Clara Alexander

Clara Alexander

I am a PhD student in the field of Mesoamerican archaeology. My fascination with the prehispanic peoples of Mesoamerican began in 2019 during a trip to central Mexico, which inspired me to devote the rest of my undergraduate career to anthropology. Two years later I graduated with a BA from Brandeis University and then participated in my first archaeological field season, which was focused on the 3D documentation of an ancient Maya hieroglyphic stairway. Here at UA, with the guidance of Dr. Alexandre Tokovinine, I want to expand my knowledge of ancient Mesoamerica, and particularly the Maya. Within this broad field of study, I am eager to identify the specific questions and methodologies that will eventually shape my dissertation.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

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Patricia Arnett

I am a Masters student with a focus in bioarchaeology. I received my B.A in Anthropology from the University of Akron, and during this time my research focused on cemetery demography as well as osteology and archaeology. My interests include human skeletal biology and paleopathology as well as trauma and violence. I am excited to continue my studies and refine my skills in this masters program!

Eden Blackwell

Eden Blackwell

I’m a PHD student in Biocultural Medical Anthropology.  My previous degrees are in international studies and sociology (BA) from the University of Mississippi and international health and development (MPH) from Tulane University.  Much of my professional experience has been in health policy, a field I maintain a strong passion for and one I hope to complement through a study of critical medical anthropology. I’m interested in planetary health, climate change, human-environment interactions, epigenetics, alternative healthcare delivery models, maternal health, and aging.

Dominique Bodoh

Dominique Bodoh

Posoh! I am a Bioarchaeology Ph.D. student from the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin. It is my belief that the most important aspect of any research in North American Archaeology is the relationship between tribes and institutions of learning. My research interests revolve around this relationship and include: the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Movement, Tribal Archaeology, NAGPRA case studies, and forensic anthropology regarding ancestry.

Lisa Brazelton

Elizabeth “Lisa” Brazelton

As a doctoral student in BioCultural Medical Anthropology, my research focuses on Hemp for Hope. Hemp for Hope seeks to examine hemp as a catalyst for cultural change in the areas of health (medicinally), economics, and the environment (as a bioremediation crop) and compare this cross-culturally and traditionally, adding a historical/archaeological component to my research. My overarching question is concerned with how this ancient crop, which has recently been legalized in the U.S. and across the globe, is being used to create hope in a multitude of cultural areas, across cultural and geographic boundaries, and in various populations. Themes related to this study include sovereignty, resiliency, and poverty. This research follows my master’s thesis, The Resilient Warrior: A Lakota Ethnography in Hemp Economics, which looked at hemp cultivation connected to issues of sovereignty and resiliency among the Oglala Lakota. I received my M.A. in Anthropology (2019) and B.A. degrees in International Studies and Anthropology (1989) from the University of West Florida. Between degrees, I worked with the National Park Service as a Park Ranger and Archaeologist, served in AmeriCorps, held a position as a governor-appointed Alabama State Commissioner with the Office for National and Community Service, and volunteered with 4-H and the University of South Alabama’s Center for Archaeological Studies. At UA, I am concurrently working on my Graduate Museum Studies Certificate, and I am part of the Human Behavioral Ecology Research Group (HBERG), Tide Together, and a UA volunteer for testing hemp through Biological Sciences.

Brianna Bryan

Brianna Bryan

I received my B.A in Anthropology with a double minor in Criminal Justice and Forensic Science from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

My research interests cover human osteology and physical anthropology. During my undergraduate degree, I had the opportunity to learn about remote sensing techniques. I hope to use those techniques and forensic anthropology to further research of mass graves (both historic and current) and continue to seek restitution for the victims of major casualties.

Alyxandra Connell

I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Oklahoma in May 2015. During this time, I became interested in human osteology, human skeletal biology, and paleopathology. As an undergraduate student at this university, I was granted several opportunities that would ultimately lead me to pursue graduate degrees in Anthropology. In August of 2013, I became Lab Assistant under the direction of Kent Buehler at the Oklahoma Archaeological Survey in Norman, Oklahoma. My position helped me to develop skills in identifying and analyzing different types of materials including ceramics, lithics, bone, and other organic materials. During this time, I was also interning part time with Dr. Leslie Rankin-Hill working on identifying archaeological remains from the Lake Altus site in southwestern Oklahoma.

