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Top 5 percent

Jobrack students

A group of Columbus State students made it to the top 5 percent, just by making their voices heard.

Three students in Stewart Jobrack's ANTH 2202 class landed in the top 5 percent of an op-ed program held by Public Anthropology, a group that seeks to engage Anthropology classes with real-world issues. The three students -- Mary Rechis, Georgije Zecevic and Sierra Taynor – wrote about ethical standards in university research boards. Read their op-eds.

Students from the U.S. and Canada sent in 3,500 entries, and the contestants themselves graded each others' papers. Grades were given anonymously, so students had no idea they were giving high marks to community college students.

"That makes it even better, that people couldn't play favorites," says Taynor, an 18-year old Graham School grad. "It makes me happy that they picked me, out of everyone else, from colleges all over the country,"

Reading the graders' comments was eye-opening, Taynor said. Many graders gave comments she hadn't thought of. Some graders came up with completely opposing comments.

Jobrack assigned the contest to all students in his "ANTH 2202 Peoples & Culture: An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology." Students read articles on the topic and discussed them in class.

Each student found a new angle on the material. Zecevic, a 21-year-old Hilliard-Darby grad, focused on a case where archaeologists excavated an old Indian burial ground, but asked the wrong tribe for permission to dig. "They should have done more research."

After entering the program, students had the option to send their essay straight to their senator or congressional representative. "Overall, people have the power," Taynor says, "but we have to let Congress know our stance on things."