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Sprite Autenreith

Anthropology and Sociology

Perth, Australia
Anthropology & Sociology and Theatre Arts
Study Abroad:
Chiang Mai, Thailand – Long Term
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:
Blackberry Coconut Mint
Best Adjective to Describe You:

In 10 words or less, why should a student want to be involved in this department?
Come in to understand yourself, stay to understand the world.

What initially drew you to this department?  What keeps you coming back?
I was first attracted to the department due to its fusion of theory, philosophy, and hands-on study, all of which provided a deeper and more globally relevant look at what I was studying than I was accustomed. This is indeed the field of the butterfly effect, as people, structures and regions (three main objects of study in our department!) change as quickly as technologies do, requiring high levels of curiosity and flexibility from students of the field. The fast-paced yet in-depth nature of Anthropology, as well its frequent insights into news reports, medicine, ethics, politics, macroeconomics, food and travel keep me wanting more. 

What’s your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores in this department?
Try your best not to sign yourself over to one interest, or one department, until you couldn’t imagine your academic life without it as your focus. If firmly and decidedly a member of the ANSO department, try to cultivate a mutually strong relationship with at least two ANSO professors – it will prove invaluable later.

How does your department connect to your other interests and activities?
I am an active Light, Props and Management technician of K’s theatre department. Much of the decision-making and communication ability I hone around the stage I owe to teachings of different peoples and their methods, i.e., to the ANSO department. As an active member of the Chapel program, I use theories of ANSO to more richly understand the organism that is our campus and, more generally, modern spirituality. Additionally, I am an advocate of the green energy and the preservative-free slow food movements, neither of which could be contextualized without the scenarios and values of other societies.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
Steps to becoming a satisfied, functional human: 1) You must select an aspect of the personal or professional sphere you wish for yourself. 2) You must cultivate slices of that aspect, while minding the needs of others in both spheres. 3) Above all, try new things. Have empathy. The rest will settle.

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
Stagecraft with Jon Reeves. Few courses better exemplify what is in my mind the full liberal arts experience– in this course you will strategize, meet outside artists, memorize, compete with your fellow classmates, paint, build, and get your hands dirty. Not only do you build skills, the fruits of your labors are largely tangible, able to be measured– something not to be taken lightly in our increasingly electronic academic sphere. I could not recommend it more highly. A close second is Biomedical Ethics with Max Cherem. Never before has my mind been so stretched, so genuinely excited to discuss homework and assignments with unrelated peers, than in this class.

What is your SIP?
I am, over summer and fall 2015, investigating methods of experiential learning in small businesses/non-profits, as well as the ways they leak into and/or impact their communities.   Slices of my SIP have so far taken me from Traverse City, to the mountains and urban streets of northern Thailand, to Kalamazoo, and back to Traverse City.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
After K, I intend to enroll in Optometry school, either in Big Rapids or Chicago, while pursuing stage management and carpentry part-time.

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