Sonya Hudson, Managing Editor

Virginia Commonwealth, Old Dominion University
and James Madison University each have 21 less Public Anthropology Award winners than George Mason University, specifically Professor Susan Trencher’s Anthropology 114 class, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology.

Students from Trencher’s class participated in the Public Anthropology Community Action Website Project, in which students from different universities write professional-style op-ed pieces that are published on the web for other students to peer-review. All are anonymous. Students from participating universities judge the best work.

The purpose of the project, according to the Public Anthropology Community Action Website, is to get students actively engaged in discussions with students from other universities with different life-experiences about “ethical issues that lie at the interface of anthropology and the contemporary world.”
One of the 21 Mason award winners, Masoud Sultan, found the project to be rewarding.

“The Community Action Project was a thoughtful experience that really opened my eyes that there are issues around the world that go unnoticed,” said Sultan, a sophomore majoring in information technology.

The project not only enlightened the students on issues beyond their own backyard, but also helped to improve their writing skills.

For award winner Sarah DiGiovine, a sophomore majoring in government and international politics, the project gave her the tools to write effective opinion pieces.

“I also learned that strong op-ed pieces can persuade others to take up a cause or decide to act in order to make a change in our world,” said DiGiovine.