MSc Social Anthropology
Hello! My name is Austen and I’m from Portland, Oregon, in the beautiful Pacific Northwest of the United States. I graduated from Southern Oregon University in 2015 with a double major in anthropology and communication studies, along with double minors in outdoor adventure leadership and convergent media.
I’m interested in the idea of human well-being and what it means to be spiritually healthy in an increasingly secular world. This interest stems from my own journey, which has taken me across the globe, learning from healers from a variety of traditions. During my undergraduate schooling, I started a branch of the Secular Student Alliance, acting as chair until graduation. I also mentored at-risk youth through the mental health and criminal justice systems. Since graduating, I’ve travelled the world teaching scuba diving, snowboarding, outdoor survival skills, environmental ecology and conservation. The culmination of these experiences brought together through a modern rite of passage for me and helped me understand my role as teacher, as well as the need to bridge the secular and the sacred. Ultimately, I would like to develop a framework for community health workers to promote well-being and spiritual health within their communities.
Outside of my studies, I spend a considerable amount of time outdoors. Scuba diving, surfing, mountaineering, mixed martial arts, climbing, snowboarding, camping, rockhounding, yoga, photography, close up magic and gaming are some of my favourite activities. I am hoping to soon add rowing and fencing to that list! Much to my mother’s dismay, I’ve also spent the last ten years performing as a fire eater, breather and spinner. Although skeptical, I enjoy exploring unexplained phenomena. Ghosts, cryptozoology, ufology and anything paranormal have been of interest to me since I was a child, so don’t be surprised when you find me wandering around the graveyards. I’m also a closet musician, playing drums and guitar where only my wife, three dogs and cat can hear.
Other areas of interest include: identity, intuition, consciousness, altered-states, ritual, rites of passage, magic, myth, psychopharmacology, mystical thinking, sexuality, philosophy of mind, cognitive-evolutionary anthropology, archeology, Celtology, epistemology, etiquette, ethics, aesthetics, futurology, artificial intelligence, gaming and cybercultures.