Meredith Diane Mantooth
What are your main responsibilities or activities in your current position?
As the Program Lead, I administer Edmonton's Heritage Community Investment Program to provide grants to local non-profits. Furthermore, I support the ground-breaking initiative Edmonton City as Museum Project (ECAMP) which aims to connect all Edmontonians to their city as a site of heritage and culture itself – to find their city IS a museum. Finally, I also administer the Edmonton Heritage Network, which aims to bridge different heritage and culture organizations together through networking, education, and socializing.
How does your current work relate to your graduate degree?
My graduate degree in anthropology prepared me to work with diverse communities and to see humans as interacting with one another in a system of structures that impact our relationships to one another. Furthermore, my experience working and researching in museum contexts prepared me for the experience of working towards creating a City Museum for Edmonton and to challenge traditional museology with the Edmonton City as Museum Project. Finally, my experience as a graduate student in anthropology at UBC helped me gain a deeper understanding of Indigenous-settler-immigrant relations in Canada and contributes directly to our organizational goals to live and work the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 Calls to Action.
What do you like and what do you find challenging about your current position?
I work with really great people who are also very interested in creating a broader concept of heritage not only in Edmonton but in Canada. I find my position to be fulfilling because of the social impact I have in the city. Also, being able to work on several different projects means that every day is new, different, and exciting.
Is your current career path as you originally intended?
I never had a firm idea of my career path, only that I wanted to work in culturally oriented non-profits with the aim to improve their communities, and I am definitely doing that.
What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?
I was initially interested in attending UBC because of the opportunity to be connected to the Museum of Anthropology, which is a world class institution with a history of ground breaking work.
What did you enjoy the most about your time as a graduate student at UBC?
Working and researching at the Museum of Anthropology was definitely a highlight. I also excelled at being a Teaching Assistant with the department and found great fulfillment from teaching undergraduates.
What key things did you do, or what attitudes or approaches did you have, that contributed to your success?
If you can, work while going to school. I worked as a tour guide and in the retail shop at the Museum of Anthropology while completing my Masters thesis. This professional experience helped me achieve specific goals that I could use on my resume and in interviews to provide concrete examples of work attempted and achieved. If you cannot work, organizing conference panels, getting involved in student government, and teaching experience can also serve as professional development.
What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?
Get out into the community and build relationships with people doing the kind of work you want to do. Education alone isn't enough to find a satisfying career; professional experience is a must.
How did you find out about/obtain your current position?
I've been working in the museum and public interpretation community in Edmonton since 2012. My connections to that community helped me find the position. Consistent searching online also helped.