Pursuing cultural anthropology

Jeremy Demian Marx Scholarship supports student

Gabriel Ephraim Kaplan Wall (Porter ’23, anthropology and history of art and visual culture)

When applying for colleges, UC Santa Cruz was a major standout for Gabriel Ephraim Kaplan Wall (Porter ’23, anthropology and history of art and visual culture). The Oakland-based student was drawn to UCSC’s natural beauty and proximity to home.

“It was extremely important to me that Santa Cruz is a town that I can envision myself living in and making my home,” Wall said. “I had spoken with friends from high school who were already attending UCSC who spoke very highly of the professors/courses in the humanities fields which I was interested in, as well as the school in general.”

Wall was awarded the Jeremy Demian Marx Award for Cultural Anthropology in 2022. The endowment provides funding for an annual award for an outstanding undergraduate paper in cultural anthropology.

“I am very interested in the overlapping of my two majors, anthropology and HAVC, in a more contemporary, pop-culture context,” Wall said. “Whether this is the world of modern music, fashion, art, or cultural practices, I enjoy thinking critically about these aspects of our modern lives through academic theories to reveal their underlying functions and significance that we are often blind to in our daily lives.”

The Jeremy Demian Marx Award for Cultural Anthropology endowment was established in 1993 by Alan Marx, M.D., to honor the memory of his son, Jeremy Demian Marx, a UC Santa Cruz anthropology major who tragically died in 1992.

Wall says he is grateful for this scholarship and plans to save the awarded funds for a research-focused trip. He hopes to travel to New Orleans to experience its rich cultural and artistic history and the city’s profound influence on the music of the last century and is also interested in a trip to Mexico City to explore through an anthropological/cultural-historical lens. 

Wall’s advice to other students is to take advantage of the resources offered at the university. 

“Schedule regular advising appointments, and meet with your professors one-on-one outside class,” Wall said. “It took me a long time to fully appreciate that all these people are here to help us, but it won’t happen unless we reach out. Making personal relationships with your professors, in particular, will enrich your academic experience and open many doors for you.”