Quick Facts

Name: Laura Matthews

Class of: 2012

Major: Anthropology, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Current Occupation: Graduate student

Words of Wisdom: If you have a fun opportunity, take it.

Laura C. Matthews, Class of 2012Matthews, Laura - Profile Pic

Ph.D. Candidate in Biological Anthropology
New York University

Tell us about yourself.  How did you come to Tulane?
I came from the Pacific Northwest, where most people have never heard of Tulane.  I was looking for something different than what I grew up with, since I wanted to use my college years to expand my experiences and try something new.  I definitely got that!



Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology                                            2012
Bachelor of Science, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology     2012
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

Doctor of Philosophy, Biological Anthropology                anticipated
New York University, New York City, NY


Present Day

What do you do?
My main duty is to become a better student and researcher – through taking classes both within and outside my discipline, attending conferences, reading primary literature, and most importantly conducting my own research.  I also TA for undergraduate classes, which helps me better understand the basics of my field.

What are some of the pros of your current position or role?
I get to meet amazing people who are doing fantastic research!

Some of the cons?
Since I am always on the move, sometimes it seems like there is never time to rest.


Undergraduate Experiences

What did you study at Tulane?
I earned dual degrees in Anthropology (BA) and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (BS).

What insights did you have as a college student?
Majoring in what I enjoy is much more important than studying something where I think I could get a job immediately after graduation.  Though my friends who studied Business will always make more money than I will, I'm happier this way.

What academic advice would you offer incoming students?
If there is an advanced class that you really want to take, e-mail the professor even if you don't have all of the official prerequisites.  Sometimes the prerequisites aren't really required, and by taking the classes you really want you will have a much more enjoyable academic experience.

Discuss a class that had a significant impact on you.
As a freshman, I took a graduate Biological Anthropology course with Dr. Holliday entitled The Neanderthal Enigma.  While I don't necessarily use all of the specific information every day, this class taught me that advanced classes aren't scary – they're fun.



Do you have any other recommendations?
If you have a fun opportunity, take it.  When I asked my current professors why I got into grad school, it was because I had really good recommendations (I made friends with professors), had field work experience (from working regularly in Dr. Bart's Ichthyology Lab in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology), and had a wide variety of coursework under my belt (in addition to basic Biology courses I also took Computer Science and other non-required courses).

What do you wish you had known as a first-semester freshman?
I wish I would have known that you can take more than just 1000-level courses.  Just ask the professor!  For many courses, you don't even need professor permission to take; and you need more 3000-level and above credits for graduation.


Contact Information

LinkedIn: Laura Matthews

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000