Students and Alumni
Debra Mckeown

BA in Anthropology, University of South Florida, 1996 
MA in Anthropology, CUHK, 2008
Home Town: USA 

I was a unique student at CUHK’s MA program in Anthropology, but ask around: everyone in the program has a unique situation. The diversity in the cohort is one of the strengths of the program. I have a background in Anthro, but it had been so long since I studied it, I needed a refresher. Since I am an older student (mid-30’s, with plenty of similar aged people in my cohort to talk to!) wanting to continue my education through to a PhD, I needed to see if I could return to being a student successfully. As a professional teacher, I was accustomed to being in the front of the classroom, but in the Anthropology program, I found that I could be just as happy learning as teaching. Not only did I get that “refresher” in Anthro, I learned so much that I never knew! I was exposed to classic texts as well as modern ethnographies. Most importantly, I learned to “think anthropologically”. These critical thinking skills should be foundational to every education, but I can attest – it’s never to late to learn them! 

Now, I am entering a PhD program at Vanderbilt University in the US, the top ranked school for my program in Education where I will use Anthropological methodology to study international education issues. I was admitted to nine of the ten schools to which I applied, including Columbia and Stanford. I have no doubt that my time in CUHK’s MA program is what led to my admission success. If you want to have your choice of top ranked and ivy league schools, this program is a great step towards that goal. You will learn to think in new ways and get support from professors who graduated from those universities. Most importantly, it’s a year spent having clarifying and critical discussions with a group of people with widely varying perspectives about theoretical and practical issues related to life. Regardless of your future ambitions, this program will enrich your life.

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