Interview with Dr. Tracy Betsinger

Dr. Tracy Betsinger, a professor at SUNY Oneonta, gives an overview of her life as a biological anthropologist and professor in central New York.

professor of anthropology


What is your job title?

I am an Assistant Professor of Biological Anthropology at SUNY Oneonta.

Please give a basic overview of what you do at your job.

I teach college students about biological anthropology. I also do research, advise students with their coursework, and provide service to the college and the community.

What is the focus of your current research?

I study human skeletal remains from archaeological settings. I’m especially interested in investigating their health (including disease and trauma) in the past.

Thinking back to applying for this job, how did you prepare for the job interview?

I made sure to read about the university and the anthropology department before I came for the interview. I formulated some questions to ask before I went, so I was ready when they asked me if I had any questions.


What college(s) did you attend?

Winona State University, University of North Dakota, University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, University of Tennessee, and The Ohio State University.

How did you ultimately choose to attend this program?

I did my doctorate at The Ohio State University because my advisor was a prominent biological anthropologist, whose research areas were similar to mine.

What were your majors or concentrations?

My Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) is in Indian Studies and Anthropology; my Bachelor of Science (B.S.) is in Biology with a minor in Chemistry, my Master of Arts (M.A.) is in Anthropology, and my Ph.D. is in Anthropology.

What did you like about your college experience?

I loved getting to focus on my specific area of interest – human skeletons!

What might you have done differently regarding your college experience?


Did you complete any internships or co-ops? If so, what were they and how did they help you?



How can art be used in your field of study?

In forensic anthropology, people with art backgrounds do facial reconstructions to aid police in identifying someone. In paleoanthropology, people with art backgrounds can do facial reconstructions of our hominid ancestors, like the Neandertals.

Do you have any suggestions for others interested in this field?

Be sure to follow your interest — you will not be happy in your career if you don’t love what you do!


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