Erica Eddins

Innovation Coordinator

I grew up in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia surrounded by wildlife and pets. I loved animals so much as a child that I declared I would be a veterinarian when I was just 3 years old. But once I got to high school and mentored with a veterinarian, I realized how emotionally taxing working with animals and owners could be and for the first time in my life I didn’t know what I wanted to do. When it was time for college I went in undecided. While taking my core classes I fell in love with anthropology and ended up declaring my major to take a museum exhibition course. Taking that course afforded me the opportunity to help design the Exploring Virginia exhibit for the Virginia Museum of Natural History and to have many opportunities to intern and volunteer with the Virtual Curation Lab, creating 3-D printed replicas of artifacts. My heavy involvement with the lab and events associated with it earned me the Anthropology Community Outreach and Engagement Award upon graduating.

During college, I worked as a tutor at VCUs Campus Learning Center and I started working as a counselor at Camp Sequoia, a summer camp for boys with ADHD. Many of my tutees were underprepared for college and my campers struggled with life and social skills. These jobs highlighted many disparities in the educational system that I wanted to help solve.  I loved working with children to help them achieve their goals, but I didn’t want to be a teacher. Before the pandemic, I had been questioning where to go next and stumbled upon UI/UX work and the impacts anthropologists were making in the field. So once the pandemic hit I started taking courses in UI/UX at Thinkful. I successfully graduated in February 2021. I thought after that I would go into a career where I would be able to exercise my anthropology skills and stretch my creative muscles. I didn’t think I could find a way to combine creativity, anthropology, and making an impact on kids. But turns out I was wrong and I’m glad I was!