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Anthropology Graduate Student Association


The Anthropology Graduate Student Association meets monthly to discuss ongoing developments in the Department, to plan events, and to share questions, concerns, and current work. We also get together for social events, to attend talks and exhibits, to discuss our research and other work, and to organize visitors to the department. We are open to suggestions and ideas, so if you are a graduate student in the Department, please stop by our next meeting! Meeting information is disseminated through the Department's graduate-student listserv. The association was established "to assist its members in all endeavors related to their success in the graduate division of Temple University's Anthropology Department; this includes educational, peer, and faculty support." For further information, contact our president, Melissa Krug, melissa.krug@temple.edu.




Brief profiles of some of our current graduate students


Kristen Allen


I graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in biology and took some time off before entering graduate school. During the period between my undergraduate and graduate education, I worked for a biotechnology company as a quality control technician and then as a research associate in the research and development department. My duties included blood processing and electrochemistry. I entered graduate school in the fall of 2007 and am currently working on a project that focuses on medical anthropology, public policy, and Latin American studies. I am researching the effects of the medical tourism industry on (inter)national borders, visa laws, and other forms of public policy. My areas of focus include Costa Rica, Colombia, and (possibly) Brazil.


Susan Bachor

I received my B.A. in anthropology from West Chester University with a focus on archaeology and a minor in geology. My research involves the chemical "fingerprinting" of soapstone vessels and quarries in southeastern Pennsylvania. My interests are geoarchaeology, lithic technologies, and prehistoric peoples of North America—specifically, the Middle Atlantic. My full-time job is working as a laboratory coordinator for Delaware County Community College.


Sonay Ban

I earned my bachelor's degree in sociology at Boğaziçi University and my master's degree in cultural studies at Sabancı University, in Turkey. My master's thesis examined the politics of representation in documentary films about the processes of urban gentrification that were carried out in Istanbul in the 2000s under the Justice and Development Party government. Through textual analysis of the films and interviews with five directors, I examined how differing modes of oppositional politics that critique neoliberal urban policies were articulated in "urban activism documentaries." For my doctoral research, I plan to use Walter Benjamin's concepts of the "irretrievable past" and "history as a wreck" to consider how urban-activism documentaries can be conceptualized and examined from a visual anthropology perspective. Before coming to Temple, during my undergraduate studies, I worked as a project supervisor and also as an English-content editor at a publishing company. I also worked as a junior expert in the education unit of an insurance institute for eight months. During my master's-level studies, I was a teaching assistant for courses in the history of art. An avid film lover, I have been a regular contributor of fiction and documentary-film analyses to several magazines and websites in Turkey.


Grace Cooper

I earned my B.A. in anthropology and Spanish at Eastern Washington University in 2014. My interest in graduate studies began in my junior year at EWU when I was accepted into the TRIO Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. As a McNair Scholar, I completed an independent summer-research project exploring the social motivations and perceptions of Spanish–English code-switching among bilingual speakers in the Inland Northwest. Some of the questions considered in this research were: How do speakers rationalize a language shift within a conversation or utterance? How do speakers understand and perceive this way of using language? My current research continues to expand upon this project through work with members of bilingual Spanish–English speech communities in Philadelphia. My research interests include linguistic anthropology, code-switching, bilingualism, and Latino communities in the United States.


Kevin M. Donaghy

My research takes a multidisciplinary approach to eighteenth-century conflict archaeology, emphasizing the relationships among the historical and material culture records, historical ethnography, preservation, the archaeological record, and public outreach service programs. It also involves developing my technical skills in archaeological and ethnographic fieldwork, GIS applications, remote sensing, and photogrammetric analysis in order to better understand site formation processes and community development. I received my B.A. in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005.


Blair Fink

I graduated from Monmouth University in 2010 with a B.A. in anthropology and minors in forensics, sociology, and public policy. My areas of interest include pre-contact and contact period archaeology of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, mortuary practices, and lithic technologies. I am also interested in archaeological research as a political resource for politically underrepresented groups, particularly Native American populations.


Diane Garbow

I received my B.A. in cultural anthropology and a certificate in Marxism and Society from Duke University in 2005. My research interests include urban anthropology of North America, Latinos in the United States, migration, migration policy, racialization, citizenship, nationalism and community organizations. In particular, my interests focus on the cultural politics of citizenship and community of Latinos in Philadelphia in order to understand how people navigate various social and political institutions to construct a sense of community and empowerment in the city. This then offers a lens through which to engage the intersections of U.S. nationalism, racialized citizenship, and migration law.


