Bennett.jpgElaine M. Bennett, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Saint Vincent College

Nominee Statement

As the lone anthropologist at a small, liberal arts college, opportunities to serve the Society for Applied Anthropology have been a critical way for me to connect with practitioners and scholars who share my love of applying the social sciences to address real-world problems. I would be honored to serve the SfAA and its membership as a member the Board of Directors and would draw from my past experience to help the Board move the SfAA forward as it supports and enriches the work of applied social scientists in a world that so dearly needs our contributions.  

Over the last several years, I have served as a committee member and chair for the Margaret Mead and Malinowski Award Committees, organized health-related sessions for the annual meeting in non-SMA co-sponsored years, and served the Higher-Ed TIG as meeting vice-chair and now Co-Chair Designate. In addition, I have been part of the Meeting Working Group, and worked with Michael Paolisso and others to identify, implement, and evaluate approaches to making the SfAA Annual Meeting a hybrid event. In these capacities, I have been able to work closely with our dedicated SfAA staff and have learned much about what it takes to keep an organization like the SfAA running.

In addition, I have brought groups of undergraduate students from a range of majors to the SfAA Annual meeting for most of the last nine years. My students, some of whom flew in a plane for the first time to reach the meeting site, have found the experience of presenting on their projects, attending sessions, and networking with the kind and inclusive professionals that attend the meetings to be rewarding and inspiring. I very much value the SfAA as a friendly space for students’ professional development.

Serving as the dean of the School of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Saint Vincent College, I have developed skills in strategic planning, budgeting, identifying revenue streams, and perhaps most importantly, staying focused on a shared mission through all these activities. This experience has enhanced my appreciation of the complexities of administering an institution and I would bring this practical understanding to help to inform our discussions. 

As a member of the Board, I would like to help the SfAA chart a sustainable path for the future, which would include consistently reviewing and when appropriate, revising our meeting structures and other functions and continuing the work of our recent and current leadership toward ensuring that opportunities to serve and participate in the SfAA’s activities are as inclusive as possible.  

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