Several students and faculty received grants, awards, and other honors this past fall. Congratulations to all. You make us very proud!
Doctoral student Courtney Andrews placed fourth in the 3rd annual Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. The Alabama Center for Public Television is working on stories about the finalists and the 3MT that should air in the spring.
The College of Arts & Sciences selected Johnna Dominguez‘s (MA, 2015) thesis entitled “‘Nice Ink, Man’: A Biocultural, Mixed Methods Approach to Tattooing as Costly Honest Signaling among Southern Women” for the 2015 Outstanding Thesis Award and Paul Eubank’s dissertation “Salt Production in the Southeastern Caddo Homeland” for Outstanding Dissertation Research Award. She will be recognized at Honors Day in the spring. Congratulations to Johnna, Paul, and their advisers, Drs. Chris Lynn and Ian Brown, respectively.
The College of Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Creativity and Research Academy (UCRA) awarded $500 to undergraduates Ashley Daugherty, Nick Roy, and Caitlyn Walker (Dr. Chris Lynn, adviser) toward travel expenses to present “Sexual Fluidity Positively Influences Group-Oriented Prosocial Behavior” at the American Association for Physical Anthropology conference in Atlanta, GA this spring.
At the 2015 holiday party, Paul Eubanks was awarded the Panamerican Award for Scholarly Excellence in Archaeology, while Jessica Kowalski was presented with the Richard Krauss Award for Teaching, Research, and Service by a Graduate Student in Anthropology.
Thanks to generous support from the graduate school, a number of our students have received funds for research or conference travel for the fall term. They are: Martina Thomas ($300), Paul Eubanks ($300+$300 supplement as a graduate ambassador), Mirjam Holleman ($300), Clay Nelson ($200), and Rachel Briggs ($200). Each of these students also has received $100 from the Anthropology Department toward presentations at Southeastern Archaeology Conference, American Anthropological Association annual meeting, and elsewhere.
Dr. Lesley Jo Weaver received an NSF Senior Award for her work on food insecurity and mental health in Brazil. This is a collaborative 3-site project with her colleagues at Emory and Duke who work in Ethiopia and Haiti, respectively. It consists of two separate grant submissions, one from UA with Jo as the PI, and one from Emory With her colleague as the PI. The grant supports 3 phases of research scheduled to span 3 years in each site.
Congratulations to Dr. Jason DeCaro (and Psychology collaborator Dr. Ansley Gilpin) on the receiving of a major grant from the Imagination Institute. Imagination Institute “grants are aimed at the development of better ways of assessing and promoting imagination and creativity,” according to the Penn News press release. Drs. DeCaro and Gilpin “will receive $199,940 to advance the measurement and improvement of fantasy orientation and imaginative play in children. They aim to answer two important questions to propel research in childhood imagination: How is children’s imagination best defined and measured? and can imagination be stimulated to enhance children’s development?”
Dr. David Meek is the recipient of a $1,000 travel award. By virtue of this award, The Academic Conference and Presentation Committee recognizes his participation in The 6th International Conference of the Network of School Gardens, which “will support the dissemination of community engagement research and scholarship and provide relevant training opportunities.”
This past fall, we welcomed three new faculty members. Drs. Lesley Jo Weaver and Cameron Lacquement joined our faculty as Assistant Professors. In addition, Dr. David Meek, spouse of Dr. Weaver, joined as an Adjunct Faculty member in our department and taught a course for us in the fall 2014.
Jo Weaver received her Ph.D. and M.P.H from Emory University. She does research around the topics of chronic diseases, mental health, and nutrition in Brazil and India. Her doctoral work focused on social and family roles among women with type 2 diabetes in urban North India. Here she found that although women’s family roles in this cultural context can be extremely demanding and may detract from women’s ability to take care of their diabetes, these roles provide a source of social cohesion that appears to protect them from the mental ill health that often accompanies diabetes. Dr. Weaver is currently developing a new project on food insecurity and mental health in rural Brazil. As a response to public health and development initiatives that tend to examine only the nutritional aspects of food insecurity, this project is designed to test the relative contribution of both nutritional and social pathways in the established link between food insecurity and mental ill health. This is one arm of a larger global comparative study she is conducting with colleagues who work in Ethiopia, Haiti, and Malawi. Pilot work she conducted in 2013 suggested that in this community, social aspects of food insecurity, such as eating foods that carry the stigma of being “poor people’s foods,” may be just as damaging to mental health as the nutritional insufficiency that is sometimes also associated with food insecurity.