Lorraine Gentner

I earned my B.S. degree at Mercyhurst University, where I majored in applied forensic science with a concentration in forensic anthropology and minored in chemistry. I chose to stay at Mercyhurst to obtain my M.S. in anthropology with a concentration in forensic and biological anthropology. My research interests include dental variation in modern humans
and taphonomy.


Nikky Greer

I earned my B.A. in anthropology at the University of Texas, San Antonio, summa cum laude, Tier II Honors with thesis. My research interests focus on the political, economic, and social dimensions of American kinship and urban anthropology through the lens of the U.S. foster care system. I am particularly interested in exploring (and deconstructing) the hegemony of American kinship and its (re)production in the context of the foster care and orphanage systems. What is the process of meaning-making used by orphaned and/or foster children within the structural inequalities that they face, especially as it relates to race and ethnicity, issues of agency, and the stigma that they endure as orphaned children? Material forces at the local, national, and global levels shape the environments that these children confront. Yet each child makes meaning in her or his own way. I want to give voice to the shared and individual experiences of the children in order to critique and improve the system.


Nathan Jessee

I graduated from the University of New Orleans, where I earned my M.S. in urban studies with a focus in applied urban anthropology. During this time, I worked at the Center for Hazards Assessment, Response, and Technology (CHART). At CHART, I investigated best continuity planning practices and helped organize workshops where participants from local businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies were able to share their experiences of the recent hurricanes and their aftermath. After completing my M.S., I worked on a project examining social impacts of the 2010 BP oil disaster. Currently, I'm focused on participatory research, human rights, mediation, the social and political impacts of environmental journalism, and hazards associated with land loss in Southeast Louisiana.


Matthew A. Kalos

I graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in 2008 with honors in anthropology. I am now working with Dr. Orr in historical archaeology. My interests include the Middle Atlantic region, warfare, and battlefield archaeology. My research will focus on the American Revolutionary War site of the Battle of Paoli, Pennsylvania.


Deirdre Kelleher

My research interests include urban archaeology, public archaeology, material culture studies, and vernacular architecture. My current research focuses on historical archaeology pertaining to immigration and class in 18th- and 19th-century Philadelphia. Prior to coming to Temple, I received my undergraduate degree from Boston College in 2006.


Scott Kirkland

Before coming to Temple, I received an M.A. in anthropology from North Carolina State University, where I studied dental pathology, cranial morphology, and human decomposition. My research interests include geometric morphometrics, skeletal biology, and digital anthropology. My research at Temple is focused on 3D human craniometric variation. I am also interested in the digitization of archaeological and biological artifacts for research and education.


Jeremy Koch

I graduated from Ursinus College with a B.A. in anthropology and sociology in 2006. My research interests include prehistoric archaeology, experimental archaeology, geoarchaeology, lithic technology, and human origins. My dissertation research focuses on how ancient peoples adapted to shifting climates and environments in the Middle Atlantic region at the waning of the last ice age.


Melissa Krug

I studied anthropology and Spanish at Kutztown University (2009) and later earned my master's in teaching at the University of Pittsburgh (2010). Before coming to Temple, I had worked as a middle-school Spanish teacher and a customer-service representative at a large fair-trade retailer. As a linguistic anthropologist, I plan to study the commodification of language, indigeneity, and authenticity within a fair-trade handicraft cooperative in Costa Rica. This research will examine the commodity fetishism of fair trade through a semiotic approach.


Nicolás Loaiza-Díaz

I received a B.A. in anthropology at the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín, Colombia, near my home. I've been in the Ph.D. program at Temple since the fall of 2006, studying with Dr. Ranere. My interests include the archaeology of Tropical America, the origins of agriculture, human ecology, microbotanical analysis, and evolutionary theory, among others. My current research is focused on phytolith analysis at sites from an inter-Andean valley in the coffee region of Colombia that date from the late Pleistocene through the middle Holocene. Because of its geographical position, we can track down the movement of important domesticates through the tropics such as maize and manioc, and also identify some plants that may have been brought under domestication including two kinds of squashes and leren, among others.


