Mariam Tabrez: Reflecting on SEPA

The SEPA conference overall was such an enriching experience because it awesome to see and meet so many people passionate about the same subject. Also, it was incredible to see the diversity in the subject of psychology and how people are taking theoretical information and using it to study things from homophobia to using emojis. It definitely inspired me to take political psychology research to a national level and find trends in political behavior and why it happens. Especially in our present political climate being able to understand why people believe what they believe will allow us to possibly become empathetic towards differing opinions. Seeing research not only as a academia requirement but as a necessity to improve society is inspiring and definitely makes me want to research even after my college career. This experience has also shown me that Rollins small liberal arts environment made it a little easier to talk to professors and researchers that came up to me because we practice that skill at Rollins daily. If I went to a large state school I probably would have been more intimidated. Overall, it was a great experience that has got me thinking about furthering my research involvement in the future.

Mariam Tabrez: Presenting a Poster at SEPA

On March 9th, I presented at the SEPA poster presentation and represented Rollins as a student researcher. I was very nervous in the beginning because I have never done anything like this. I have given presentations but never at a large conference on my own. I spent a couple of hours before hand memorizing what I was going to say because I did not want to leave anything out. When we started presenting the posters the first few people that came up I was a little nervous and stuck with what I had memorized but as time went on I became a lot more comfortable. I was able to not only remember parts of this study but also talk about political theory I had learned in my politics class to address some of their questions. It was really cool to be well educated on what I was presenting and being able to educate others. Also, I was able to meet some professors and students from other schools. They gave me more ideas on how to research political psychology further as well as diversifying the population that the research was on. This presentation experience was amazing and l was definitely out of my comfort zone but it was such a great way to see how to take knowledge out of the classroom. Also I learned a lot about presenting which will be helpful in the classroom as well.

Kat Matthews: After the Archaeological Dig Experience

This summer I spent five weeks in a town called Vescovado di Murlo in the Province in Siena, Italy, digging at the Etruscan archaeological site of Poggio Civitate. The field school, run through the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and headed by Dr. Anthony Tuck, was inarguably one of the most extraordinary experiences of my college career thus far. I’ve known I want to be an archaeologist for years but haven’t decided what particular area I want to spend my professional career in; there are quite a few to choose from. Working on this site this summer forced me to seriously think about which direction I wanted to take when it comes to my academic and professional career. I learned different archaeological techniques along with various conservation methods. Every morning from Monday through Friday, we were up before 6 am, eating breakfast on the stoop, hiking up the hill, and were ready to start digging by 7 am. We worked from then until 3:30 in the afternoon stopping only for personal salt and water breaks and the group lunch at noon which lasted a half hour. It was hard work and most of the time was spent either squatting in the trench or standing, bent at the waist. Every week, students were put into groups of about five or six and assigned to a specific trench working under a different trench-master. This worked wonderfully because every supervisor ran their trench a little differently and every trench contained different and various artifacts so students were constantly learning new things throughout the summer. I came back home battered and bruised and had to ice my knees for three days straight but I could not have been happier with how I spent my summer. I look forward to returning to Poggio Civitate as a trench-master in training next summer.

Kat Matthews: Palio di Siena

As an anthropology major, I am constantly aware of how my interpretation of my surroundings is relative to my own personal experiences. I knew that in traveling to Italy, I would be immersed into a very different culture and I would need to keep an open mind about the events I witnessed and the people I met. I was in Italy for five weeks this summer participating in an archaeological dig about thirty minutes south of the city of Siena and while we worked hard from the crack of dawn through the hot hours of the afternoon, we did have weekends off to travel as we liked. We had gathered up a large group of students from the excavation project who wanted to go and together we caught the 6:50 am bus from Vescovado di Murlo into Siena to watch the Palio race. The race itself started an hour and half later than planned due to the time spent gathering the horses and trying to line them up to start the race. They were on so many drugs they struggled to walk in a straight line or even to stand still. As someone who goes through extra care to only buy cruelty free products, this was a heartbreaking scene. I wanted to scream at someone. I wanted to stomp out and leave and demand that this practice be stopped because it was so obvious the horses were hurting and scared but I couldn’t. The Palio has historically been viewed as a key aspect of the Sienese culture and the people of the various competing contratas take the race event extremely seriously. I had to remind myself that this is not my own culture and no matter how unethical I found the scene, I had no right to criticize the people of Siena on such an integral part of their identity.