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Karmen Stephensons

Karmen Stephenson

Senior Advisor, Departments of Anthropology and Geology


Monroe, North Carolina

Personal Interests

As a scholar I enjoy the study of culture and education and particularly issues of religion, politics, and power in public education.  As a person I enjoy cooking, hiking, gardening (every plant that survives my care is wildly celebrated), and learning to do crafty things like sewing, making decorative things, and building and refinishing furniture.  I recently received a gift of a beautiful and very complicated camera and I am determined to learn how to use it.  My favorite hobbies, though, are coloring, singing, playing pretend, visiting the library, and being with my daughters as they discover the world every day.  Hanging out with little kids is super fun, and it also provides an excellent opportunity to eat chicken nuggets and cry about stuff that doesn’t really matter whenever you feel like it.


B.A. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Anthropology with a Second Major in Romance Languages (Spanish)

M.A. University of Tennessee--Knoxville, Anthropology—Cultural Anthropology

Ph.D., University of Tennessee--Knoxville, Anthropology—Cultural Anthropology

Educational Philosophy

Education has always been an important part of my life.  My mother was an elementary school teacher, and at home we read books every day and we were raised to value schooling and formal education.  However, I think that too often in our culture we think of education as an accumulation of information, and school is the place we go to acquire it.  I believe that we focus too much on the collection of facts rather than the processes of exploration of the world and of ourselves that learning can inspire.  I think the best educators are not those who teach us the most facts, the best teachers are those who show us how to be learners throughout our lives—because a love of learning gives us the thoughtfulness, empathy, and self-awareness we need to really make the best contributions we can to our careers, our communities, our families, and ourselves.

Favorite Quote

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.  You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

- Atticus Finch (Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird)

Karmen Stephensons

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