyond. As a member, I participate in our yoga and meditation meetings as well as outreach to other students.

4. How has the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences enhanced your college career?

The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences has enhanced my college career by allowing me to be involved with other BSOS majors, programs and classes so that I can broaden my horizons and network outside of Anthropology.

5. What do you hope to get out of your time at UMD and what are your future aspirations?

I hope to gain a deep knowledge of Anthropology, specifically socio-ecological anthropology, as well as connections to faculty, students, and opportunities that enhance my education and experience in the field. I hope to gain experience and life-long lessons and skills that I can not only use to help me in my career, but also use in life outside of my career. I hope to share those experiences and lessons with others so that I can grow as an Anthropologist and as a global citizen.

6. What is one of/some of your favorite UMD memories?

Some of my favorite memories at UMD are when my boyfriend Matt (who I met here freshman year) and I would explore the hidden treasures of campus no matter what the weather was. Whether it was the outdoor chapel’s labyrinth, the rooftop garden above the South Campus dining hall, the Lake Artemesia nature trail, the rock climbing wall, or secret outdoor study places, we would always have a blast taking in all of what our campus has to offer throughout the whole year — rain, snow, below-freezing temperatures or nothing but blue skies.

Johanna McAlister