In May 2017, I earned my Master of Arts in Anthropology from Louisiana State University. My research focus for my Master’s thesis was human health related to subsistence strategies. My thesis was a comparative analysis of vertebral columns of two prehistoric skeletal populations, an agricultural and a hunter-gatherer, to see whether there were any marked differences in the development of pathologies that would be consistent with transitioning economic lifestyles. During this time, I was also afforded the opportunity to work as a Laboratory Volunteer at the Louisiana State University Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services (FACES). My position granted me opportunities to gain experience in building biological profiles associated with the identification of missing and unknown persons in the state of Louisiana.

Currently, I am a doctoral candidate under the mentorship of Dr. Keith Jacobi. My current research interests include human osteology and paleopathology, with emphasis on human health and diet.

Cheyenne Davis

Cheyenne Davis

Cheyenne Davis is a M.A. student focusing in Mesoamerican archaeology under Dr. Alexandre Tokovinine. She completed her undergraduate studies in 2019 at Troy University where she received a Bachelor of Science in History and Anthropology. While at Troy, Cheyenne completed field work at the Vada Volaterrana site in Italy and participated in a cultural exchange at the Gansu Agricultural Institute in Lanzhou, China. Her research interests include complex civilizations in Mesoamerica, mythology, witchcraft, and the function of religious ceremonies.

Kohl Dothage

I received a B.A. in Anthropology and Spanish with a minor in Forensic Science from Southern Illinois University in 2013 and an M.A. in Anthropology from Wichita State University in 2016.

Broadly, my research focuses on differential health outcomes among agriculturalists living in rural, highland Nicaragua. I seek to better understand how and why different livelihood strategies are employed within varying economic, social, and ecological constraints, and how these choices impact household and community health and well-being. Additionally, I have further interest in and have completed previous research on the use of social networking sites and their relationship to the anti-vaccine movement in the United States.

Robert Else

I recently received my Master’s Degree from Colorado State University, where I worked with Dr. Snodgrass focusing on psychological anthropology and religion. My thesis research explored the interaction between traditional religious values and the internet among university age students in Udaipur, India. I found that for those students who consider the internet to be a threat to traditional religious values, they also report higher levels of psychological stress.

For my PhD research, I plan to continue doing research in India investigating the relationship between religious ritual and health outcomes among Muslims in Jaipur, India, using stress biomarkers as outcomes. There is a gap in the literature regarding the specific mechanisms by which religious ritual contributes to well-being, which I hope to be able to address. My other research interests include online gaming, social network analysis, religion in general, and mental health.

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Mike Fedoroff

I am an archaeology PhD student with research interests in the field of Southeastern Archaeology particularly within the Pine Hills region.  My research emphasis relates to landscape archaeology, traditional cultural knowledge, Indigenous archaeology, and indigenous collaboration as it applies to material culture, experimental archaeology, historic preservation, and cultural keystone species.  I received a Baccalaureate of Arts and Letters (Cum Laude) in Anthropology with a minor in English from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2006.  My Masters of Arts in Anthropology with a minor in Sociology from the University of Southern Mississippi was completed in 2009.  I have spent the last decade in the field working with indigenous groups conducting archaeological fieldwork and working with various Tribal Nations to identify the role and application of archaeology in cultural revitalization efforts across the United States.

Steven Filoromo

Steven Filoromo

Steve Filoromo is a graduate student studying archaeology at the University of Alabama. He is specifically interested in the intersections of community, identity, and place-making using archaeological geophysics and compositional analyses, as seen through a variety of archaeological and environmental materials. His current work focuses on the Moundville III (1400-1520) and Moundville IV (1520-1690) periods in the Black Warrior River Valley.

Monica Foster

Monica Foster

Monica Foster is a graduate anthropology student with a focus on cultural anthropology. She is originally from Florida, having attended the University of Central Florida for her undergraduate studies. As a native Floridian, Monica likes to spend her free time on the water following her personal motto: “Adventure is out there. You just have to kayak to it.”

Baili Gall

I graduated from Indiana University in 2017 with a BS in Human Biology and a minor in Anthropology. Upon graduation, I served as an AmeriCorps VISTA and served low income communities to decrease the hunger gap in greater Indianapolis. This experience piqued my interest in the relationship between food insecurity and child health and widened my knowledge on existing social inequalities in America.

As a PhD student, I will continue my work on food insecurity, child developmental outcomes and the utilization and implementation of federal nutrition programs (i.e., The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, The National School Lunch Program, The At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program) in Tuscaloosa. Additionally, I will explore community perceptions of such programs, individual stigma-related experiences due to enrollment and how instances of stigma impact overall well-being.

