The University of Nevada, Reno's Introduction to Cultural Anthropology class continues its winning streak in the Public Anthropology competition for the Community Action Website Project. This year, 12 students were awarded for their short essays on relevant cultural issues.
This year's competition involved more than 3,000 students from 23 schools. The topic was, "How can a balance be reached between allowing researchers freedom in their projects and ensuring researchers don't abuse the freedoms granted by their research?"
The winners were: Erin Wohletz, Paige Allen, Brittany Capurro, Josette O'Mealia, Macie Deniz, Eileen Plasencia, Ilse Grangaard, Takami Shiba, Emma Freeman, Lauren Raitz, Sara Sinnett, and Amanda Hartman.
Through their short essays, the students demonstrated their varying opinions on the subject.
"I believe that researchers should be given limited power and freedom on research projects and experiments," Allen said. "Whether that is through more laws or even a better set of people working on cases, something has to be done."
In her short essay, Plasencia expressed that a consent form would be immensely beneficial in achieving this balance.
"When conducting research, the group being studied should be aware what is going on or should be required to sign a consent form," she said.
The winners were all students enrolled in University Professor Laura Wilhelm's Introduction to Cultural Anthropology class.
"The competition allows students to engage in 'real-life' issues concerning the world in which they live, work, play and succeed," Wilhelm said. "They get to engage in current events and relevant topics by expressing their opinions and having those opinions read and evaluated by their peers."
Wilhelm has played an important role in encouraging students to effectively utilize their anthropological knowledge through their writing skills. Wilhelm's own research surrounds the inhabitants of the former United States Canal Zone. She hopes to continue her research with the Canal Zone next spring.
"I think winning these awards gives students a chance to see that their opinions matter, and that what they learn in the Humanities is profoundly relevant," Wilhelm said.
Read the winning students' short essays on the Center for Public Anthropology website.