What motivated you to pursue a PhD?
People pursue PhDs for a number of different reasons and I don’t believe my decision to return to grad school was motivated by any single factor. Archaeology offers the possibility of working in the lab, teaching and conducting field research. Lab work can be very analytical, working with students is extremely gratifying and fieldwork ensures that I get to travel and work outdoors. As I consider opportunities that may arise in the future, a PhD in archaeology is one way that I can continue to enjoy all of these elements in my life and professional career.
What are your current research interests in anthropology?
Prehistoric archaeology, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), human responses to environmental uncertainty–past and present, environmental sustainability and disability advocacy.
What would you tell prospective students about your PhD education at UB? What opportunities have become available to you through the program and/or the university?
As a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at UB, I have experienced a number of opportunities to conduct research in exotic places that include the Russian Far East (Kamchatka Peninsula), northern Europe, the Aleutian Islands and Sri Lanka. On UB campus I have developed relationships and collaborated with a broad spectrum of amazing people across a number of disciplines and fields of study. Opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, career development and working with a diverse faculty are just a few of the experiences a PhD student can expect upon entering the graduate program in Anthropology at UB.
What are your future goals?
Continue my research, teach and always make anthropology/archaeology relevant to real-world concerns.
Hans, do you have any additional thoughts, comments, or recommendations for future graduate students interested in pursuing a MA/PhD in anthropology at UB?
UB is a great place to pursue a PhD. Faculty and staff in the Department of Anthropology are internationally recognized as leaders and experts in the field. Advisors play an active role in encouraging and supporting their graduate students and frequently help facilitate career advancement after graduation.
Hans Harmsen received his PhD in 2016 from the Department of Anthropology.