Megan Luthern

I earned my B.S. in anthropological sciences with honors research distinction at Ohio State University in 2012. I am interested in studying issues relating to biomechanics, skeletal adaptation, skeletal morphology, and paleopathology. I would like to use bioarchaeological data to theorize how ancient cultures adapted to their environments. From there, I intend to investigate how both subsistence strategies and the environment influenced social organization.


Elizabeth McGinsky

I am a biological anthropologist, and my current advisor is Dr. Christie Rockwell. Dr. Charles Weitz and Dr. Christie Rockwell have both been instrumental in helping me to develop a master’s thesis project focused on reproductive measures in a population of Sherpas in Nepal. My intellectual interests include behavioral ecology, reproductive ecology, life-history theory, evolutionary theory, and the bio-cultural interactions that emerge in populations subjected to neoliberal forms of governance. Currently, I am particularly interested in the effects that an economic transition has had on both the fertility and the parental investment habits of Chilean women. I was inspired to study to be an anthropologist as an undergraduate when I attended an Evolution vs. Creationism debate to watch one of my professors (and mentors), Dr. Robert Trivers, attempt to part the rising sea of Creationism. I graduated from Rutgers University in 2007 with a B.A. in anthropology.


Dana Muñíz Pacheco

I earned my B.A. in anthropology with a minor in Latin American history at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. Before coming to Temple, I worked in the museum division of the Fundación Luis Muñoz Marín with the Teodoro Vidal Collection. My work included collection management, the registration process, and preventive conservation. I was also an assistant in the "Transitioning Traditions" exhibition from the same collection. During my B.A. studies, I worked with the Latin American Popular Education Council (CEAAL) and created workshops on oral history and community empowerment. My research focuses on collective memory and oral history. I am also interested in ethnohistory and elder people's memories of the means of production in the 20th century, specifically sugar production in the Caribbean and textile production across cultures.


Nicole Nathan

I earned my B.A. at Hanover College in cultural anthropology and Spanish, with a
minor in philosophy. Primarily a cultural/visual anthropologist, I also examine the power of language socialization and the historical role of institutions, as well as epistemology within anthropology itself. After doing research for my Spanish senior thesis at a bilingual school for immigrant and first-generation Hispanic students, I began to study the role of language in the education of immigrants and its effects on perception of cultural identity. This led me to study the role of gender in the Chinese education system as affected by the one-child policy. I am also interested in studying religion in the context of globalization and transnationalism, particularly the so-called "Islamization" of the West. Other interests include political anthropology, new media, and marginalized minority groups. As a (very) amateur pursuer of the arts, I also have a personal fascination with the study of indigenous literature, aesthetics, ethnomusicology, and performance rituals.


Kristina Nazimova

In my doctoral research, I explore how language ideologies, policies, and everyday talk may work to legitimate social inequalities across race, gender, and social class. I am especially interested in colonial/postcolonial contexts, with a primary focus on Angola, where languages play key roles in struggles over political and socioeconomic power. Prior to joining the department at Temple, I earned my B.A. in anthropology at New York University and then worked on various research projects on anthropological and historical topics.


David Paulson

I am an anthropologist who believes that understanding the complexity of the world's languages is as important as knowing how the ecosystem works. My primary interests are the Austronesian-speaking people of Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnam, who reflect an incredible intersection of mainland and maritime cultures. As modernity and globalization continue at an extraordinary pace, I explore their relationships to language socialization, attrition, and endangerment within this region of the world. I hold a master's degree in Bilingual Multicultural Education/TESOL from Southern Connecticut State University, where I also earned my bachelor's degree (summa cum laude) in anthropology with minors in Asian studies and psychology. My previous experiences include fieldwork in the Dominican Republic, research on Drifters in San Francisco, and teaching English in both Shaoxing, China and the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education in Vietnam.


Jen Rankin

I graduated from Mercyhurst College with a B.A. in anthropology/archaeology and world languages/cultures (Spanish). Attending school part-time, I work full-time as an archaeologist in CRM (cultural resource management) for the URS Corporation in Burlington, New Jersey. My research interests lie primarily in prehistoric archaeology. Particular interests include early hunter-gathers and the peopling of the Americas, lithic and perishable technology, geoarchaeology, and cultural resource management. My prior field and laboratory experience includes the Mid-Atlantic, the Great Lakes/Midwest, the Northeast, Texas, and Peru.


