Earlier this month I participated in my first APOP event, the true crime night at COSI After Dark. As far as first experiences go, it was certainly an intimidating one. It was recorded that there were over 1000 people in attendance and many of them were funneled through our little exhibit. We set up a small mock crime scene for visitors to look at as soon as they entered the room as well as five separate stations which included: faunal remains vs. human remains, age, sex, taphonomy, and trauma. The purpose of these stations was to share with the public some of the questions a forensic anthropologist may encounter when presented with a set of remains.
I was posted at the taphonomy station the whole night and found it to be an exhilarating experience to teach people about (1) what taphonomy is and (2) show them some cool instances of taphonomic alterations on the bones brought by the APOP team from OSU. Before the event, I had no prior experience with teaching and was nervous I wouldn’t be able to effectively communicate some of what I’ve learned in my anthro classes to others. Luckily, I was teamed up with a graduate student who was more comfortable in a teaching role and was very well spoken. One of my favorite parts about this experience was I actually learned a lot about taphonomy that I didn’t know by listening to Malorie present to the groups of people who would come up to our station. I was able to follow her lead and grew more and more comfortable as the night continued. It was heartening to see the genuine interest people expressed in what we were talking about and many of them were quick to ask a question or tried to keep the conversation going so they could learn more.
This event pushed my capabilities and comfort zone but I am grateful to say it expanded both. APOP allows me to hone skills that I could not work on in any other organization on campus and I look forward to my continued involvement as the year progresses!