Craig Meiners, alumni spotlight
Craig Meiners, alumni spotlight
Craig Meiners completed his master's degree at Wayne State University in 2018 with a focus on business and organizational anthropology. He participated in multiple projects as a graduate student like the Chevrolet “Call Me Out” project and organizing the Global Business Anthropology Summit with Dr. Batteau.
The Chevrolet “Call Me Out” project had a group of 10 students from the Anthropology program working to develop an app to reduce texting and driving specifically among college-aged students. Craig Meiners was able to participate in the whole progression of the project from recruiting and testing the app to organizing focus groups with the participants. The focus groups were able to dig into how people were using the app, improvements of the app, and how effective it was in reducing texting and driving.
Craig Meiners explained, “Really they found it was effective in changing that behavior because a lot of people understood texting and driving was wrong. But all admitted to checking their phone because it is such an immediate response when the phone goes off. This really helped get people out of that cycle from hearing a loved one’s personal voice message.”
Also, Meiners helped organize the Global Business Anthropology Summit where leaders in the field of business anthropology, both inside and outside of academics, were brought together. The workshop was a two-day-long event where people were able to pose questions about the role of anthropologists in the business world and their responsibility. Meiners played a crucial role in this event where he was planning with the venue, working with caters and event planners, and fundraising for the event. This event was successful that it was organized again the next year where it had grown even more.
Currently, Meiners works for a publishing company doing consumer insights, where he specializes in qualitative research. He runs beta tests and works with product development and testing those in the real world while providing feedback for the next iteration of the product. His background in anthropology has played a crucial role in his position, “First of all cementing and being able to use diverse research methods such as interviewing, process analysis, and uncover insights are essential skills.
Another big thing is interacting with people because in cultural anthropology you are out, you are mingling, you are learning and asking questions, and really those are very valuable skills that have helped get me to where I am especially in consumer insights which can be heavily focused on numbers but having that ability to talk to people and tie back to the numbers is important.”
His advice to anthropology students is to network. He explained, “It doesn’t have to be a big network at first, but what I found in the business anthropology community there are so many great people willing to talk to you. This can feel intimidating as I went through undergraduate and graduate school these were the people I was studying, and I felt unworthy, but they are so willing to talk to you. I was shocked as to how kind and nice they were.
Find people you can trust and bounce ideas off of, and they might not all have jobs available, but they will have other connections that can help.” Also, he believes in interacting with the departments' professors. He concluded, “Just having conversations is important and the professors were a great place to start until I was able to find and grow my own network who were doing business anthropology.”