Eryn Snyder

I graduated from Southwestern University in 2009 with a B.A. in anthropology and a minor in communication studies. I conducted research for my undergraduate thesis in southeastern Senegal among the Bedik, an indigenous minority ethnic group. My research investigated the complexity of marketing "authentic" culture in a modern tourism market. Between undergraduate and graduate studies, I wrote and photographed for a wine and travel magazine in Mendoza, Argentina and then worked for Habitat for Humanity in Fort Worth, Texas. My current research interests include anthropology of visual communication, indigenous media, tourism, museums, authenticity, identity, and digital anthropology. I am particularly interested in research methods that allow for collaborative authorship between anthropologists and the people whose lives they study.


Sam Spies

I joined the department after about six years in print and multimedia journalism.
I've worked for several media outlets, but my most interesting assignment was as the night police reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina. There I started to appreciate how the introduction of a camera to a crime scene or crowd affected the behavior of the victim's family, police officers and bystanders. My general research interest is in the transition from film to digital technology and the mass availability of digital cameras. More specifically, I'm interested in soldiers' own images from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, compared to Army public affairs photography and traditional photojournalism. While a Cornell undergraduate I studied Arabic in Jordan and Morocco, and I'm also interested in the visual representation of U.S. cultures in Arab pop media.


Hilary Symes

My research interests include new media, museums and cultural representation, cognition, virtuality, space and landscape, cybercultures, and visual and material culture. Prior to coming to Temple, I earned a B.A. from the University of Virginia in archaeology and Middle Eastern studies and an M.A. from Columbia University in museum anthropology.


Gina Tibbott

I completed my B.A. in archaeology and fine art at the George Washington University. During that time, I started working on excavations in Pompeii, first as a student and later as an excavation supervisor. After completing my undergraduate degree, I started running the ceramics studios at the university, so I spent a lot of time firing kilns of all varieties and running clay and glaze tests. I completed my M.F.A. in ceramics in 2008 and now have more pottery than I know what to do with. In addition to being a doctoral student at Temple, I work for the Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia, as well as Philly's own Clay Studio. My research focuses on all aspects of ceramics, from fabrication and technological development (particularly in firing technique) to archaeological analysis. I look forward to continuing to set things on fire and getting embarrassingly dirty.


Andrew Van Horn

As a junior studying philosophy at UMass-Amherst, I had the great fortune of taking ANTH 103, "Introduction to Human Biology." By mid-semester I had an epiphany about my major and the works of pre-Darwinian metaphysics and epistemology attendant thereto: they were merely attempts at scientific inquiry into the human condition made by intelligent men in the absence of legitimate naturalistic theory and/or sufficient technology. I graduated with a minor in biological anthropology and then spent the next few years working in labs (and playing in a few mildly successful rock-n-roll bands). Notably, I worked in a mass spectrometry and proteomics laboratory developing bio-threat detection assays for the U.S. Navy. My PI there was Temple alumna Dr. Jill Czarnecki (Ph.D. '03). I am now pursuing my Ph.D. with Dr. Christie Rockwell as my advisor. Currently, my primary interests are human/primate reproductive ecology, neurological development, and primate behavior/life trajectories and the effects of fetal development thereupon.


Chelsea Voytek

My research interests include medical anthropology, urban anthropology, the anthropology of social policy, the anthropology of development and globalization, and the anthropology of public health. My dissertation research examines multi-site clinical HIV vaccine trials, primarily in North America and the Caribbean. I received my bachelor's degree in applied anthropology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1995 and my Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 2002.


K. Eva Weiss

My research explores modes of expression and censorship in the Cuban artist communities of Miami and Spain in order to address the extent to which an artist's voice can be liberated in exile. I earned a B.A. in English, with a focus in screenwriting, from the University of Michigan, where I served as research and post-production assistant to anthropologist Ruth Behar on her documentary Adio Kerida. This ethnographic film experience, coupled with my own grassroots documentary production about a Sri Lankan girl's battle with Wilson's disease and immigration restrictions, informed my interest in visual anthropology and advocacy-driven media. Before entering graduate school, I worked as a director in cable television, as an executive producer and correspondent in news radio, and as a screenwriter in corporate video production. I currently serve on the board of directors of Atrévete a Soñar ¡Edúcate!, a nonprofit organization that provides Latina students with resources to understand and pursue higher education.