Mandy Guitar

I received a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Theatre Arts from New Mexico State University (2010) and an M.A. in Psychology from SUNY New Paltz (2013). I also have an M.A. in Biological Anthropology (2015) and a Graduate Certificate in Evolutionary Studies (2017) from Binghamton University.

My dissertation research is focused on transgender and nonbinary health in the Deep South. Some of my previous research topics include human olfactory perceptions, competition on social networking sites, and conceptualizations of emotional and sexual infidelity.

Cynthia Hannold

Cynthia Hannold

I received my Bachelor of Science in 2017 and my Master of Arts in Anthropology in 2019 from the University of Idaho. My undergraduate research included historical archaeology, bioarchaeology, lithic analysis, and was grounded in a strong four field approach, while my master’s research focused primarily on lithic studies. I am most passionate about combining traditional analytical methods with experimental archaeology to answer a wider variety of research questions. I am a PhD student in the University of Alabama Anthropology Department under Dr. Alexandre Tokovinine. My doctoral research will include work with lithic and stucco technologies to address in-migration, trade networks, and social aspects of these technologies.

Nikki Henderson

I earned a BS in Anthropology and Human Biology from Emory University in 2014 and a M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Alabama in 2016. Broadly, my research focuses on stigma surrounding drug use and misuse, from the ​perspectives of both members of society and individuals receiving treatment for substance use disorders. I utilize cognitive anthropological methods to conceptualize and visualize how people think about the etiology of addiction. This collection of ideas about the causes of a particular mental illness are referred to as “folk psychiatry” or “ethnopsychiatry,” and these have been shown to be guiding factors behind public attitudes of individuals with mental illness. In my Master’s research, I demonstrated that individuals who have a medical understanding of substance use and misuse stigmatize less than individuals who conceptualize addiction as moral moral deviance.

With my dissertation work, I seek to continue this research in urban Brazil, where rates of addiction and stigma are high, but treatment utilization is incredibly low.The project has two main objectives: first, to construct a culturally specific model of what people believe makes individuals susceptible to addiction (i.e., personal flaws, genetics, poverty?); and second, to use this model to explore experiences of stigma among people withsubstance use disorder and stigma attribution among people without substance use disorder in Ribeirão Preto. I argue that stigma must be understood as a relational and active phenomenon, and therefore the project focuses on both the perspectives of the stigmatizer and the stigmatized. This multidimensional approach is one that is rarely utilized by global mental health researchers, but is critical to fully understanding the scope of public health crises like substance use in Brazil.

Lilly Honea

My name is Lilly Honea. I am a master’s student interested in southeastern archaeology, museology, and historic preservation. I am especially interested in early European colonial efforts in eastern North America and the Revolutionary War within the southeast.

Jenna Hurtubise

Jenna Hurtubise

Jenna Hurtubise obtained her B.A. in Archaeology in 2012 from the University of Calgary and her M.A. in Anthropology in 2015 from Louisiana State University. She is currently working on her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Lisa LeCount with a focus in Andean archaeology and bioarchaeology. Her research interests revolve around social identity, identity transformation, and how identity is manifested in the material record and on the skeletal body. Jenna has conducted research in Peru since 2009 where she has participated in numerous excavations and osteological analyses along the north coast of Peru. Her master’s research focused on identity transformation during a crisis ritual involving a multi-event mass human sacrifice that took place at the end of the Sicán state. Through examining the different burial events, body position, grave goods, and analysis of the skeletal remains, it was discovered that elites were sacrificing other elite individuals, thereby stripping them of their elite identity and transforming them into sacred objects.


Jenna’s current research focuses on how colonialism, an asymmetrical power relationship, can transform a group’s ethnic identity through analyzing the cultural and biological data from subordinate regional groups. In order to examine this relationship she examines the interaction between the Casma and the Chimú at the Pan de Azucar mounds and associated cemeteries located in the Nepeña Valley. During the 13th century A.D., the Chimú engaged in a series of territorial expansions along the Peruvian north coast where they conquered the Casma. Through examining overt and hidden features of ethnic identity seen in elite architecture, ceramics, mortuary practices, and bioarchaeological data her research will address how the Casma responded to the incoming Chimú. Additionally, her research will contribute to anthropological models of ethnic identity transformation, hybridity, and ethnogenesis during times of foreign conquest.
Aside from research, Jenna is involved in community engagement activities in Nepeña, Peru. These activities include teaching local children about the prehistory of the Nepeña Valley, osteological analysis, and how archaeologists conduct excavation. She is also a mentor for S.L.A.M. where she mentors UA undergraduate students in the Department of Anthropology and helps with graduate school applications.

