USF anthropology students to Gov. Rick Scott: We matter
Justin Shiver came away from a year in Iraq with one overriding thought: We need more anthropologists.
They are the ones really making a difference over there, said Shiver, who worked as a combat medic. They help soldiers and locals work together. They are the reason Americans haven't been rejected as enemies. More than anyone with a gun, Shiver says, anthropologists save lives.
That's why the 26-year-old University of South Florida student, who's studying to become an anthropologist himself, was so confused by Gov. Rick Scott's comments this week.
While promoting his jobs plan, Scott said the state doesn't need a whole lot more anthropologists. Rather, Florida should prioritize degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (known as STEM fields), the governor said.
"It just shows a lack of understanding," Shiver said. Anthropology is a science. The study of people and the way they interact among cultures is important to a number of professions, he said.
That sentiment was loudly echoed throughout the anthropology community in the days after Scott's comments, with national organizations sending letters in defense and online forums lighting up in protest.