Abby Handlon is a Class of 2020 Ball State alum, with a Bachelor’s in Anthropology. She is now working as a K-4 Instructional Assistant, where she can apply her knowledge of Anthropology.


Where are you from and why did you choose to go to Ball State?

I am from Avon, Indiana. I chose to go to Ball State because I was intending on getting my degree in music education, and I had heard Ball State has an excellent music program.


What job do you do now?

I am currently a kindergarten classroom assistant at a local elementary school while I am working on my Master of Teaching degree.


What does your day-to-day work look like?

My job requires me to provide extra help to students that are falling behind on certain standards. Whether this is working on in-class assignments with them or finding fun educational activities, my goal is to help them catch up to the rest of the class. The other big part of my job is helping with behavioral issues within the classroom. There tend to be a few students that have these issues, and my job is to talk the students down, get to the bottom of the reaction, and help the student find healthier ways to release their frustrations.


Why did you choose to become an Anthropology major?

Anthropology became my major after a long period of constantly changing my major. I was struggling to find something that truly interested me, so I sat down with my laptop and searched through every major possible at Ball State. Anthropology was the only one that stuck out to me. It seemed like a major I would actually enjoy and learn a lot from.


What skills did you find beneficial after college that you learned in your Anthropology classes?

Anthropology has definitely helped me in my job. I work with students coming from many different cultures and taking anthropology encouraged me to learn more about their backgrounds. It has also, in some way, helped me remain calm and open-minded with the kids. I have to remember that I don’t know their home life and immediately punishing them might make matters worse. I try to understand where the student is coming from and help them work through their issues that way.


What would you tell a future anthropology student about searching for a career?

I would tell future anthropology students that having a degree in anthropology can help immensely when looking for a job. In almost any career you could have, you will be working with people. Having an immense understanding of people, how they came to be, and being able to see other cultures as their own and not “different” or “weird” can put you in a really good spot in an interview. I thoroughly enjoyed my time I spent in the anthropology department at Ball State and I hope more students have the same positive experience as me.

For more information about the Department of Anthropology, visit our website, contact our office or follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Read more CSH Alumni stories on our Cardinal Directions page.