Andrés working on a laptop in class

College to Career Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Andrés Romero, Ph.D. '22

Since earning his Ph.D. in anthropology in 2022, Dr. Andrés Romero has become an assistant professor at Rollins College, where he also contributes to the global health program and Latin American and Caribbean studies programs.

His career path, which includes multiple visiting professorships and a pre-doctoral fellowship, showcases the diverse opportunities available to anthropology graduates. This interview explores how Wayne State helped shape Romero's career, his current role and responsibilities, and some valuable advice for future Warriors.

How did your training in anthropology help to shape your career?

My training as a cultural and medical anthropologist allowed me to be suitable for a range of positions concerned with everything from visual culture, literary ethnography and Latin American studies, to work in global health, the medical humanities and the anthropology of violence. Such specializations on a diverse set of inquiries have really helped me excel in teaching at a liberal arts college where interdisciplinary and creative modes of inquiry and practice are expected.

The same can be said about my work as a researcher and anthropologist, since my training allowed me to conduct work within state and clinical institutions, within displaced communities living on the streets of Colombia, as much as working through state archives and other visual and multi-modal material. 

What is a typical day at work like for you?

I get to have lots of fun teaching and mentoring students. I get to think closely about pressing issues with a generation of students who are creative, kind and have had it with the world and are eager to change it. I teach roundtable seminars and in small classroom settings where the class space is introduced as a space of community, a kind of field site where the goal is to think with others; and to actively learn from others on the spot. Here and there, my goal is to bring levity and joy, especially since we are tasked to discuss some of the most troubling conditions this world faces.

How have your experiences in Wayne State's anthropology program affected your career choices and preparation for the job you have now?

At Wayne State, I taught a lot as a graduate student and was also given the space to undertake two years of ethnographic fieldwork. Both experiences, teaching extensively as an instructor of record and conducting long-term research that developed into really promising work, helped to really prepare me as an anthropologist and professor. At Wayne State, I worked with a really supportive committee and got to work with some of the most kindest and present mentors ever. Receiving the level of existential generosity and presence from people like Todd Meyers is the reason why I’m a close mentor to my students now and why I decided to stay with the troubles of a field as complicated as anthropology.

Why would you recommend WSU and/or our anthropology program to prospective students? What makes the program or university distinct from other options they might be considering?

The ability to carve your own path. There are really great teachers in this department. In terms of what makes the program distinct is the department’s mode of training students for roles outside of academia. Long before this became a trend, Wayne State’s anthro faculty as a public-facing department, made this focus on training anthropologists who can and should work outside of academia their priority. I carry this ethos forward, as I am now training anthropologists to work in an array of professions including law, medicine and community work. One last thing: Detroit. You get to live in one of the most fascinating cities in the world.