Hefner on the job at the University of Florida's C. A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory (right). Courtesy of Joseph T. Hefner.
Degree: B.S. in Anthropology; minor in History
Profession: Research assistant at the C. A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory, University of Florida; Ph. D. student
Work: At the lab, I work on forensic cases from all over Florida, assisting in analysis.
When I'm not at the lab or in class, I'm working on my own research on nonmetric skeletal variation, quantitative methods in forensic anthropology, and determination of ancestry using metric and nonmetric analysis.
Why Western? I'm not sure I selected Western so much as it selected me. I fell in love with the area, the people, and the lifestyle.
Your Western experience: The biggest impact was my growth as an intellectual. My advisors actively encouraged growth in all aspects of anthropology.
How did your studies contribute to your career choice? Anthropology at Western provided me with such a broad background, that I needed only to make my choice. [Professors] Jane Brown and Ann Rogers provided me with a life-changing opportunity: human skeletal remains. I was given the opportunity to analyze bones, and I've never looked back.
Advice for students: Get all of the experience that you can. Don't sit idly by and wait for it to come to you. Go and get it.
Into the future: I'd like to graduate in the next few years and secure a teaching position at a university with a strong commitment to research so that I might convey to others my excitement for anthropology.
"I was given the opportunity to analyze bones, and I've never looked back." Hefner at Western, 1995 (left). Courtesy of Joseph T. Hefner.