Cameron Lacquement received his undergraduate degree from Western Carolina University in anthropology focusing on forensics and criminal justice in 2002. He received his masters from UA under the supervision of Dr. Jim Knight in 2004 by examining domestic architecture in the Black Warrior and Tombigbee River valleys. The project required examining the archaeological evidence in the area but also had a experimental component, which involved the building and burning of a full-sized early Mississippian flexed pole house. During this time, he started branching out to other disciplines to support his research including wood science technology and structural engineering. His master’s research has been published as a book through the University of Alabama Press and an article in the Journal Of Primitive Technology. In 2009, Dr. Lacquement received his Ph.D from UA. His dissertation research examined prehistoric monumental structures and landscapes and quantified the amount of labor necessary to create them in order to address the sociopolitical organization of labor involved in the construction of prehistoric monuments in the Southeast US. Portions of his research have been published and presented at SEAC. Since completing his degree, Dr. Lacquement has served as a instructor and now Assistant Professor in the department. He teaches many of the introduction classes, creates and maintains online classes, and serves as the Director of Undergraduate Studies. In his off-time, Dr. Lacquementenjoys woodworking and carpentry, bowling, and playing softball for the department’s team, the Argonauts.
David Meek (PhD University of Georgia, 2014) is an environmental anthropologist, critical geographer, and education scholar with an area specialization in Brazil. Dr. Meek theoretically grounds his research in a synthesis of political ecology, critical pedagogy, and place-based education. His interests include sustainable agriculture, social movements, and environmental education. Dr. Meek’s work has been conducted using a combination of traditional anthropological and cartographic methods, such as GIS, remote sensing, and historic aerial photography. Dr. Meek has carried out research on sustainable agriculture education within Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement. This research explored how people learn about sustainable agriculture through political participation and the potential impact this learning has on agricultural practices and landscape changes. Dr. Meek’s past research focused on the relationships between public policies, economic incentives, and educational processes within an agrarian reform settlement in the Brazilian Amazon. Dr. Meek is currently collaborating on a research project with UA’s Dr. Caroline Boxmeyer looking at the relationship between K-5 students’ participation in the Druid City Garden project and academic performance, environmental knowledge, and nutritional choices. Dr. Meek has also been appointed a co-coordinator for a UNESCO-funded project that is bringing twenty MST activists from Brazil to various locations in the United States to work on agroecological community organizing. As part of a larger applied anthropological research project, he is exploring how this transnational solidarity exchange program influences US grassroots organizations’ knowledge about strategies of social mobilization, and agroecological techniques. While scholarship on transnational solidarity movements is growing, this research focuses on the unexplored element of non-formal learning that happens within these networks. In a series of publications currently under review, Dr. Meek has begun advancing a theoretical framework of the political ecology of education. This perspective illuminates how the reciprocal relations between political economic forces and pedagogical opportunities—from tacit to formal learning—affect the production, dissemination, and contestation of environmental knowledge at various interconnected scales. The various research projects that Dr. Meek is involved with provide empirical data to support the advancement of the political ecology of education framework.
In addition to faculty, eight new graduate students joined the department in the fall, and three of our previous MA students were accepted to continue working with us as doctoral students. Clay Nelson is an archaeologist who received his BA and MA from UA and will continue at the doctoral level focusing on Southeastern U.S. archaeology and Mississippian societies. Ashley Stewart received her BA from Auburn in 2010 and a master’s degree from our department this past spring and will continue her focus in bioarchaeology here at the doctoral level. Mirjam Holleman joins us as a doctoral student in the Biocultural Medical program. She completed her BA and MA in the Netherlands and will focus on disabilities research in Poland.
Several new master’s students also joined us. Shannon Edsall (BA, Auburn) and Allyson Harrison (BA, University of Michigan-Dearborn) joined us to study bioarchaeology. Katie Lazzara (BS/BA, University of Iowa), Cassie Medeiros (BA, William & Mary), and Gracie Riehm (BA, University of Georgia) are archaeology students. Katie is here to study Andean archaeology, Cassie joined us to study the archaeology of alcohol, and Gracie is interested in Southeastern archaeology and the Late Mississippian and Contact periods. Nikki Henderson (BS, Emory) and Edward Quinn (BA, University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse) are biocultural medical students. Nikki joined us to study mental health and addiction, while Edward is focused on social rank and chronic stress.