Miranda Carver Martin
2014, Honors College
Prepared to undertake research of consequence in the workplace
Miranda Carver’s (Anthropology ’14) love of conducting intensive field research led her to study some unconventional areas, like coffee farms in Costa Rica and Zumba classes here at Mason. During her time at Mason, Carver also served the metro-D.C. area by studying charter schools in Washington, D.C. and being an executive board member of the service-learning organization Honors College Connects. These experiences have prepared her for numerous opportunities, such as being a Senior Research Assistant at Child Trends and a Research and Writing Fellow at Food Tank: The Food Think Tank.
Carver is now working on completing her Master of Arts on the way to a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Florida. She credits the Honors College for playing a vital role in developing her identity as a researcher.
“I benefited greatly from the numerous opportunities to look at issues from a variety of angles and to conduct research into questions that interested me,” said Carver.
Honors 110: Principles of Research and Inquiry greatly prepared Carver for the kind of research she does now.
“The skills I gained in that course—selecting topics, developing research questions, finding and evaluating references, and synthesizing multiple perspectives—have been the foundation of all of my subsequent research-related work,” said Carver. “Eight years later, I still find myself thinking back to the key concepts I took away from that course.”
Carver now applies those skills to her doctoral research in farmers’ market-based access programs. Her fascination with humans led her to continue her anthropological studies at a higher level. However, Carver has deeper plans for using her degrees.
“I am particularly interested in developing more methodological skills that I can contribute to community-based partnerships aimed at making food systems more equitable and ecologically sustainable,” said Carver. The community-based work she has done at Mason has translated to her doctoral research as she is using the food systems in Gainesville, Florida to shape the direction of her dissertation.
Through being a skilled and experienced researcher, Carver has further grown as a writer, as well.
“Something I have learned since leaving college is that much of the time in writing, less is more and simpler is better,” said Carver, who is “actively working” on how to better use plain language for explaining complex concepts. “[Using plain language] requires a deeper level of understanding that enables you to more clearly integrate [a concept] into your central thesis.”
Carver has carried with her many lessons from the work she did at Mason, such as how to manage large-scale projects, develop methods for thinking outside of the box, and create ways for using research to serve a community’s needs.
“I owe so much of where I am right now to all of the opportunities I was given as an undergraduate,” said Carver. “I am incredibly grateful.”