“What Happens Next?”

By Taryn Barnett, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

As a recent graduate with a bachelor’s in anthropology and a minor in art history, I am given a predetermined timeline of what my future should entail. I am always asked, “What Happens Next?” I ask myself: What will I do with my life? What are the goals that I want to achieve? What kinds of jobs should I apply for? It took me almost a year after graduation to realize that I should not stress on cultural norms, but the freedom to make my own decision. Hence, I am paving my path for a profession that relies on environmental and animal advocacy to push for new animal protection legislation, specifically on protecting nonhuman primates and preserving their natural habitats.

While I balanced various kinds of internships in college, including but not limited to anthropological, environmental, and sociological fields of research, I aimed for an internship experience that would provide an equivalent work experience for a career that combines both environmental law and environmental anthropology. In my internship, I am facilitating research that studies the way people handle ideas and tensions around geography and nature. Overall, my internship has staff and students examine the relationships between humans and their environment. Through this VSFS internship, I am enhancing my data collecting skills to assist in essential research on cultural institutions and federal agencies that aids in disaster recovery.

Simultaneously, developing skills related to data collection and social media monitoring impacts anthropological research by chronicling socio-ecological dynamics. Mastering techniques on geographic information systems allow maps to communicate and solve complex issues such as deforestation and predict likely archaeological sites. My internship has students collect relevant information on cultural resource management that is vital for the maintenance of data on historical sites. Moreover, perfecting data collection skills is necessary for lab research and archaeological excavations. Overall, my internship helps prepare myself for a dual degree in environmental law and environmental anthropology while expanding my knowledge in geographic information systems and its importance for disaster recovery.


Tarman, Wayne. 2019. “5 best places to see orangutans in Borneo.” Borneo Adventure website, July 18. Accessed [January 27, 2020].
Source: https://borneoadventure.com/blog/2018/06/see-orangutans-borneo/