This is your gateway to learning about NAPA. The resources in this section will help you to better understand the association and get more involved in NAPA.

The National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA) was founded as a section of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) in 1983 to represent practicing anthropology. Many NAPA members are established or are planning careers as practicing professionals linked into government, business, and other networks outside of the academy. Many in NAPA leadership work outside of academic settings.

NAPA strives to support the interests of practicing and applied anthropologists within the AAA. We offer many activities during the annual meetings, including sessions, workshops, a Careers Expo, instant mentoring, and networking events.

In addition, NAPA has a mentoring program, publishes a journal (Annals of Anthropological Practice) and a newsletter (NAPA Notes), and coordinates several social media outlets.

NAPA members work in a diverse range of positions and sectors, including all levels of federal, state, local, and tribal governments; the nonprofit world (from local organizations to international nongovernmental organizations); and the for-profit world (from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations). Many members work as independent consultants or manage their own consulting and research firms. In addition, NAPA also has many members who are full- or part-time faculty, doing applied work and educating the next generation of practitioners.

A significant proportion of NAPA members are students, and NAPA puts significant effort into supporting students through the mentoring program and also by sponsoring an annual student paper award and other activities.

NAPA is managed by a Governing Council, which meets in person twice a year to discuss relevant topics and vote on initiatives affecting the membership. There are also several committees within NAPA, and the Governing Council includes both elected members and committee chairs.

Along with NAPA, you may know about the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA). Although we both address applied anthropology and have a great deal of overlap in our memberships, we don’t do quite the same thing. We are different organizations with different purposes and missions. NAPA and SfAA collaborate on some training and information exchange initiatives, but each offers its own publications and annual meeting opportunities. Being a member of both organizations gives you multiple benefits.

Mission Statement

NAPA promotes human-centered work applied to practical problems by linking a network of professional anthropologists working across employment sectors. We support all anthropologists in bringing real solutions to communities, organizations, and policymakers, by offering advocacy, information, networks, mentoring, and continuing education.


The purpose of NAPA shall be to represent the practice of anthropology and the interests of practicing anthropologists within the American Anthropological Association, as well as other organizations and the general public, and to further the practice of anthropology as a profession.

Discover More

The Governing Council is composed of both elected positions and committee chairs, although only the elected positions can vote on matters of NAPA governance and policy. These dedicated individuals are the backbone of NAPA, helping to ensure that association business and activities are managed efficiently and effectively.

Elected Members:

President (2020-2022): Cathleen Crain, ccrain@ltgassociates.com
Past-President (2018-2020): David Himmelgreen, dhimmelg@cas.usf.edu
President-Elect (2020-2022): Lauren Penny, Lauren.Penney@va.gov
Secretary (2020-2022): Toni Copeland, toni.copeland@ua.edu
Treasurer: (2020-2022): Chad Morris, cmorris@roanoke.edu
Member-at-Large (2020-2022): Zelda Harrison, zeldesign@sbcglobal.net
Member-at-Large (2020-2022): Erik Kjeldgaard, erik.kjeldgaard@gmail.com 
Member-at-Large (2020-2022): Vacant
Student Representative (2020-2022): Betselot Wondimu, betselot.wondimu@gmail.com

Editor: Annals of Anthropological Practice
John Brett, john.brett@ucdenver.edu

Committee Leaders:
See brief Committee Descriptions
Communications: Joshua Liggett, liggett.joshua@gmail.com (see committee page)
Ethics: Lauren Penny, lauren.penney@va.gov (see committee page)
Evaluation SIG: Eve Pinsker, epinsker@uic.edu
Membership: Kerry Fosher, kbfosher@gmail.com; Fritz Lampe, frederick.lampe@nau.edu (see committee page)
Mentoring: Niel Tashima,  ntashima@ltgassociates.com (see committee page)
Newsletter: Jackie Cortez, jacqueline.n.cortez@gmail.com
Nominations: Lauren Penny, Lauren.Penney@va.gov
Organizational Relations, Careers Expo: Niel Tashima,  ntashima@ltgassociates.com; Joshua Liggett, liggett.joshua@gmail.com (see committee page)
OT Interest Group and OT Field School: Gelya Frank, gfrank@usc.edu
Program: Ellen Puccia, ellenpuccia@gmail.com
Publications Coordinator: Ann Tezak, ann.l.tezak@vumc.org
Volunteer Coordinator/LPOs: Wendy Hathaway, wendy.hathaway@gmail.com
Workshops: Elgin Klugh, elginklugh@yahoo.com (see committee page)


