She Sees Dead People: Djuna Elkan

Djuna's Favorites
Favorite Food: Rasberries
Favorite Movie: Men In Black
Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Band: The Beatles
Celebrity Crush: Hayden Christianson

Alongside a loaded schedule at Humboldt State and her role as coxswain for the men’s crew team, sophomore anthropology major and criminal justice minor Djuna Elkan has an odd job: she is an on-call volunteer at the coroner’s office in Eureka.

“I basically ‘scrub up’ in protective gear and help out when the doctor is doing autopsies and then clean everything up when he is done,” she said.

Elkan grew up in Berkeley, Calif. and knew since her junior year in high school that she wanted to be a forensic anthropologist.

“The fact that this volunteer [opportunity] is in my field and is going to help me in my future career is really cool,” she said.

Elkan started volunteering at the coroner’s office in September 2011 and has done 13 autopsies.

“It gave me nightmares at first, but you get used to it,” she said. “They’re always accepting volunteer applications!”

While in high school, Elkan rowed with the crew team for three years. When her friend on the HSU men’s crew team told her that they were looking for a good coxswain, she could not wait to step up to the challenge.

“It’s the bonding with the team that I really enjoy,” she said. “Plus, I’m yelling at men — who doesn’t want to do that!”

President of the HSU men’s crew team and senior botany major Brian Hodge said Djuna does a great job keeping the rowers motivated.

“She’s really good at encouraging the rowers to push harder and motivating the rowers, which is very important,” he said.

Hodge said that Elkan’s previous experience on her high school crew team helps her to relate to the rowers, which makes her a good coxswain.

“She cares about her rowers and the race and it helps the rowers to work harder,” he said.

Elkan recalls many memories of all the fun she has with the team. “When your team wins a race, everyone throws the coxswain in to the water,” Elkan said. “I remember when we won an away race, and we waited till we got home to do the tradition. When they threw me in, it felt like everything went slow motion before I hit the freezing water!”

Ekan was an ice skater for 11 years growing up. “I started when I was three at Berkeley Ice Land,” she said. She stopped when they closed down the rink.

“I really wish there was an ice rink up here,” she said. “I really miss it!”

Elkan also started working as a Humboldt Orientation Program counselor for the incoming freshman last summer. She said that although it takes a lot of time, she really enjoys doing it.

“I like to teach the newbies the ropes,” she said.