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Introductory Letters

Sample Introductory Letter #1

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing for information regarding internship or undergraduate research opportunities that may be taking place at [name of institution] during this coming summer.

Currently, I am a college student in my junior year at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), majoring in Anthropology/Archaeology. I have taken basic through advanced undergraduate courses in archaeology, anthropology, and geology, as well as other required liberal studies courses, maintaining to date a 4.0 (A) grade point average. I have completed a required six-week archaeological field school this past summer. I have also participated in a number of other shorter CRM “digs” here in Pennsylvania as part of the crew.

I am interested in obtaining additional experience in archaeology before completing my undergraduate work at IUP. I have a particular interest in human osteology and would be especially pleased to find an opportunity to work in a lab setting, studying human remains, and/or excavating human remains. Also, I am quite familiar with the use of the (IBM) personal computer in general data processing and analysis and in report preparation; and I would be interested in participating in the use and development of computer software in the managing and interpretation of archaeological/osteological data.

Please send any available information relation to undergraduate internships and/or research participation opportunities at [name of institution], including applications, deadlines, associated fees or stipends, housing arrangements, room/board, etc.

Thank you for your kind attention to this request.

Yours truly,

Matthew P. Rhode

Sample Introductory Letter #2

Dear Ms. Boulis:

As requested, I have enclosed a vita along with two letters of recommendation as part of my application for a summer internship at the University Museum. Because of my participation in the Summer Field School at IUP, I would not be able to start my internship until July. However, the dates are not firm, and there is some degree of flexibility regarding the date upon which I would be able to start my internship.

There are several goals which I hope to accomplish through this internship. First, I would like to gain experience as a professional in the field of anthropology. In the process, I hope to gain a working knowledge of the functioning of a museum. Second, I would like the opportunity to utilize the skills that I have acquired (please see vita). I would also like to come into contact with other professionals in the field so that I might become more aware of career opportunities that are open to me. Ultimately, I hope to be exposed to the many different facets of anthropology in order to aid me in deciding an a specialty in graduate school.

Through this internship experience, I hope to obtain six credits toward my undergraduate degree. In order to do this, it is necessary that I meet IUP’s internship requirements including a project report. Anthropology internship coordinators will send you more information regarding the specific requirements).

As my internship coordinator informed you on the phone, IUP has an application deadline for internships in April. It would be greatly appreciated if you would contact me at the above address or the following phone number as soon as possible regarding my internship application. You can reach me by e-mail or at the following phone number: 412-357-3572. Thank you very much for you time and effort. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Katherine J. Ruppel

Sample Statement of Purpose #1


Statement of Purpose

Osteological Internship

Matthew P. Rhode

I have had an interest in osteology for a number of years now. My interest in this subject began with the plethora of TV programs that dealt with Egyptians and mummies I had seen as a young child. This predisposition to subjects relating to Egyptians and mummies led me to write a number of papers on mummification and ancient middle eastern civilizations during my time in high school. The information I gained from those papers and my general interest in ancient civilization and ancient peoples then led me to pursue a degree in Archaeology. However, as I have taken a number of courses in Anthropology and Archaeology, I have come to find that my interests really lie in studies that deal with the skeletal remains of past cultures—more importantly, human skeletal populations. Questions posed to the archaeologist about culture that stem from the examination of skeletal materials fascinate me. Trying to figure out the sex, age, stature, race, health, or cause of death of an individual is to me is a very valuable facet of Archaeological research. When osteological data is combined with other Archaeological information (subsistence, housing, tool use, etc.) a researcher can begin to finally gain an understanding for just exactly what “culture” is.

Presently, I have only had three courses that required me to directly deal with human remains and burial customs. These courses are Anthropology of Bone, Archaeological Research Design and Analysis, and Archaeology and the Bible. Through these courses, I have been introduced by course work or discovery to basic osteological analysis, burial customs, cremations, and designing Archaeological research projects. Through participation in an internship. I feel that I would be trying to attain several goals. First, I want to be introduced to real osteological analysis, to affirm or negate my interest in this field. Second, if I find I am truly interested in this subject, I want to see what the actual areas of research are that one could pursue. This involves learning what the essential literature is for an osteological researcher. Thirdly, a major goal would be to attain hands-on experience in recording information from bones and then placing that data in computer programs and getting results that would be used to make reliable determinations about the skeletal materials.

