A reflection on my time in this special topics on forensic anthropology course paired with a literature review.
This class was offered as a special topics course within the Biocultural Anthropology department, which means it would likely only be offered for the current quarter and maybe even never again. Since I am not an Anthropology major, I had to contact the professor expressing interest and hopefully getting an add code. I had done this for a previous Anth class with good results, so why not try again? This time was a little harder, as the professor wanted to know what previous coursework I had taken in physiology and anatomy-- which was, sadly, not much. However, he was "willing to take a chance on me" (exact wording from his email) and gave me an add code. The class was fantastic! I got to handle human remains every other day and learn more about a completely new topic in a small class environment. My lab partners were amazing and many laughs were had over bones. This class is probably one of the most interesting classes I've taken at UW and I'm so grateful for the opportunity.
Our big quarter-long project was writing a lit review on a subject in forensic anthropology. This was difficult for me-- I had no idea what sort of topics were of interest in this field! I struggled to come up with something to research, but decided to focus on something I had more experience in from my other science courses-- the biology of bones. I researched methods of DNA extraction in human remains and ended up analyzing the major methods. Writing and researching this was a cool experience-- I had never worked with AJPA citations or written a lit review before. I ended up spending 11 total hours one weekend hammering this paper out, and turned in a solid first draft, to which Professor Taylor suggested minor revisions. I'll admit, it isn't the most exciting paper, but it was certainly an experience to create.