Featured Anthropology Minor: Benjamin Dever-Mendenhall '24

Benjamin Dever-Mendenhall '24 is majoring in Philosophy, Psychology, Cognitive Science, and he is also an Independent Major.  He shares his experiences minoring in Anthropology as he reflects on his time at Cornell before graduating.

What inspired you to minor in Anthropology? Do you have a specific area of interest? 

I initially planned to major in biology because I was interested in ethology (animal behavior). Eventually, I turned to animal cognition, which led me to major in Cognitive Science and take primatology courses in the anthropology department. I ultimately decided to minor in anthropology and eventually branched into other subfields within the minor, like archaeology and social anthropology.

Do you have any favorite classes or have there been professors who have influenced your studies?

I really enjoyed ANTHR 3390 (Primate Behavior and Ecology) with Dr. Adam Arcadi, which related to my interests in animal behavior, and ANTHR 3590 (Heritage, History, and Identity in Cambodia) with Dr. Magnus Fiskesjö. The latter involved traveling to Cambodia and exploring the ruins of Angkor Wat, so it was a very unique experience.

Do you have any advice for students considering a minor in Anthropology?

I would advise students to take advantage of the study abroad opportunities available to majors and minors in the department, like archaeological digs and cultural trips. Also, I would recommend taking courses across multiple subfields of anthropology (socio-cultural, archaeological, and biological) to gain a broader understanding of the field.

What are your plans for the near future?

I will travel to Pompeii to conduct archaeological fieldwork with Cornell professor Caitie Barret during the summer and then begin a PhD in Philosophy at Harvard.

What do you think you'll miss most about Cornell/Ithaca after graduation?

I will miss the natural beauty, hiking trails, and wildlife.

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Benjamin Dever-Mendenhall