57: AnthroNews: EmpFresnoState Blog

14 04 2009

[The following is from the blog of the Anthropology, Engineering, and Entrepreneurship]

by Dalitso Ruwe
Have to admit, I felt it was going to be a daunting task when I was asked to coordinate a design workshop for our potential target audience for our product. Sure the folks at IDEO made it look easy when we watched their video in class but things often are different in reality than what we see on the screen. Nevertheless, I welcomed the challenge as an aspiring Social Scientist/Entrepreneur.
Using ethnography techniques I have been exposed to in class, Dr. Delcore and I were able to come up with three ideal prompts for our pilot workshop. For the first workshop we solicited eight local musicians who are pretty well established in town and have been acquainted with each other either through a mutual friend or played at the same venue. As the attendees began to come in and converse about various projects they are all working on, I began to realize that whichever marketing guru ever said “Your customers don’t know what they want” must have been in a closed room working as a “lone genius” trying to come up with the next best marketing idea. Listening to the conversation going on in the room it was apparent that no one knows more about your product than your customers who interact with the product on a daily basis and often cover up their frustration with the products by finding innovative ways to supplement what the original product lacks or go buy a different product.




22 05 2008

By Jim Mullooly

Student: Hey AnthroGeek, what’s “the missing link”?

AnthroGeek: Historically, this was a “black box”, id est (i.e., “i.e.,”) an over-generalized reference for some sort of primate postulated to bridge the evolutionary gap between anthropoid apes and humans. Although an outdated term, some might use this term to refer to fellow anthropology majors – who have yet to attend a department reception!

Student: Oh, I get it, a joke. real funny, yeah, ha ha

50: AnthroNews: Interdiciplineary Team Wins Big

20 05 2008

On Saturday, May 3, an interdisciplinary team of engineering, entrepreneurship, and anthropology students from Fresno State traveled to San Jose State University to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Region 6 Central Area Meeting. There, competing against teams from UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis, and University of Hawaii and elsewhere, the Fresno State team won the Design competition and a prize of $500 for their re-design of a voice activated TV remote control. The team, composed of Hitender Sidhu, Nino Viray and William Hyatt of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Brent Estrada of the Craig School Entrepreneurship Program, and Jennifer Jones of the Department of Anthropology, has been working on the project this academic year in a new interdisciplinary course offered jointly by Electrical and Computer Engineering, Anthropology, and Entrepreneurship. They will continue on to the national IEEE design competition this August.

A second interdisciplinary team from the same course competed on May 2 in the Interprofessional Projects (IPRO) competition at Illinois Institute of Technology. The team, with Julio Alvarez and Cynthia Lee of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Aaron Metzler of the Craig School Entrepreneurship Program, and Jason Scroggins of the Department of Anthropology, placed second in the business plan portion of the competition, against teams from IIT, Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, and elsewhere. IRPO competition is one of the toughest in the country with many teams spending two years on completing their projects.

Funding for the program comes from a grant by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. Professor Hank Delcore is the Project Director of the two year NCIIA grant. Funding for travel was provided by both the NCIIA grant and the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Timothy M. Stearns
Coleman Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies
Executive Director, Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
California State University, Fresno

49: AnthroNews: SWAA Panel

1 05 2008

By Jason Scroggins and Alecia Barela

Four Anthro students, and Professor Mullooly, presented a panel at the
annual Southwestern Anthropological Association (SWAA) conference April 11th at CSUF. Our panel’s theme was “Imagining a Brighter Future for the San Joaquin Valley”. The team’s research represented applied efforts in analyzing issues within the valley, including equity, access, and intercultural conflict and innovation.

Our presentations weaved together the work performed by the Institute for Public Anthropology over the last year:
Alecia Barela introduced the contesting paradoxical identities of a hospice thrift shop.
Bethany Ranson lectured on the digital divide existing in rural areas of the San Joaquin Valley.
Jason Scroggins presented the construction of a new restaurant paging system.
Heather Cruz focused on the necessity for Interpreting Services and cultural sensitivity in the health care industry.
Prof. Mullooly presented the power and pitfalls of employing Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) software in anthropological research.

A few newcomers to SWAA were apprehensive about presenting, but were relieved to find a welcoming atmosphere at the conference. The environment was non-competitive and conducive to the free-exchange of information and ideas. Among the panel attendees was Professor Jan English-Lueck from the Applied Anthropology program at San Jose St. and Fresno State’s very own Dr. Sydney Story. Dr. Story’s dissertation Spiritual Christians in Mexico: Profile of a Russian Village is a must read for everyone interested in the Anthropology of Religion. In a note of local interest there is also a Molokan settlement in the town of Kerman, 5 miles from Fresno. Perhaps an enterprising student should take a look.

Presenting at the SWAA conference was a gratifying experience. The coming together and meeting with one’s colleagues was a memorable and encouraging opportunity. All aspiring anthropologists should definitely consider partaking in next year’s 80th meeting of SWAA.

(From left to right; Bethany Ranson, Jason Scroggins, Heather Cruz, Dr. Mullooly, Alecia Barela)



49: Coprolites Shed New Light On Past

1 05 2008

by Ashlee Dotson

New evidence pushes the time frame of human habitation of North America back by at least 1,000 years. A team, led by Dennis L. Jenkins, an archaeologist at the University of Oregon, working in the Paisley Caves in the Cascade Range in Oregon found coprolites, also known as fossilized feces, that contains human DNA and dates to around 14,000 years old. This evidence supports the findings of other parts of the Americas.

The caves had some artifacts, including baskets, animal hides and bone, and a few projectile points, but there was not a large quantity and nothing that links the inhabitants to Clovis technology. The limited number of artifacts suggests that the caves were used for a short stay.

Because of the new evidence that pre-dates the Clovis complex it is clear that the previous migration theory must be reevaluated. The theory had been that humans crossed the land bridge after the glaciers that had blocked their way melted. With the new dates the melting would not have occurred and the Bering land bridge would have been an insurmountable obstacle.

For more information go to http://www.latimes.com and search coprolites.

49: Anthropologist of the Fortnight

1 05 2008

By Chrystal Kinsella

Julian Steward (1902 – 1972) first got bachelor degrees in Zoology and Biology at Cornel University. He then went to UC Berkley and obtained his Ph.D. in Anthropology.
Steward had a multilinear theory of evolution in which he theorized that cultures had many different ways of evolving, and there was no universal standard to this. He believed that the cultures environment directly effected the cultures development. The culture would adapt to their environment and evolve accordingly. In his theory, Steward paid no attention to kinship systems; it was all about the evolution in relation to the surrounding environment.
Steward was a part of the first research team to look at all aspects of all the cultures in a specific area, and how they interacted with each other. They examined everything, including economics, ecology, and politics. He is noted for his work on cultural ecology and cross cultural laws.

49: Quotation of the Fortnight

1 05 2008

“There are no theories unless based upon fact but facts exist only within the context of a theory.”

-Julian Steward