I feel that I would be able to perform well during an internship because I have a basic knowledge in a number of osteological techniques. I know how to identify human bones and differentiate them from faunal remains. I also know how to determine the sex, age, and race of a skeleton. This determination is based on such things as examination of the medial surface of the pubic symphsis, use of the phenice method, and non-metric variables. I know how to conduct research and am able to pull relevant information out of articles on a specific top. In the area of research, I have done research on the burial customs of the Israelites of the second temple period in Palestine. I have also conducted a research project on cremated remains that are of supposed Hohokam origin. During that research project, I was able to apply my abilities of identification to figure out specific human bones from an extremely fragmented sample. I also have a number of other skills, such as: Computer Literacy (and willingness to work with computers), general knowledge of Biological Anthropology, North American Archaeology, Archaeological field methods, extensive field experience (digging, mapping, surveying, etc.), Cultural Anthropology, and Geology (physical, historical).

Overall, I hope you see that I have a good foundation of knowledge in a number of important osteological fields. Through this internship, I would like to get my first taste of hands-on intensive osteological analysis. By having such an experience, I can learn about techniques, tools, and literature that can help me when I continue on to graduate school.

Sample Statement of Purpose #2

(for the Internship Application to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences)


Statement of Purpose

Visual Anthropology Field School

Josh Shaughnessy

For my internship, I am participating in an ethnographic field school on the island of Malta. The internship will entail three parts: a period of background resaerch that will be conducted before I leave for Malta (two weeks); a three week field study in Malta; followed by a one week period to write up my research results and final paper. This field component will be from July 28 to August 16. During the field school, there will be lectures on the history and culture of Malta and I will develop and implement my own research project. In addition to the field school I will be taking a class on anthropological photography.

I have several goals that I hope to accomplish during my time in Malta. I hope to get first-hand experience with ethnographic research and analysis. Also, this is an opportunity for me to be immersed into another culture with different beliefs and traditions. My goal is to have a better understanding of the culture and traditions of Malta, set up my own research project, and do personal fieldwork pertaining to my project. This internship will enable me to have valuable, hands on experience with fieldwork and ethnographic research, which will prepare me for future fieldwork during graduate school and during my career. In addition, the experience in a different culture will benefit me in my understanding of other cultures and their traditions that may not be similar to my own. Also the anthropological photography class will improve my ability to document other cultures with still photography. I am very interested in the field of visual anthropology and this class is a great opportunity to develop and improve my skills.

During this field school I will be participating on several activities. During the week I will be taking classes on anthropology with a concentration on Maltese culture. After each class we will be doing fieldwork related to the class such as researching Maltese social life or their food practices. During this time I will be splitting my time with classes with personal fieldwork and research aimed towards my personal research project. On the first weekend I will be visiting a traditional religious feast and on the second weekend time will be devoted to organizing my personal research. At the end of the field school, my research will be evaluated and archived before I leave. Before I leave for the field school, I will be doing several weeks of research on the Maltese culture and developing a plan for personal research.

Research Plan

Weeks 1-2: Research on Maltese culture and research project. Prepare annotated bibliography on all sources reviewed.

Week 3: Travel to Malta and join the field group. Participate in overview orientation of Malta, attend lectures on history, religion, and cultural life of Malta.

Week 4: Participate in Malta field research on foodways and collect data for individual project. Participate in visual anthropology lectures and practicum.

Week 5: Complete data collection, participate in courses on Maltese architecture and economics, use photography to compile a visual ethnography of Malta. Compile data with other field school participants to database.

Week 6: Return travel. Use original data collected in Malta and background readings to complete final paper, which will be a written and photographic ethnography of Malta.

Evaluation of Student Performance:

I will be graded on the basis of submitting the following materials for evaluation:

Annotated bibliography of background literature on history, culture, and architecture of Malta: 20%

Daily journals completed to document the work in progress: 30%

Self evaluation statement at completion of internship: 10%

Final project paper- Visual Ethnography of Malta: 40%

Bibliography:

Badger, George P. Historical Guide to Malta and Gonzo. Adamant Media Corporation, 2005.

