Alena Reich

2011 Major: Evolutionary Anthropology; Minor in Chemistry

Currently: The Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University — Augusta, Georgia

How has being an Evolutionary Anthropology graduate from Duke helped shape your professional success?

"Pursuing a major in Evolutionary Anthropology was the best decision I made while attending Duke in terms of my professional career goals. I chose the major as a way to study human anatomy and do applicable research in my mission to attend dental school. My major allowed me to meet similar-minded peers, engage in meaningful research, and establish mentors in both a dentist, Dr. Keels, and a researcher, Dr. Wall, within the department. Ultimately, my interest in craniofacial morphology that bloomed during my time at Duke led me to pursue a career in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. I am currently in the last year of my residency, and I am so thankful for my time at Duke, especially my experience in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology."

What advice would you give students in Evolutionary Anthropology?

"Explore! Evolutionary Anthropology allows you to take a wide breadth of classes that may suit your specific interests, whether it be dentistry or primate field research. Duke offers a variety of classes in other fields, such as Psychology, that can also be applicable the major. Don't limit yourself but rather diversify your curriculum so you can experience all Duke has to offer. Take classes that interest you and make contacts within the department. Since EvAnth is a more intimate major, you have the opportunity to have meaningful engagements with your peers and professors alike. Seek out research opportunities! My experience in research was so rewarding and provided me the foundation to continue giving back to the dental profession through research in dental school and during my orthodontic residency. My mentors were thoughtful, extremely knowledgeable, and caring. I am so thankful for my experience in research at Duke which has continued into my professional career. My love of the Duke Evolutionary Anthropology Department is endless!"