Anthropology HBA Alumni Profiles

Elia Mikhael Tan: Program Analyst at the BC Ministry of Citizens’ Services

Elia Tan

Elia graduated from UTM in 2022 with an H.B.A. in Anthropology. He is currently a Vancouver-based public servant improving the BC government website with a focus on accessibility. 

“The insights, skills, and perspectives given by UTM’s Anthropology program have been invaluable to my career in the public sector. In government, a holistic perspective and the ability to see interconnections are crucial to address complex problems. 

In my day-to-day work, I ensure that the BC government website is accessible, easy to use, and culturally sensitive, keeping in mind that we serve citizens of all backgrounds. I credit Anthropology for equipping me with the cultural agility necessary for this role. Additionally, the program cultivated communication skills essential for my successful transition into the working world.

I have derived a lot of value from my Anthropology degree, especially because the core skills I developed are applicable to any industry. Beyond work, the program has enriched my personal life by sparking a life-long curiosity for the human experience. I truly believe that it has helped me grow into a more well-rounded, thoughtful person and encourage everyone to take an Anthropology class or two.”


Aimana Mohamed: Team Assistant for Local Health Integration Network


"I am currently working at the Local Health Integration Network as a Team Assistant. In the fall I will be returning to the University of Toronto to pursue a Master's in Social Work. Anthropology taught me so much more than I could have imagined when I started my major 6 years ago. Anthropology taught me the different structures within our society and the critical role we play in shaping those structures to benefit [most] people. Anthropology reinforced the importance of proactively working towards improving the world around me, sparking my desire to dedicate my career to public service." 


Amal: Senior Economist at the Ministry of Finance


"I currently work as a Senior Economist at the Ministry of Finance where I provide support in the development of policy options regarding Ontario's Income Security system. I wouldn't necessarily describe my journey to my current position as 'conventional', having moved from my first degree in Sociocultural Anthropology to a Masters of Public Health, and then to a position in the Ministry of Finance. However, I do believe that all these fields are interconnected - a connection I've become particularly attuned to through my undergraduate career at the sociocultural anthropology program at UTM.

My initiation into the world of sociocultural anthropology came with a recognition of the importance of the human experience in creating and understanding worldviews. The program challenged me to take a holistic perspective and see the links between everything. It made me recognize that, for example, one cannot hope to understand people's health needs or experiences without accounting for their economic, social issues, and political ones.

This recognition was what allowed me to move into the space of public health and policy. In my work, I'm reminded everyday of what it means to be an anthropology student: being able to identify interacting linkages and foresee the many potential implications of any action. I really credit the UTM Sociocultural Anthropology stream for sparking this road towards health and socioeconomic policy."


Igor Sokolov: Studying for PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology at University of Toronto

Igor Sokolov

"Before coming to Canada, I worked in quantitative market research and data analysis in Russia. When I started my studies at UTM, I took anthropology as a minor. I took it mostly for fun, because years ago a friend said I would love sociocultural anthropology. But after taking a few courses – especially the Magic and Science course on the anthropology of science – I could not ‘unsee' all the problems of positivistic quantitative approaches, which left me with no choice but to become a specialist in sociocultural anthropology.

I did an MA in anthropology at U of T and I'm now starting my PhD in anthropology at U of T. I plan to study Russian-speaking IT immigrants in Japan, the way the Japanese and Russian imaginations of progress and technology intertwine, and how IT and various technological systems mediate this entanglement. Since IT, data and efficiency are among the major powers shaping our world today, I think it is crucial to examine them through a critical lens. I think sociocultural anthropology provides such a lens.”


Gillian Cade: Office Manager at Koffler Centre of the Arts

Gillian Cade

“My education in sociocultural anthropology played a vital role in my current successes. Anthropology provided a foundation of deep understanding of the complexities of the world around me. It helped me to understand the human experience and learn how to connect to people of different backgrounds and cultures. Anyone who takes an anthropology class can hope to develop this appreciation for the people around them, that will carry them well into any career field. 

Anthropology helped me to develop not only my critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical mindset, but helped build on my ability to research and think through problems with a holistic lens that is beneficial to my day-to-day as an Office Manager, and would benefit anyone in whatever field they find themselves in.

Anthropology will forever be a deep passion of mine and I hope anyone who takes even one class can understand why and use it to help them move forward in their lives, as I have.”


Revathi Moturi: Studying for J.D degree at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law


"My name is Revathi Moturi and I am a 2016 graduate from the University of Toronto Mississauga’s Department of Anthropology. I am about to complete my Dual J.D degree at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law and most recently secured an articling position with an Insurance defence firm named Bruder Springstead LLP in downtown Toronto. While acquiring a degree in Anthropology, you will read countless ethnographies and write a multitude of papers that allow you to analyze and appreciate the complexity of varying cultures and beliefs; this skill will spill over into your day-to-day life, making your views increasingly holistic. Anthropology was crucial in honing my analytical skills for law school, specifically socio-cultural anthropology. I know many students stress about what a degree in Anthropology can bring to the table, but what you learn in Anthropology is a style of thinking and questioning that is an asset in almost any field."


Sam Roulston: Comedian, Writer, Actor

Sam Roulston

Sam Roulston is an award winning Comedian, Writer and Actor based in London, England. He graduated from UTM in 2013 with an H.B.A in CCIT and Anthropology. After University Sam began his career at The Second City, Toronto. He worked as a Student Services Coordinator for many years while training in improv and sketch comedy. Eventually he went on to become a member of the faculty, teaching in the Improv and Sketch Writing programs as well as directing in the Conservatory program. Sam premiered his solo comedy show, CRINGE at the 2021 Toronto Fringe Festival where he won Best New Comedy Award. CRINGE received ★★★★ reviews and was described as “Brilliant” and “Savagely funny” (Now Magazine). He performs and teaches at comedy festivals all over the world; some of the most recent festivals include Edinburgh Fringe, Mama City Improv Festival (Capetown), Hell Yes Fest (New Orleans), The Del Close Marathon (New York City), Detroit Improv Festival and Improv Fest Ireland (Dublin). In 2022 Sam returned home to the UK where he is a full time Stand Up Comedian, Improvisor and Director.

"Although I may not have taken a conventional career route out of UTM I do credit Sociocultural Anthropology for sparking my fascination in human behaviour. As a comedian my job is to examine and (mostly) satirize society. And I love it!”


Steven Zhou: Senior Online Writer for CBC News


Steven Zhou is a journalist who works as a Senior Online Writer for CBC News and as a columnist/editor for The Islamic Monthly. After graduating with an H.B.A. in Social Anthropology from UTM, he received an M.J. (Masters in Journalism) from Carleton University.

“As an independent writer, editor, and journalist, I'm often struck by how much my current work mirrors the skills and methods emphasized by socio-cultural anthropology: structuring interviews, observing individual or group behaviour, paying attention to people's narratives/stories, etc. Writing about society and people today also requires a healthy appreciation for how different individuals of various backgrounds interpret the world differently. These are central lessons that I took from anthropology and that still guide my research and reporting (FB and Twitter: @stevenzzhou).” 

Alumni news: Journalist Steven Zhou appeared on CP24 News, discussing how to fight anti-Asian attacks. (March 18, 2021) 

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HBSc Alumni Profiles