Zack Hausrath (Class of 2009)

  • enlarged photo of Zack Hausrath atop Himalayan peakAnthropology major
  • from northern Kentucky
  • field coordinator/teacher's assistant for the Miami University Tibetan Studies Program
  • conducted research in Brazil as Undergraduate Summer Scholar


"Hello, I'm Zack Hausrath. I became interested in anthropology after taking a summer course following my sophomore year. The Peoples and Cultures of the World course taught me about human societies different from my own and stressed the importance of responsible research methods and of ethical engagement with people from other cultures. My involvement with the Department of Anthropology and ensuing research opportunities have strengthened my resume, and fostered an understanding of other ways of living and thinking.


My advice to students is that the best path may not always be the easiest. I took a semester off to cook at a hunting lodge in Idaho before returning to Miami to make the Dean's list three semesters in a row, and conduct independent research on two different continents. Anything is possible. You just have to challenge yourself.


"The Western College Program brought me to Miami. The idea of being able to create a major based on numerous interests excited me, and seemed to be what I needed. But when I learned about the anthropology department's four-field approach, which combines archaeology, cultural, biological, and linguistic anthropology, I realized that this one discipline encompassed many of the subjects I desired to study, and with the help of my professors, I was able to do so.

"And that truly is the nice thing about Miami. My expressed interest in pursuing knowledge outside of class was met with open arms and open minds by my professors, who soon after became my mentors and my friends. They were able to show me outlets for research and scholarship that best matched my experiences as a person and ambitions as a researcher.

"During my last semester at Miami I was given the chance to be an integral part of the setup of the new linguistic anthropology lab. As part of an independent study, I created a visual ethnography from scratch. Under the supervision of our professor, my colleague, Justin Landers, and I studied processes of film and film editing, issues of representation, interview techniques, and components of visual anthropology, written by both historic and current scholars in the field. My involvement was strictly a result of continued commitment to research, fueled by the willingness of my professors, and the Department of Anthropology to support such endeavors."

Tibetan Studies Program

enlarged photo of Zack Hausrath and Geshe Kalsang Damdul"My involvement with the Tibetan Studies Program during the summer of 2008 inspired me to lead the Students for a Free Tibet campaign on campus during the 2008-2009 school year, and to return to Dharamsala, India, during the Fall 2009, as field coordinator and teacher's assistant. It was the perfect opportunity to continue immersion in the academic community after graduation.

"I worked with undergraduate students as a research assistant. I was able to help generate ideas for the development of independent research projects, often helping students in connecting with members of the Tibetan community. I accompanied students to interviews, arranged transportation, and assisted with analysis and transcription of conducted interviews. I acted as a liaison between the program directors and the students, and worked to organize and maintain fast-changing lecture and field trip schedules.

"I also got to climb mountains in the Himalayas. It was the chance of a lifetime."

2008 Undergraduate Summer Scholars

"My professors encouraged me to apply for the Undergraduate Summer Scholars award, which I used to conduct research in Brazil. My experiences in Bahia have allowed me to more clearly view the extent to which the well-being of the environment and less powerful social groups often take a back seat when viewed in the context of continuous economic growth and accumulation of wealth.

"I lived with and interviewed several small farmers in rural Bahia, who were faced with rigorous economic hardships during the five years leading up to the ownership of their land. Working on forest restoration initiatives in the Atlantic rain forest allowed me to view the tangible processes of hiring, training, and educating local people for their use in community projects, and the resulting positive effects."

After Graduation

"It is my hope that the knowledge gained from experiences at Miami and abroad can be applied to the communities within which I live and work. I will be attending graduate school in the fall.

"My advice to students is that the best path may not always be the easiest. I took a semester off to cook at a hunting lodge in Idaho before returning to Miami to make the Dean's list three semesters in a row, and conduct independent research on two different continents. Anything is possible. You just have to challenge yourself."

[January 2010]