Bain, Carolyn. Lonely Planet: Malta & Gonzo. 2nd ed. Lonely Planet Publications, 2004.

Collier, John and Malcolm Collier. Visual Anthropology: Photography as a Research Method. University of New Mexico, 1986.

Gimshaw, Anna. The Ethnographer's Eye: Ways of Seeing in Anthropology. Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Hockings, Paul. Principles of Visual Anthropology. 3rd ed. Walter de Gruyter, 2003.

Mitchell, John. Ambivalent Europeans: Ritual, Memory, and the Public Sphere in Malta. Routledge, 2001.

Pink, Sarah. Doing Visual Ethnography: Images, Media, and Representation in Research. Sage Publications Ltd., 2001.

Sample Resume

Objective

  • Immediate: For the summer of 1997, to undertake an internship that will expand and broaden my interest in human osteology (methods, techniques, and fields of osteological research).
  • Long Term: After completing my B.A. at IUP, to go on to graduate school and secure first an M.A. then a doctorate in archaeology with an emphasis on osteology, then to attain a position at a major research institution.

Qualifications

  • Strong work ethic and desire to perform tasks to the best of my abilities
  • General knowledge of basic osteological methods and techniques
  • Strong interest in field of human osteology
  • Willingness to explore the various theories and methods of osteological research

Education

Presently completing a B.A. in anthropology (expected 5/98) Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pa.

  • Concentration on archaeology track of anthropology curriculum
  • Have maintained to date a 4.0 GPA overall and major
  • Pursuing a minor in geology
  • Have completed three semesters of Arabic (MSA) and currently pursuing fourth

Relevant Courses

  • Anthropology of Bone (general osteological course with emphasis in human and animal remains)
  • Research Design and Analysis (designing research and conducting analysis on project of your own design)
  • North American Archaeology (general background to North American Archaeology from early prehistory up to present historic materials)
  • Archaeology and the Bible (overview of Palestinian archaeology and relationship to Bible)
  • Presently taking World Religions, CRM, and Museum Methods

Relevant Course Projects

  • (Paper) “Second Temple Period Burials and the Coin on Eye Custom.” This paper looked to the burial customs of Palestine in the second temple period (first century B.C. to first century A.D.) and the question of whether the placing of the coins upon the eyes of the dead was a custom held over from Greek influences.
  • (Semester Project) A study of the cremated human remains of probable Hohokam origin.
  • Archaeology, Work, and Volunteer Experiences
  • Freeport Dock Phase I (crew) Fall 1996
  • Liverpool Access Phase (crew) Fall 1996
  • Summer 1996 Field School (Smicksburg, Pa.) Six weeks (student)
  • Bogus Run preliminary excavations (Allegheny National Forest) (crew) Spring 1996
  • Semester Cataloguing Excavations at Smicksburg (volunteer) Spring 1995
  • Preliminary Excavations at Smicksburg (volunteer) Spring 1995
  • Smicksburg two-day excavation (student) Fall 1995
  • Eliza Furnace two-day excavation (volunteer) Fall 1994

Interests

  • Reading: Fiction (Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Classics), Non-Fiction (materials relevant to my area of interest)
  • Computers: IBM PC (working knowledge of Word 6.0, Win 95, Netscape (surfing the net), and gaming
  • History (overall world history, focus on near-East, Nabateans, Petra)
  • Religion (the interaction of culture and religion, how it relates to burials and the treatment of the dead)

Memberships

  • Lambda Alpha (Epsilon chapter) Anthropology Honor Society lifetime member (1996–present)
  • Anthropology Club (member) 1994–present

References

  • Dr. Sarah Neusius, Associate Professor, IUP Anthropology Department (She is the professor from which I took the Anthropology of Bone, basic osteology class.)
  • Dr. Philip Neusius, Associate Professor, IUP Anthropology Department (He is the professor of the six-week field school I attended.)
  • Dr. Laurence Kruckman, Professor, IUP Anthropology Department (Internship advisor, character reference)
  • Dr. Todd Koetje, Assistant Professor, IUP Anthropology Department ( I have worked with him during the Bogus Run, Liverpool Access, and Freeport Dock projects.)
  • Anthropology Department
  • McElhaney Hall, Room G-1
    441 North Walk
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-2841
  • Fax: 724-357-7637
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.