Kathleen Jackson

Kathleen Jackson

I am a doctoral student working towards my PhD in Biocultural Medical Anthropology and MPH in Health Promotion. My research interests include maternal reproductive practices, child development, and child undernutrition within the first 1,000 days. Prior to joining the University of Alabama, I earned my BA in Anthropology from The College of Wooster and worked as a Community Health Peace Corps Volunteer in The Gambia, West Africa (2015-17).


Rabeya Khatun

I am Mst Rabeya Khatun . I am doing my Ph.D. in Biocultural medical anthropology with Dr. Holly Horan. Both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees are in anthropology and I currently serve as an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Comilla University in my home country of Bangladesh. For most of my career, I have been a medical anthropologist, analyzing how cultural and environmental factors in Bangladesh impact reproductive health, gendered forms of care, and maternal and infant health in allopathic settings. As a doctoral student, I am interested in investigating the mode of birth and the shifting political economy in Bangladesh. My recent research has focused on maternal and infant health in Bangladesh and I intend to continue these studies throughout my doctoral education.

Marinda Lawley

Marinda Lawley

Marinda is a M.A. student and teaching assistant under Dr. Tokovinine. Her focus is Mesoamerican/Mayan archaeology. She completed her undergraduate studies and earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Anthropology at Troy University. After graduation, Marinda spent time working at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, specifically with their extensive NAGPRA Native American collection. Her research interests include Native American studies post-contact, religions and witchcraft, and mythology.”

Emily Locke

Emily Locke

Emily is  currently pursuing a dual degree in biocultural medical anthropology and public health. She is also in the process of becoming a postpartum doula! Her thesis explores how the combined effects of multiple disasters impact perceptions of infant health and well-being in Alabama’s gulf coast. Emily  supports Dr. Horan’s maternal and infant health research needs assessment and serves as the Graduate Student Secretariat for Partners for Alabama Families and Communities (PAFC), a trans-disciplinary perinatal health collaborative at UA.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Maegan McCane

Maegan McCane

I am native of Mobile, Alabama, and in 2018 I received my bachelor’s degree from UA in International Studies with a focus on Latin America and a minor in Spanish. Immediately after graduating, I moved to Bogotá, Colombia, where I worked with youth teaching English while actively participating in community development projects in an urban setting. I initially wanted to be a physician, but after attending a medical science program at Brown University, I realized that my true passion wasn’t medicine. So I decided to come home and pursue a degree in anthropology. Going in, I knew that I wanted my research to be on my former students in Bogotá and the community that we shared. I was fascinated watching them define their identities for the first time as they became teenagers and young adults. As a result, my research interests include youth, development, mental health, and body image.

I am an MA student as well as a part of the dual degree MPH program. I am passionate about applied anthropology and how anthropology can be used to better our world and institutions.

Simone McDaniels

Simone McDaniels

My name is Simone McDaniels, and I am a 2020 graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), with a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and a minor in psychology. For my senior Honors Capstone Project, I conducted an ethnographic study that investigated whether and how racial microaggressions impact the cardiovascular health of African Americans. I am currently a master’s student interested in investigating how experiencing racial microaggressions may impact the cardiovascular health of African American people in Alabama. I would like to utilize multiple methods of measuring bio-markers of stress while analyzing the social context of these stressors through ethnography.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Avery McNeece

I am a first year Ph.D. student in Biocultural Medical Anthropology. I have a B.A. in Anthropology and an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from Mississippi State University. Broadly, I am interested in community health care and health care access among the poor. For my master’s thesis, I explored a cultural model of health seeking among the working poor in Tupelo, MS. My preliminary work for my dissertation studies has been focused on the relationship between moral categories of poverty and healthcare outcomes.

I am also passionate about community engagement and applied anthropology. As part of an applied anthropology graduate class, I worked with 4th graders in the community to discuss their visions of their community in the future through artwork. Images produced by the 4th graders and quotes were used to create books presented to participants, schools, and community leaders. This added the kids’ voices to the discussions among the community planners, and helped them learn about civic responsibility and their role in the community. The images were also turned into coloring books for the kids to keep to foster continued discussions about the future.

Larry Monocello

I graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2015 with a B.A. in Anthropology and minors in Italian and Chemistry. I was drawn to Anthropology because of how it effectively challenges the “commonsense” approach to understanding the world.

My research interest lies in the cross-cultural manifestation and experience of body image and body image disorders. Body image disorders are lifelong, as well as some of the deadliest psychiatric illnesses known. Further, previous work by anthropologists has found that the experience and causes of body image disorders vary cross-culturally. I am interested in studying body image and body image disorders in men, and eventually men in minority groups as well.

