By Jane Fernandez
Anthropology professor Julie Bernard aspires to create a better learning environment for students at East Los Angeles College.
“I love to see them being able to see the world in a different way and to see themselves in a different way as a result of some of the stuff we see in class,” Bernard said.
Bernard started her teaching career at ELAC in 2008 as an anthropology professor. She specializes in archeology and California archeology. Although she teaches courses in cultural anthropology, Bernard is an archeologist who studies the Native Californian Chumash.
She studies the colonial era and how mission runaways adapted to the mountains. Bernard has always felt a passion for learning about people.
As an archeologist, Bernard would like to start a field program as well as an archeology program where she could take her students to sights so they can experience the work of an anthropologist.
She also encouraged students to start an anthropology club since it has not had much success in the past. Bernard says that as students graduate and leave ELAC the clubs they create don’t stand, she would like to see an enthusiastic group of students take over the club and sustain it. Bernard has many ideas for activities if there were to be an anthropology club back on campus and she would really enjoy being the academic advisor for it.
“She is one of our most capable and involved faculty members here at ELAC,” Said Earth Science professor John Grimmer. “She does a lot of personal one-on-one interviews with students,” he said.
Bernard grew up and attended high school in Orange County. During her high school years, she was never interested in joining any social groups like her classmates where.
Bernard always thought it would be more interesting studying the groups and conversations with her teachers.
Bernard talked about her interest in anthropology to her teacher, not knowing there was such a career.
Bernard learned from her teacher that the field was called anthropology.
“I discovered what anthropology was and I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” she said.
Bernard attended University of California, Berkeley and later on attended University of California Los Angeles, where she obtained her Ph.D.
During her time at UCLA, Bernard was a teacher’s assistant. After grad school, Bernard applied to ELAC making this her first job while teaching at UCLA as well.
At the moment Bernard is a full time professor at ELAC, hoping to improve her department with the help of her students.
“I love teaching at ELAC. I love the students, we have amazing students who are incredibly kind,