Anna Cheng

2015 Major: Evolutionary Anthropology; Minors in Chemistry and Visual Arts

Currently: MD Candidate, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine — Tampa, Florida; HHMI Medical Research Fellow — Boston, Massachusetts

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

"The Evolutionary Anthropology major helped me in many ways for medical school and my future career. Taking courses such as Primate Anatomy and Primate Sexuality have helped lay a unique foundation for medical school. Being exposed to the evolutionary aspect of anatomy and sexuality (especially the physiological hallmarks of sex) allowed me to understand concepts taught in medical school in a deeper sense. It also allowed for the material I learned in medical school to be somewhat fresh as I learned the basic concepts in a different yet relatable context. The Evolutionary Anthropology major also prepped me as a future physician-scientist. I learned the basics of scientific thinking in capstone courses such as Ethics in Evolutionary Anthropology and Human Evolutionary Genomics. Through these courses, I gathered the necessary tools and ways of thinking for me to succeed as a scientist."

What advice would you give students in Evolutionary Anthropology?

"I suggest taking courses in the field that are interesting to you in addition to the required courses for the major. I also suggest finding a mentor and a research project in Evolutionary Anthropology! The department is small and homey, and all of the professors I have met are very open to teaching students in an environment outside of the classroom."