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South Carolina Honors College

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Internships unearth career opportunities for Honors anthropology student

Sarah Snare has always known that she wanted to work in forensic anthropology, and as she approaches her graduation this December, she is more than equipped to secure the career of her dreams. Snare will be completing a degree in anthropology with a minor in chemistry, and she’ll also be leaving the University of South Carolina with plenty of internship experiences under her belt.

Snare’s commitment to her chosen profession couldn’t be deterred by COVID-19 as she completed a remote internship as an archaeology intern with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources this past summer. Sitting at her desk at home, Snare would clean artifacts given to her from Fort Frederick, a British fort in Beaufort from the 1720’s, and search for hidden remains from the six years in which the fort was active. During her work, she would find anything from bullets and buttons, to pieces of beautiful clay pipes with flowery engraved designs. Snare says that she was able to learn a lot about the archaeology side of anthropology through her experience there. 

“It made me think that I might want to do something a little more archaeology-based because it was just so cool getting to work with all the artifacts and the history of the sites,” says Snare.

Excavating historical artifacts wasn’t the only thing that Snare focused on during her internship. According to Snare, anthropology is about understanding communities, and her internship focused a lot on outreach within the community. One of the things that she especially enjoyed was writing lesson plans on anthropology for elementary and high school-aged students, and she hopes that this outreach will help students understand the importance of preserving history and expose them to career paths that they might not otherwise know about.

“It's all about making archaeology accessible to the public and learning about what history is around you,” says Snare.

During her time in the South Carolina Honors College, Snare also interned with a forensic anthropologist in the Richland County Coroner’s Office. Forensic anthropologists are called in when any unidentifiable human remains are found, and it’s up to them to identify the body’s sex, age, race, ancestry and more. Snare says that this internship taught her plenty of hands-on skills, and it also gave her more insight into what she wants to do in the future.

Snare had planned to travel to Ireland to attend the Institute for Field Research, an archaeological field school, this coming January, but the session was unfortunately canceled due to COVID-19. Luckily, she is still planning on attending the same program this July. While she’s there, Snare will be excavating the Ferrycarrig Castle in order to learn about its purpose and how the Irish defended themselves.

For her Honors senior thesis, Snare found a way to incorporate her love of history and cultural rituals into her research. She recently defended her thesis, which compared mortuary rituals in ancient Egypt with those in the modern United States, and she discovered more than she expected about burial rituals here in America. According to Snare, there are plenty of companies in America offering unconventional options for your body post-mortem, some of which include mummification and even sending your ashes into space.

Whether she ends up working in forensic or archaeological anthropology, it’s doubtless that Snare is going to be doing great things. To her, archaeology is a collaboration between careful observation and critical thinking, and it’s a creative way to combine history, science and problem solving. She also hopes that the field of anthropology will continue to be made more accessible to the public. Then, more people might recognize the importance of preserving historical sites so that we can document and learn about the history of communities around us.

Haley Capps

Haley Capps

Haley Capps is a sophomore English and political science major and journalism minor in the Honors College and is from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In her free time, she loves baking, yoga and reading old books.

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