Sherilyne Jones

University of South Florida

It is with pleasure and an honour that I submit this letter of nomination for the Student Member of the Board of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA). My decision stems from the Society’s unifying factors of commitment to making an impact in the world, by supporting the interest of scholars, students, and practitioners in a wide range of settings not limited to academia but in other disciplines, environments, and governments.

I believe that my active leadership and involvement in a broad spectrum of organisations and activities makes me uniquely qualified to bring a diverse perspective to the position. First, a bit about me - I am from Belize, which is a former British colony geographically located in Central America but with its roots in the Anglophone-Caribbean. With Mexico as its northern neighbour, Guatemala to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the eastern border, the country has a unique historical context. As a descendant of enslaved Africans and European enslavers, (Creole Belizean) I am defined by language, traditions, and racial composition, which has afforded me a unique perspective, allowed me to participate in many traditional activities unique to my ethnicity, other ethnic groups in Belize and cultures from across the Caribbean. My understanding of contemporary socio-economic and cultural challenges of my country primed my interest in learning more about my own past and sharing this interest through teaching and academic explorations and aligned with my aspiration to pursue a doctorate in Applied Anthropology at the University of South Florida’s department’s program combines theory, ethnographic insight, and methodological expertise towards practical solutions and is ideal to accomplish my goals.

I consider myself an exceptional, active leader throughout my career , demonstrated through my involvement in the numerous committees, task force, councils, and appointments to the local and regional board of directors, including the President of the Museum Association of the Caribbean (MAC). As a member of the MAC executive board, I often performed beyond the call of duty to ensure the organisation’s overall success, ensuring that all perspectives and possibilities are explored, for decision-making to be well-grounded, bold, and attainable.

As the former Director of the National Museum of Belize, I have made significant impacts on public policy and development in the Culture and Heritage sector, including contributing to the development of the National Culture Policy for the country. I ensured the active participation of individuals and communities by creating a culture of consultation and support for their needs by identifying resources for their plans and visions to be realised. One of my most significant contributions was hosting the Annual General Meeting and conference of the Museum Association of the Caribbean (MAC) in Belize. At the time I was the Board secretary and was tasked to execute this annual event, where scholars, practitioners, and students in museum management, convened to discuss challenges as well as solutions facing Caribbean museums. As a facilitator for a research conference my passion for consistent, regulatory excellence, demonstrated active leadership, passion for excellence, and contributions to the mission and vision of the organisation were recognised. I was nominated for board president – a position I held for 3 years. My experience has also garnered me invitations and opportunities to speak at several national, regional, and international events regarding heritage management and its impact on diverse communities and societies. As a member of the board, I would look forward to helping integrate the strategic operations which allow for the adoption of diverse and connected world from a student perspective.

It would be an honour to be a part of SfAA as a Student representative – a role in which my leadership and sincerity of purpose can improve the relationship, contributions, and participation of diverse peers to be active members of the society and most importantly access the benefits the organisation can give in achieving their individual goals.

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