My name is Rachel Dorlene Emerine Hicks. I could identify myself in many ways. I am an anthropologist, Ph.D. student, lover of nature, wife, sister, daughter. I am white, cis-gender, a woman, the oldest child, a military kid. I was born in Washington state, but have also lived in multiple cities in California, in Florida, and in Guam, as well as traveled to every continent (except Antartica), staying for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Each of the things listed above is just a small part of who I am, but they, as well as other things, combine to make me who I am and influence how I see and experience the world.
Currently, I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology at UC San Diego. I will conduct fieldwork in the Solomon Islands from September 2018 until November 2019. My research looks at rural-to-urban migration for secondary students in the Solomon Islands. Particularly, I plan to examine how schooling prepares students for life after school, especially those who have to drop out of school early. This project builds on my other projects and experiences in the Pacific.
In the early 1990s, my father, a Navy doctor, was stationed in Guam. I loved growing up on a tropical island, snorkeling, playing in the rain, and learning about a new culture. In 4th grade, back in Washington state, my teacher taught us about Papua New Guinea and a song in Tok Pisin. From that time I longed to go to PNG. To fulfill my internship requirement as an undergraduate studying Anthropology, Intercultural Studies, and Applied Linguistics at Biola University, I finally traveled to PNG! I lived in a rural village for six weeks, learning Tok Pisin, playing with kids, studying cultural change, and helping with basic linguistic documentation. After this experience, I decided to pursue an M.A. in Linguistic Anthropology. For my M.A. research at California State University, Long Beach I spent two months in a rural village in the Solomons studying why Engdewu, a language spoken by 200 people, was endangered. Each of these experiences increased my love for the people, languages, environments, and cultures of the Pacific, which is why I continue to conduct research in the Solomon Islands.
I am excited to teach a course on the Pacific and share my love for and experiences in the Pacific. I also look forward to the interesting discussions we will have as we learn together about library analysis and explore colonialism in Papua New Guinea. Finally, I look forward to learning from the diverse perspectives that each person brings to this practicum.