Presidential - Oral Presentation Session
Anthropologists in business, government and nonprofit organizations do different kinds of work compared to their academic colleagues (Nolan 2013) and while AAA journals and meetings remain largely academic spaces, in the last 35 years, the Association has taken a number of steps to welcome practitioners. NAPA was founded in the early 1980s and the first NAPA Bulletin, a directory of practicing anthropologists, was published in 1985. In the 1990s, an Executive Board seat for practitioner members was introduced, the Practicing / Applied Working Group formed, and a standing Committee on Practicing, Applied & Public Interest Anthropology (CoPAPIA) was created. The 2000s saw a number of initiatives from CoPAPIA and NAPA that persist to this day, including the introduction of the Careers Expo and the publication of The Changing Face of Anthropology (Fiske et al. 2010), the gold standard resource on master’s graduates.
These efforts illuminate the diversity of anthropological practice, but more remains to be done to serve those members. Looking forward, one potential area of engagement is to systematize and enhance mentoring opportunities. NAPA’s mentoring program, founded in 1987, is arguably the most successful such program in the AAA. Now, a new Student Section Leaders group is cataloging mentoring programs across all sections to communicate to potential mentors and mentees the range of opportunities available. Since anthropology students have particular challenges learning about professional options outside of academia, we expect this initiative to appeal particularly to those with an interest in anthropological practice.