Semi-annual Committee Reports
Committee reports are presented by their respective chairs twice a year at the Governing Council meetings. Select the “Archives” tab above to review past reports.

Special Interest Groups/Topical Interest Groups
NAPA supports the development of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) or Topical Interest Groups (TIGs) within the community of anthropological practice.

NAPA Expense Reimbursement

The bylaws of the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology, a section of the American Anthropological Association:

Founded in 1983, NAPA strives to promote the practice of anthropology, both within the discipline and among private, public, and nonprofit organizations. NAPA continues to grow as anthropologists engaged in practice have developed broader professional opportunities both inside and outside the academic realm.

There are currently around 500 NAPA members, working in a diverse range of sectors and positions. Members receive NAPA’s semi-annual “Annals of Anthropological Practice,” professional mentoring, networking opportunities, and discounts on NAPA-sponsored workshops. Select the “Archives” tab above to find out even more about NAPA’s history.

NAPA is a section of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), and NAPA members receive all AAA materials and benefits.

The archive houses documents and information on NAPA’s history, governance, and resources. Its development is ongoing, and we welcome your suggestions.


2017 Annual Meeting Audio Recordings: Featuring one invited session

2016 Annual Meeting Audio Recordings: Featuring two invited sessions

2015 Annual Meeting Audio Recordings: Featuring two invited sessions, one roundtable, and seven special career audio interviews

2014 Annual Meeting Audio Recordings: Featuring one invited roundtable and two special career-oriented sessions


The initial podcast pilot series launched in March/April 2014, and featured interviews with eight practitioner anthropologists about their work and career trajectories. The follow up series came online at the end of 2015 and featured interviews with eight MA anthropologists discussing their transitions out of graduate school.
NAPA Podcast Series


These brief career-related interviews of 16 anthropological practitioners originally appeared on the NAPA LinkedIn pages. Starting in April of 2014, the series was moved to the blog page of this website.
Interview Series 


The NAPA Governing Council meetings twice annually, during the AAA and SfAA meetings. Committee chairs submit reports before each meeting covering their respective committee’s status, progress, and challenges. Reports are in chronological order, in PDF format.


NAPA’s past presidents are nearly evenly split between those based inside and outside of the academy:  List of Past NAPA Presidents

AAA Task Force on Climate Change


  •  In 2010, the NAPA Membership Committee conducted a survey of past NAPA Presidents to gain their impressions on NAPA and its services to members. The nine most recent presidents responded to several open-ended questions. A survey report is available in PDF format.
  •  In 2004 NAPA conducted a quick survey to determine members’ feelings towards the AAA’s decision to move the annual meeting from San Francisco to Atlanta. A survey report is available in PDF format (link to come).
  •  NAPA sponsored a survey of alumni of master’s level applied anthropology training programs that was conducted in January 2000. The survey report is available in PDF format.


Some 257 pages of letters, notes, memos, report drafts, receipts and other pieces of NAPA’s founding.

Welcome To NAPA

NAPA promotes human-centered work applied to practical problems by linking a network of professional anthropologists working across employment sectors.  We support all anthropologists in bringing real solutions to communities, organizations, and policymakers, by offering advocacy, information, networks, mentoring, and continuing education.


AnthroJobs of the Week

AnthroJobs of the Week, 18 January 2021

Happy Wednesday, Readers! We have two interesting positions this week, one at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and another at Riot Games. Check them out! The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County was the first museum in L.A. to open its doors 107 years ago and is poised for an exciting […]

Read More »
Sign-up to the new Design By Anthropologists Blog!

        Learn More