Forever a Bengal: ISU Alumna Reflects on Education from Abroad
As a student at Idaho State University, Carli-Lyn Vermani stumbled upon the career path that would eventually take her halfway across the world. But even a decade after first moving abroad, she proudly claims her Idaho roots.
“I will forever be a Bengal,” she says. “No matter where I am, I always think of Pocatello as my starting point, where I call home.”
While working at the Idaho Museum of Natural History, Vermani enrolled in a Visual Anthropology course on a whim. She was “instantly hooked,” she says. The next semester, she took an independent study course with the instructor, Liz Cartwright, a professor in the Department of Anthropology.
Vermani decided to continue her studies in the area, applying for three Visual Anthropology master’s programs. She received an acceptance from San Francisco State University and was en route to California for a campus visit when an acceptance arrived from the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. When her potential advisor at San Francisco State heard the news, he urged her to attend the University of Kent. It was one of the best programs in the world, he told her—she had to go.
Vermani, who graduated from ISU in 2000 with a degree in anthropology (emphasis in museum studies) and a minor in Native American studies, packed her bags and traveled to the U.K. She completed the one-year master’s program at the University of Kent in 2009 and later worked for Canterbury Cathedral. The country suited her, she says.
“While I do miss my Pocatello home, I definitely love living in the the UK,” she says. “Being in London I live in such a cultural centre and I adore it. I’m focusing on my career and developing myself here.”
In 2011, Vermani returned to the U.S. She took a research analyst position at Sundance Consulting in 2012 and served as assistant to the director and later assistant director at the Bannock County Historical Museum from 2013 to 2017.
Meanwhile, Vermani dated her now-husband Sudheer, who still lived in the U.K. The pair had met during their first week at the University of Kent, bonding over Lord of the Rings films, and eventually began dating. When Vermani moved back to Pocatello, they visited each other twice a year for two weeks at a time. During one visit in February 2015, Sudheer proposed in Cherry Springs. In January 2017, the couple was finally reunited when Vermani relocated to the U.K. They married in March 2017 and hosted a reception in Pocatello last September.
Four months after the wedding, Vermani began working at The Hockey Museum in Woking, U.K. as a curation assistant. This April, she became the museum’s International Development Officer, managing relationships with partner organizations.
“I love it,” Vermani says. “I get to travel and meet people from all around the world.”
Reflecting on her time at Idaho State University, Vermani expresses gratitude for her supportive professors and colleagues, as well as ISU’s emphasis on celebrating multiculturalism.
“I loved how inclusive ISU was,” she says. “I made friends from all walks of life and really made a place that I could call home. I used to love going to International Night, Africa Night, Chinese New Year. I got to experience the world by going to university.”
She credits Liz Cartwright, her first Visual Anthropology instructor, and former anthropology professor and IMNH director Skip Lohse with helping kickstart her museum career. Anthropology faculty members Chris Loether, Lewis Thomas, Rick Holmer and Patty Dean helped spark her interest in anthropology, she says. She also thanks former IMNH staff Lynn Murdoch and Bill Akersten and current senior collections manager Mary Thompson for giving her a start in museum work.
Seventeen years after graduating from ISU, Vermani performs her dream work almost five thousand miles from the place she still calls home. She wouldn’t change a thing, she says.
“It’s scary to pack up and move to another country, but it’s also the most exciting experience,” she says. “I don’t regret it one bit. It’s one of the best things I’ve done.”
Written by: Madison Shumway, College of Arts & Letters intern