Amanda Daria Stoltz

University of California Santa Cruz

If not for the Society of Applied Anthropology (SfAA), I would not currently be pursuing my Ph.D. in the human dimensions of marine resources. SfAA has transformed my career as a marine social scientist. Under the mentorship of Dr. Stoffle, I attended SfAA for the first time in 2019 and found a community of marine social scientists who use anthropological methods to solve complex socio-ecological problems. Ensuring that SfAA continues to thrive is important to me, and that is one of many reasons why I would be a valuable addition as the student member of the board. 

This past school year I served as the graduate representative for the Environmental Studies department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. While working to support my fellow students and colleagues through the uncertainties and stress of COVID-19, we also faced a student strike, a wildfire that came within a mile of campus, and several multi-day power outages. I organized and moderated a department wide listening session on our school reopening for in-person instruction and was able to get the students and the faculty on the same page. This experience has helped me build a skillset that may benefit the SfAA board.

One of the reasons why I want to be a part of SfAA is that I’ve seen social science consistently and openly undervalued by scientists in other disciplines. Finding my marine social science community and the people who support and understand the work that I do is paramount to my success as a researcher. Reading papers in my field authored the incredible social scientists I met at SfAA is awe-inspiring. I have pride in my fellow marine social scientists and feel this pride reciprocated. This makes me a stronger researcher and gives me the confidence needed to defend the importance of applied anthropology to biologists, economists, fishers, policy-makers, and the public. Continuing my relationship with SfAA as the student member of the board will allow me to continue learning from and working with this esteemed group of anthropologists.

Participating in SfAA has given me community, confidence, and the ability to continue learning about the anthropological theories and methods that guide my research. Since attending that first conference, I have published six scientific papers, started my Ph.D. with the encouragement of Dr. Pomeroy (who I met at SfAA), built lasting relationships with anthropologists in my field, and grown immensely as a researcher. I have been working part-time as a social scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey and they have asked me to join their Pathways Program which will support me through school and, after I graduate, allow me to join the USGS in a permanent federal position. Conducting applied and actionable research for the American people has always been a goal of mine, and because of SfAA, my dreams are coming true. Being able to join the SfAA board as the student member would be an honor. Thank you for your time and consideration. 

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