Jet Lag Can’t Touch This Student! dayonni e1539858680830
18 Oct 2018

Jet Lag Can’t Touch This Student!

 Dayonni Phillips participates in ‘Diversity in Anthropology’ program in Minneapolis

One of CYA’s own, Dayonni Phillips (pictured: far right), recently flew from Athens to Minneapolis for a three-day graduate diversity recruitment weekend titled ‘Diversity in Anthropology’ at the University of Minnesota. Media Lab intern, Kalei Oliver (an anthropology major like Dayonni), interviewed her to learn more about her all-expenses-paid recruitment weekend in the States.

Dayonni Phillips is a junior at the University of Notre Dame, with a double major in Anthropology and Africana Studies and a minor in International Development Studies. At CYA, she is taking courses in anthropology, archaeology, theater, and philosophy.

Dayonni was invited by the University of Minnesota to participate in a graduate school recruitment weekend from September 26-28 through the Anthropology department at the University of Minnesota. The program is designed for students who are historically underrepresented in Anthropology and Geography and Environment and Society graduate programs. Its aim is to familiarize participants with strategies for constructing successful graduate school applications.

Over the summer, Dayonni received an email from the university with an invitation to apply to the program. After submitting a personal statement and a letter of recommendation, at the end of July Dayonni heard that she had earned a free trip to Minnesota! “I was a little worried when I told them I would be flying to the United States from Athens but they were ok with this!” she said. All of the students at CYA were surprised to hear Dayonni would be making the 10+ hour plane ride and entering a very different time zone for just the weekend. Those of us who have experienced jet lag were mightily impressed with Dayonni’s ability to make it to class on time when she returned on Monday morning!

The program itself had “a full on schedule with back-to-back meetings,” Dayonni told us. Before leaving, she filled out a survey that listed her interests in biological anthropology, sociocultural anthropology, and archaeology. Upon arrival, an itinerary was set up for her, with one-on-one meetings with professors in each of those subfields. They showed her information about “graduate school, fellowships, and everything!” Everyone she met was kind and helpful and Dayonni told us enthusiastically that “they funded everything- the plane, the meals. It was awesome!”

Dayonni was particularly excited about sitting in on a class about racial capitalism. She says: “We got to not only sit in but they let us join in the conversation. It was cool to see the discussions at graduate level. The students were going back and forth with discourse, ideas, theories – it was so inspiring!”

The experience opened Dayonni’s eyes to a lot of things; before she attended the recruitment weekend, she was debating whether to pursue higher education in archaeology or sociocultural anthropology, but she told us that “seeing the different opportunities they have, I saw more where I fit in. I think also sitting in on the graduate class helped me sort of narrow things down and made me realize I really love sociocultural anthropology”.

A quick weekend away, like this trip, must have been a whirlwind of travel, but Dayonni is well-versed in traveling to new places and trying new things. During past summers, she has participated in biological excavation and sociocultural research in Ireland, Poland, islands off the Coast of Mexico, and Peru! Now in Greece, Dayonni is loving the study abroad experience. “Of all the places I’ve been, I definitely love Greek culture and the environment around here,” she says. “It’s super friendly, super safe, people are so nice! I just love being in new places, and being able to live somewhere for longer than two months or a summer is super”.

Studying abroad has brought Dayonni a sense of independence, and as she was leaving Minnesota, she said she was just itching to get back to Athens!