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Oliver Smith
Anchorage, AK

When Oliver Smith started thinking about getting his master’s degree, he wasn’t really sure what part of the country he’d end up in. That would depend on finding a professor who shared his research interests. Finally, he got a response from a professor at the University of Alaska in Anchorage who works in biological anthropology. After starting school though, Oliver’s research took a turn, to medical anthropology—specifically, studying how discrimination affects transgender Alaskans’ health and their healthcare experiences. It’s a topic close to his heart since Oliver himself is a transgender man: He was born female but always understood himself to be male, and so he transitioned to the man he long knew himself to be.

“I love that the majority of the people I have met in Anchorage are genuinely good people who go out of their way to help others even when they have just met someone,” he said. “That’s why I have stayed, as well as having an amazingly supportive group of graduate school professors who want to see me succeed and friends who have supported me through it all.”

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