Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Which way to medical career

Which way to the medical career?

Anthropology majors map out their varied routes into health care

Why do so many Wheaton anthropology majors work in the health care industry?The question came to Donna Kerner, professor of anthropology and department chair, when she was thinking of a way for her department to participate in “Science at the Center,” a series of lectures and events held at the Mars Center for Science and Technology.“I thought it might be interesting to connect students in our course on medical anthropology—one of the fastest-growing subfields in the discipline—and our alums who had gone on to careers in medicine,” says Kerner.

When she examined the alumnae/i database, she found anthropology graduates in every area of health care, from medical doctors and international health policy experts to scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [Read more...]

Binh Nuygen ’99

Binh Nuygen ’99Director of global operations, InterSystems

My interest in public health developed at Wheaton. As a junior, I had the opportunity to work with elderly Vietnamese immigrants in Dorchester, Mass., who lost their health benefits due to newly enacted health care reform. Most of them were tax-paying, legal immigrants who no longer qualified for benefits because they were not citizens. This moved me so much that I spent a year volunteering as a teacher to help them pass their citizenship test, so that they could qualify for basic benefits. [Read more...]

Kerry Skiffington ’78

Certified clinical hypnotherapist

Kerry Skiffington ’78My mother was a hospital bacteriologist, so I grew up with a scientific understanding of medicine. I also learned to respect other cultures and was always curious about how shamanism worked.

When I came to Wheaton, I hoped to be an anthropologist who studies Native Americans, but I planned to get there through writing. It was the era of Native American nationalism and the Second Battle of Wounded Knee. I thought I would major in English and minor in anthropology. [Read more...]

Tina Stiles ’92

Associate director of corporate quality assurance training
Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company

Tina Stiles ’92I wish I could say that I had a structured path or plan to my career in pharmaceuticals, but it was really sheer luck—and the skills I gained at Wheaton.

Even my major was something I fell into. I took “Anthropology 101” with Donna Kerner during my freshman year and was hooked. Nothing had ever interested me that much, and I knew then I had to pursue anthropology as a major.

In the second semester of my senior year, I was looking for a part-time job. (I had a light schedule and wanted to make some money in preparation for life after graduation.) Through the Filene Center, I found a part-time research job with Boston Scientific in Mansfield, Mass. That part-time job turned into a full-time job after graduation and eventually into a career in pharmaceuticals. [Read more...]