Charlotte Wright ’13
Charlotte’s search for a college that would help expand her cultural understanding of the world through research and study was a broad one. She wanted a small liberal arts college to study either anthropology or sociology, and so dived headfirst into the pool of internet searches. Along the way, Green Mountain caught her eye—an overnight visit and a blended sociology and anthropology major offered by GMC sealed the deal. The small, warm community and scenic Vermont campus were hard to resist for the Cape Cod native.
The cultural aspects of the human condition have always fascinated Charlotte and through her studies at Green Mountain she has honed her interests in anthropology. These interests include linguistic anthropology and language preservation.
“It’s important to preserve these cultures and specifically their languages or they can be lost,” she said.
Charlotte’s interests in these global changes drew her to a three week study abroad course in Nepal in her sophomore year lead by Prof. Mark Dailey. She was drawn to ethnographic research because of its participatory nature with its real life subjects instead of merely statistical ones.
“Anthropology needs life and activity; we study people after all,” she believes.
Last year, she and some other students proposed and received a grant for $30,000 to conduct ethnographic research in Fujian Province, China. In April, Charlotte and her group presented their research in Nashville for the Asian Network. They investigated the effects industrialization and the emigration of people from these communities has had on the native peoples’ experience with nature.
Charlotte believes that they could not have gotten this sort of grant at a large university.
“Because Green Mountain is so small and the students are so close to the professors, we were able to get such direct help and backing for the grant,” she said.
Charlotte’s experiences abroad fueled her passion to work for the rights of indigenous people. She says that being a representative for these people and cultures is important in continuing social biodiversity on the planet.
Charlotte also has experience with local culture through an internship this past summer at the Slate Valley Museum in Granville, N.Y. (about ten minutes from the GMC campus). There she digitally cataloged each piece of the collection that includes a variety of slate made tools and artifacts. Her internship was part of a grant project designed to make the museum collection accessible to people with disabilities by making it available online.
Throughout all of her time at GMC, Charlotte has been an active member of the Anthropology Club and has served as its president for several of years. The club focuses on studying and reacting to current events and social justice issues.
Charlotte plans to move on to graduate school to study linguistic anthropology so that she can continue to learn more about how to advocate for preservation of other cultures and their languages.
By Sara Bishop '16