A Conversation with Stapleton Award Recipient Alex Heintze

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Headshot of Alex Heintze

Awarded annually in honor of anthropology student Scott M. Stapleton, the Stapleton Award provides majors and minors opportunities to conduct independent research, participate in internships, and develop anthropological experiences outside the classroom. We recently sat down with 2017-18 recipient Alex Heintze to discuss his research, his interest in anthropology, and his application of the award.

This interview was conducted on November 1, 2017 by Katie Morgan. Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

KM: First, tell me a little bit about yourself.

AH: I’m Alex Heintze. I’m a junior here at Georgetown University in the business school. I’m studying management leadership and innovation and minoring in anthropology and doing the entrepreneurship fellows program as well. I’m originally from Charlotte, North Carolina.

KM: What first interested you in anthropology?

AH: So coming to Georgetown, I really had no idea what I wanted to do, but I wanted to come to a school like Georgetown because of its liberal arts focus. My first introduction to anthropology was really the Introduction to Cultural Anthropology class with Ernesto Vasquez del Aguila, and I really liked the class, and I got to do a short ethnography at the end of the class, which really got me interested in the way of thinking that anthropology teaches, and I was hooked!

KM: How did you find out about the Stapleton Award?

AH: I found out about the Stapleton Award because before declaring my anthropology minor, I decided I wanted to do some more digging into the department and see what resources they offered for students. I came across the Stapleton Award, and it seemed like a really cool opportunity for me to kind of take what I was learning inside the classroom and apply it outside the classroom.

KM: How do you think your minor in anthropology will help your career goals in the future?

AH: I’m a management leadership and innovation major in the business school, so I do have a social science focus, but I really do think that my minor is teaching me how society and individuals function. In any management role that I might have one day, learning more about why people do what they do and learning more about populations and their ways of thinking is going to be critical. I’m really interested in entrepreneurship and venture capital, and I really like the storytelling piece of anthropology. I think that’s a skill that entrepreneurs need to learn as well.

KM: Why do you think it’s important to study anthropology?

What anthropology teaches is really just like…humanity. I think that people are really sort of the most important thing on the planet, and in any career that you have you’re going to be working probably with people and trying to understand why they do what they do or why they think like they think or why they act as they act is just critical to any position that you want to hold and really any career or hobby or activity you want to do. It’s just important to everything.

KM: Are you working on anything interesting right now that you’d like to share?

AH: Right now I’m taking Professor Brennan’s Doing Anthropological Fieldwork class. So I’m actually doing an ethnography right now on gender discrimination with regard to female founders in the D.C. area. I’m exploring the importance of informal/formal networks of female founders to overcoming some of the discrimination they face in the field.

KM: How are you planning to apply your Stapleton Award?

AH: In the spring semester, I’m studying abroad at the University of Sydney, and through the Stapleton Award I’m participating in the Remote and Rural Enterprise program there. So I’ll be taking a class during the semester but also doing some field research and fieldwork with indigenous Australians in the area, working on some of their rural enterprises and also doing some focus groups on what entrepreneurship and innovation mean to them.

Alex Heintze is a junior at the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and a 2017-18 recipient of the Scott M. Stapleton Award. To learn more about the award, visit our Stapleton page.https://anthropology.georgetown.edu/students/thesisawards/stapleton/