Jesse West-Rosenthal

I received my B.A. in anthropology and journalism (with a photography emphasis) from Temple University in 2008. I returned to Temple by way of Williamsburg, Virginia, where I worked for two years for the William and Mary Center for Archaeological Research, a cultural resources management firm. My research interests focus on battlefield archaeology and how we can make these sites more accessible to the public. Before returning to Temple, I spent four years working on various projects throughout Valley Forge National Historic Park. I plan to continue working there to help further our understanding, through the use of modern research techniques and public archaeology, of the 1777-1778 Continental Army winter encampment. When not digging, I enjoy cycling, photography, and psychoanalyzing my dog to determine why he no longer enjoys my company.


Keisha Wiel

I earned my B.A. in anthropology at the University of North Florida in 2007 and my M.A. at the University of Central Florida in 2010. I took some time off in between to teach at York College, CUNY before coming to Temple. My research interests include creole languages of the Caribbean and their place in education. I am particularly interested in Papiamentu and the dichotomy between its use in cultural settings and formal educational settings. My research interests stem from the islands of my parents' birth, Aruba and Curaçao. Through being immersed in the cultures, including the Papiamentu language, I initially became interested in notions of language and identity on the islands. This was propelled further by my experience at York College, teaching Caribbean studies to a mostly Caribbean populace. What struck me was their reaction to their own creole languages being treated as actual languages, rather than as "bad" versions of other languages. Their reactions made me want to do further research into how and why languages are perceived as they are in the Caribbean, and the ensuing discourses surrounding their place in education. Aside from the academic life, I enjoy capoeira, running, and pretending to be a gardener.


Ben Wilson

My research goals stem from my recent work in South Tel Aviv with a non-governmental organization (NGO) that informs Israel's African asylum-seeking communities (and often, their employers) of their legal rights and helps individuals navigate the country's asylum system. The effectiveness that community-based social movements and development programs are having in alleviating economic, political, and social pressures that threaten these marginalized groups is a central topic of my research. Issues concerning minority, migrant, and labor rights are also of deep concern. Other research interests include the gentrification of global cities and mainstream media's role in influencing public opinion of minority groups.


Tatiana Zelenetskaya Young

Native of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic, my general interests lie in exploring ancient societies in Latin America. One aim is to investigate the spatial and temporal relationships of pre-Hispanic settlements, particularly in Quintana Roo, Mexico, in comparison with other parts of ancient Mesoamerica. Another is to delimit and establish boundaries between the sites of the ancient Maya with the goal of answering the questions of how archaeologists can define site boundaries and evaluate the reality of potential boundaries in archaeological records. My studies on settlement patterns of the ancient Maya begin at the remote Cochuah region of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Studying significant characteristics of the landscape such as cenotes (subterranean water holes) plays an essential role in assessing political superiority and ranking of the sites. Manipulation of landscape was connected to the availability of resources and manifested itself through settlement pattern. Dense forestation, poisonous snakes, scorpions and harsh conditions are some of the daily challenges when mapping, excavating and assessing potential sites. Drawing upon my own fieldwork and research, I received my M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. I have numerous publications and conference presentations recognized nationally and internationally. Because the pre-Hispanic sites are rapidly being consumed by modern developments the investigation of this region is imperative, additionally it will add to the body of knowledge and broaden our understanding of the ancient Maya. I believe that analysis of the ancient societies is paramount to a deeper understanding of contemporary world issues.


Autumn Zellers

My anthropological interests are rooted in never having abandoned the habit of asking "why" when it comes to human perceptions of self/other and courses of action—that is, why we think we are who we think we are, and why we do what we do. My formal investigations of these questions—and more particularly, the negotiation of cultural identities in multinational settings—began with an undergraduate field study in the tourist marketplaces of Morocco in 2008. After graduating from Penn State Abington with my B.S. in biology and a minor in anthropology in 2009, I went on to teach ESL literacy to immigrants in Philadelphia for a year. This experience provided me with further insight into the role of language in perceptions of ethnicity and class. I aim to build on my observations in Morocco and in Colombia, the home of my maternal family, to continue studying the relationship between identity and processes of integration with, and resistance to, economic globalization. I am also interested in the impact of new media on the perceptions and expressions of identity in cross-cultural encounters. As 21st-century globalization and new media facilitate faster and more frequent intercultural exchanges, I believe that anthropological insight is critical to mitigating the contentious consequences of under- and misrepresentation in the course of these transnational processes.



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