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Anthropology professor leaves Mills after two and a half years

After two and a half years, Visiting Professor of anthropology Maura Finkelstein is leaving Mills for a tenure-track position at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA.

Finkelstein, who specializes in cultural and social anthropology, said it is a luxury for an educator to have diverse students who are critically aware and take their education very seriously. 

“You don’t get that everywhere,” Finkelstein said. “There’s something very unique about this place and the people who choose to be here.”

Many students will miss Finkelstein. According to junior anthropology major Erica Veitch, Finkelstein wants her students to enjoy what they are studying. 

“I enjoy the way she interacts and the way she’s really dedicated to teaching us not only what needs to be taught, but also what we want to learn about,” Veitch said. “She’s not afraid to get into the nitty gritty side of anthropology.”

Senior anthropology and sociology major Rachel Birenbaum said that Finkelstein brings a fresh perspective of anthropology to Mills since the other anthropology professors have been at Mills for many years and may not be as in touch with the newer topics.

“Maura is very, very up on current anthropology,” Birenbaum said. “What she studies is so unique that it adds a lot to Mills and it adds a lot to the department. It’s very different from a lot of what’s happening in anthropology.”

Veitch said that Finkelstein’s arrival in 2012 was the best thing to happen to the anthropology department and that Finkelstein has been a great resource. 

Some are disappointed by Finkelstein’s sudden departure and are worried that Mills does not value the small anthropology department enough to keep professors such as Finkelstein. Birenbaum thinks Mills’ anthropology department will not be the same without Finkelstein.

“I think our department needs her,” Birenbaum said. “I think it’s a big time loss. It’s a huge shame.”