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Alumni News

In 2015, Dr. Meredith Jackson-de Graffenried (PhD, 2009) became Country Director of Helen Keller International (HKI) for Bangladesh.

Max Stein, left, a UA doctoral student working in Peru, sits with Oths in her campus office (Bryan Hester).
Max Stein, left, a UA doctoral student working in Peru, sits with Oths in her campus office (Bryan Hester).

Dr. Charlan Kroelinger (MA, 1997), Team Leader for the Maternal and child Health Epidemiology Program at the CDC, was recognized with a Superior Leadership Award by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Director. "She has strengthened and expanded the program through innovative staff assignments in 13 states, mentored young professionals who will carry the field into the future, and developed new tools to better understand and communicate the importance of improving quality of care to women and their infants."

Kelsey Herndon (MA, 2015)  has been awarded a 2016 DEVELOP Program internship by NASA. They work on remote ecological forecasting and related projects.

Daniel R. Turner (BA, 2010; M. Phil Cambridge 2012) has been admitted to the PhD program in archaeology at Leiden University, Netherlands. He will be joining an archaeological project focused on the monumental architecture of Mycenaean Greece.

We're very proud of our alumni and their successes! If you know of any alumni updates that we don't, please let us know.

Kelsey Herndon (MA, 2015) teaches Tuscaloosa Magnet School Elementary kids as part of our department's
Kelsey Herndon (MA, 2015) teaches Tuscaloosa Magnet School Elementary kids as part of our department's "Anthropology is Elemental" outreach program.

Anthros in the News

In June, Dr. Kathy Oths was featured in UA's Research Magazine in "Who Will Heal? Climate Change Disrupts Ancient Medical Tradition in Andes" ( In December, Dr. Virgil "Duke" Beasley (lecturer; MA, 1997) and Dr. Matt Gage (OAR) were featured an article entitled "Using the Future to Understand the Past" (

In the July UA News ( and August 2015 Desktop News ( from the College of Arts & Sciences, Dr. Jason's DeCaro's grant from the Imagination Institute and collaboration with Dr. Ansley Gilpin (Psychology) on their project was featured .

Our departmental elementary and middle school outreach program, rechristened "Anthropology is Elemental," is pictured among the College of Arts & Sciences' "Outreach and Economic Development Programs" (

Dr. Chris Lynn was mentioned among faculty selected for the 2016 Alabama-Greece Partnership ( Dr. Lynn was also mentioned in UA News in conjunction with ALLELE series talks by evolutionary psychologist Dr. Rebecca Burch (, paleontologist Dr. Linda Ivany (, historian Dr. Ron Numbers (,

ECU anthropology professor Dr. Blakely Brooks leads an ECU Global Understanding class.
ECU anthropology professor Dr. Blakely Brooks leads an ECU Global Understanding class.

Dr. Blakely Brooks, Teaching Assistant Professor at East Carolina University, who received his Ph.D. from UA in 2011, is in the news ( shattering stereotypes and promoting global understanding. Says Brooks, “The stereotypes our students have, they find out they just aren’t correct. And the foreign students find out their ideas of Americans often aren’t correct.”

Jonathan Belanich, who received his BA in 2014 in Anthropology and Biology and is currently enrolled in the MA program at Mississippi State, received Honorable Mention for his National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program application. This program is highly competitive, and our faculty wrote letters of recommendation for his proposal, so we consider this an honor that reflects on our preparation of him.

Dr. Chris Lynn was considered "Worth Quoting" in the January and February UA Dialog. From January ( “Stress can kill you, literally, and having means of reducing stress is going to be critical for the survival of species,” as quoted in Men’s Health. Lynn is the author of a study that suggests that sitting by a fire can lower people’s blood pressure and help them relax. From February ( “When we aren’t used to having down time, it results in anxiety … (a)nd we reach for the smartphone. It’s our omnipresent relief from that,” as quoted in the Aberdeen (South Dakota) News. The March UA Dialog ( recognized Dr. Lisa LeCount for being awarded a National Geographic Research and Exploration grant and Dr. Jason DeCaro ( for being selected for the President's Faculty Research Award. In April, the UA Dialog ( also recognized Achsah Dorsey and her adviser Jason DeCaro for her receipt of the University's Outstanding Research by a Master's Student award. In May, recent Anthropology BA Maryanne Mobley was recognized with 13 other UA graduates in UA Dialog ( for being honored with a Fulbright Award. Maryanne will be traveling to teach in South Korea.

The Biocultural Medical Anthropology faculty were asked to contribute a guest column for the Anthropology News online this year based on their "Biocultural Systematics" blog. Three columns have appeared so far by Bill Dressler, Jason DeCaro (, and Jo Weaver (; and Dr. Dressler's column "'Culture'...Again" ( enough page views to merit publication in the May print edition of Anthropology News.

Our colleague, Dr. John Blitz, is cited heavily in this recent American Archaeology article (, vol. 19, No. 1, 2015), "From Atlatls to Arrows." Congratulations John---Good stuff!

The Crimson White profiled Dr. Chris Lynn's efforts to develop the Evolutionary Studies program this semester ( Congrats to Dr. Lynn for his hard work on the EvoS program, and please contact him at to enroll or for more information. The Crimson White also published a piece ( on Dr. Lynn Fireside Relaxation Study, the Evolutionary Psychology article that came out at the end of 2014, and the efforts of students like Melinda Carr and Lauren Pratt and alumnus Meghan Steel in this ongoing study.

Finally, Dr. Lynn provided ideas for UA News' "UA Matters" column in February for an atypical Valentine's Day ( and in April for those considering online dating (

Mr. Daniel Turner (UA Anthropology BA, 2010) is currently Field Director for Panamerican Consultants, Inc. His senior year research at UA resulted in a publication, "Palisade Construction and Labor Costs in the Moundville Chiefdom," Journal of Alabama Archaeology 65(2):66-77. Daniel continued his study of labor costs and ancient architecture with a study of Viking earthworks while enrolled at Cambridge University, where he received his MPhil degree in Archaeological Research in 2012.

Ms. LeeAnne Wendt (UA Anthropology BA, 2006) was named the Tribal Archaeologist for the Muskogee Nation of Oklahoma beginning in September. After graduating from UA, she worked for Panamerican Consultants, Inc. in various capacities as an archaeologist. She received her MA degree in Anthropology from the University of Mississippi this year.