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1st Student's Major

Anthropology

1st Student's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Students' Professional Biography

Nathan Edward Meyer is a native of Mankato, Minnesota. He graduated from Mankato West High School in 2002 with honors. After graduating he represented his high school at the National Forensic League Policy Debate Tournament in Charlotte, N.C., finishing 9th in the nation. After deciding not to pursue debate at the college level and because of his strong emotional attachment to Mankato he has focused his academic career on making meaningful changes in this community. As an Ethnic Studies and Anthropology double major at Minnesota State University–Mankato from 2000 to 2006, Nate was fortunate to learn from caring and socially conscious faculty. In the fall of 2006 Nate will continue his education at Minnesota State University – Mankato as a graduate assistant in the anthropology department. Ultimately Nate hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in anthropology and become a professor. Currently Nate focuses his studies on the needs of refugees and immigrants in the Mankato area as well as how gender roles can change as people are displaced. Through his research and experiences as a service-learner at different community organizations as an undergraduate Nate became aware of the need for students become involved in the community. As a graduate student Nate will work to provide more opportunities for anthropology students to learn, “outside of the classroom.” He also is interested in evolutionary psychology and human behavioral ecology. More specifically Nate often focuses his studies in gender/women’s issues as well as the needs of others who endure discrimination and oppression.

Mentor's Name

Susan Schalge

Mentor's Email Address

susan.schalge@mnsu.edu

Mentor's Department

Anthropology

Mentor's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

Community Assistance for Refugees is a non-profit service organization in downtown Mankato, Minnesota. Secondary migration to southern Minnesota has increased the refugee population as well as the need for research assessing the needs and concerns of refugees. The purpose of this project was two-fold: first to analyze how C.A.R. is able to meet the needs of its clients and second, to investigate ways in which C.A.R. could improve its services. Traditionally female refugees are less educated and less mainstreamed into American society. This research was designed to help all clients, but special attention was paid to the specific needs of female refugees. By conducting participant observations (volunteering at C.A.R. and recording observations) and ethnographic interviews (semi-structured, open-ended interviews) qualitative data was collected from clients and staff. The majority of clients interviewed were from East Africa and were fleeing violence. Paperwork issues (usually green card or citizenship applications) were the most common reason for client visits to C.A.R. Other client concerns included: language difficulties, discrimination, time management and weather. Staff interviews yielded a glimpse into the struggle of running a successful non-profit service organization. The difficulties and challenges of cross-gender/cross-cultural communication are discussed, as well as suggestions for more effective communication strategies. Finally, conclusions are offered that center on future research options, recommendations to C.A.R. and the Mankato community, and how gender roles have changed for refugees who have came to America.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

 

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