Student Spotlight: Audrey Koestler

Audrey Koestler

Audrey Koestler
Major: Anthropology

Audrey Koestler took "Intro to Cultural Anthropology" at College of DuPage to fulfill a General Education requirement. What happened next amazed her.

"I only had a vague idea of what constituted the field of Anthropology," she explained. "All I remember thinking the first day of Dr. (Alex) Bolyanatz's class was 'Oh thank goodness, there's no term paper!' I did not at all anticipate how much the subject would fascinate me."

But fascinate it did. And Koestler finds it difficult to succinctly describe why she likes Anthropology.

"I love the rigor of the discipline, the obvious joy of its practitioners and the opportunities that Anthropology presents," she said. "I adore that it is imminently practical and that the skills you learn even from an introductory course can be applied in one's life. Anthropology is not a field limited to academia by any stretch of the imagination."

Koestler finish her associate's degree and transferred to the University of California-Santa Barbara, where she earned her bachelor's degree and received numerous honors from the Anthropology department: the Distinction in the Major for the completion of an honors thesis, titled "Adaptive Height Preferences and Risks of Cephalopelvic Disproportion"; the Award for Academic Excellence; and the Outstanding Senior Transfer Award.

In addition, she was one of six graduating women to receive cash prizes from the Santa Barbara City Club, whose members decades ago created the program out of a desire to reward the campus' top female graduates for their academic efforts and achievements. The City Club Prize, one of the largest undergraduate cash awards in the nation, is divided annually among the highest academically achieving women majoring in a social science at UCSB. Koestler received $8,000, the largest amount awarded in 2013.

She will continue at UCSB as a graduate student and hopes to work with the Center for Evolutionary Psychology and plans to earn a doctorate. Koestler is glad she attended COD, which allowed her to explore her academic options.

"I've always been impressed with the quality of the professors here," she said. "COD provided me with an excellent foundation so I could transfer to a four-year university. The ability to stumble upon something as amazing as Anthropology while having the opportunity to pursue a number of courses in the department helped me refine my long-term goals. I definitely owe Dr. Bolyanatz dinner!

"My advice for any student is that whatever course you are taking, take advantage of your professor's office hours. You might find out that the class you were planning on skimming through is going to be your life's work."

More about the Anthropology program