ENMU Student Prepares for Career as Cultural Anthropologist

Josh Castillo DeLosSantos
Josh Castillo DeLosSantos

ENMU Student Prepares for Career as Cultural Anthropologist

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Josh Castillo DeLosSantos, who also goes by Iru, is studying anthropology with an emphasis in cultural anthropology at Eastern New Mexico University. His career plan is to become a cultural anthropologist with additional training in biological anthropology and "travel the world learning about different cultures and applying my knowledge to help solve future and current cultural problems."

Josh's goal is to "make a difference in the world using the knowledge that I have obtained and apply techniques I have learned from Dr. Erik Stanley and Dr. Susan Kuzminsky in the Department of Anthropology and Applied Archaeology. I hope I get to continue to work with these two professors on their current research and learn all I can from them both."

He names Dr. Stanley, Dr. Kuzminsky and Dr. Kristin Waldo, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice, as his "three biggest mentors at ENMU. They are all more than willing to go the extra mile to ensure I understand the material and are always there to support me even when I am struggling or when life has hit me in the face making things difficult.

"They all have become more like family, and I greatly appreciate everything that they do," he shares. "If it wasn't for these three, I have no idea where I would be in my academic career."

Josh chose his major because it will give him opportunities to interact with people from all over the world, allowing him to "assimilate myself into their culture, learn how they live and experience their cultural and religious ceremonies."

The Greyhound offers guidance to students interested in pursuing a degree in his field of study: "My main advice would be to keep working at it; the anthropology field is not an easy one, but it is one that is very rewarding. Our entire department is focused on ensuring their students get the best experience and soak up the information for continuation into the master's program.

"Times will be hard, but if you use your support system and are honest and open, your professors will go the extra mile," he explains. "Don't get me wrong, we all love to have fun while at University, but ensure you balance your academics with personal fun and your experience with the anthropology department will be the best there is at ENMU. You can always reach out to myself or other students in the program as well, as we will be more than willing to help you get on the right track."

Josh's favorite course at ENMU, Biological Anthropology with Dr. Kuzminsky, was the hardest class he has taken, but also the most fulfilling. He says, "This class was very challenging for me as there is a lot of material covered in such a short amount of time. Dr. Kuzminsky was always willing to stop and explain things to me further, helping me ease my mind as I tend to overthink many things. As a cultural major, I learned so much from her when it comes to the biological side of anthropology. I will be taking more classes with her to sharpen my skills within my field."

The anthropology major was born and raised in Carlsbad, New Mexico, with his older sister, Danette Acosta, now deceased, and younger sister, Sierra Elizondo. His father is disabled, and his mother is a pharmacist. Josh's biggest dream is to fulfill his father's dream by taking him to visit the temple of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. "It's my responsibility to ensure he lives his life to the fullest," Josh shares. "I try to put his happiness before mine."

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Josh discusses his decision to attend Eastern: "I originally chose ENMU because having a disabled parent makes things harder on my mother, and my father needs me for many day-to-day things. As the current oldest child, I want to ensure that I stay close to him just in case he needs anything."

The senior has been very active during his time at ENMU, serving as a member of Kappa Sigma and Mu Alpha Nu, as well as feeding the homeless and volunteering at assisted living facilities to interact with the elderly. He is also a state deputy medical investigator, where he conducts investigations of the deceased within homicides, suicides, natural, unnatural, and suspicious deaths.

His academic honors include being named to the dean's list, receiving an anthropology faculty scholarship and taking part in an all-American academic team in the top 10 percent of New Mexico.

Josh's favorite place in Portales is Kappa Sigma Fraternity's house since he gets to spend time with his brothers and receive constant support in his academics. "This is a place where not only can I feel at home but can conduct my studies," he says. "Sometimes, it even acts as a place where I can go clear my head and be with family."

The thing he enjoys most about being a Greyhound is "the diversity. We have such a unique group of individuals that attend the University; being a Greyhound is not just about winning games, but obtaining new experiences, building better relationships and knowing your fellow Greyhounds are family and always there for you."

Josh's hobbies include gaming, fishing and riding four-wheelers. He is currently writing a book focused on cultural diversity.

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