Juan Monzon

Juan Monzon

I graduated from the University of Alabama in 2020 with B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Psychology. My experiences with fieldwork at the PIAPAN and San Jose de Moro projects on the North Coast of Peru have continued to drive my interest in Andean archaeology, as has my work in the Ancient People and Plants Lab under Dr. Katherine Chiou.

Throughout my M.A. I will be collaborating with Jenna Hurtubise at the PIAPAN project, focusing on feasting patterns and periods of transition at the site by excavating atop an adobe-stepped platform situated at the peak of a small mountain.

Camille Morgan

Hailing from Raleigh, North Carolina, I spent my undergraduate years at Wake Forest University earning a B.A. in Anthropology with minors in both Biology and Cultural Resource Preservation. While working as a research assistant in the WFU Archaeology Laboratory, my appreciation for the field grew. This appreciation eventually found me in Portugal in the summer of 2010 completing an archaeological field school. Continuing in this vain, I returned to Portugal the following summer with funding for research and the added responsibility of assisting with the field school. I have completed research in geologic sourcing, bone weathering, and Native American dentition. While it is true that my interests vary, I look forward to finding my passion at the University of Alabama and plan to use my M.A. thesis to bridge the divide between archaeology and physical anthropology. More specifics to come!


Picture of Sarah, smiling.

Sarah Elizabeth Morrow

Sarah is a PhD student in Biocultural Medical Anthropology, working with Dr. Jason DeCaro. She completed her MA thesis on food security and resources utilization in a low-income population in Tuscaloosa. Her PhD work looks at the integration and implementation of Social Determinants of Health evaluation and intervention in clinical medicine within the US. Currently, she is also a practicing anthropologist, working as the Pediatric Clinical Coordinator for Medicaid and CHIP for the UPMC Health Plan in Pennsylvania.

Shannon O’Malley

Shannon is a second-year master’s student In anthropology with a cultural focus. She is following the non-thesis track and her possible career interests include investigative criminal analysis and work in the museum field. She currently works full-time at Starbucks and participates in the Anthropology Club and the Blount Chess Club.

Matt Pappalardo

Matthew Pappalardo

My name is Matthew Pappalardo and I’m a student of Anthropology with a focus in the biocultural subfield. I work on several projects, but chiefly I study maternal-infant health in Western Alabama with Dr. Holly Horan and the physiological effects of fireside relaxation with Dr. Chris Lynn. In the future, I hope to research the psychosocial effects of Celiac disease on different populations, as well as work in the field of Public Health.

Olivia Radcliffe

Research Interest: Biocultural Medical Anthropology, Culture Specific/Bound Syndrome, Cross-cultural analysis of healthcare models, Autoimmune disease, Gastric distress and illness. Anthropology, BA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

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Caleb Ranum

I graduated with BAs in Anthropology and Biology from Pacific Lutheran University in 2017 and spent the next two years as an English teacher in Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia. I am a masters student focusing on paleoethnobotany. My thesis research looks at changes in subsistence patterns following conquest events. I will conduct my research in the north coast of Peru, specifically the Casma valley, to examine how ancient food pathways changed following the Chimú conquest of the region. I am also assisting with research in the Ancient People and Plants Laboratory cataloging Capsicum seeds.

Benny Robinson

I am a M.A. student interested in archaeology, with a particular interest in paleoethnobotany. I am specifically intrigued in learning about food ways of native peoples in the past, and how those food ways may relate to social structure. It is my hope that some of these food ways discovered in the past can be applicable today, as certain crops used by native peoples in the southeast may be able to provide food for us today. With agriculture relying so heavily on only a few dozen species of crops it is important that all avenues for potential nutrition are explored.

Claiborne Sea

I graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2015 with B.A.’s in Anthropology and History. Around this time, I worked for the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, the University of Kentucky Program for Archaeological Research, and the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology. During my employment, I developed a passion for Late Precontact archaeology in the Southeastern US and for archaeological applications of GIS and remote sensing. This led me to East Tennessee State University where I specialized in both under the direction of Dr. Eileen Ernenwein. In 2018, I graduated from ETSU with an M.S. in Geosciences in the geospatial analysis concentration.

My thesis research was conducted at the Singer-Hieronymus Site Complex (Fort Ancient culture) in central Kentucky and consisted of an integration of spatial technologies with traditional archaeological methods. Broadly, my research did two things. First, it furthered the methodological development of landscape-scale electromagnetic induction survey (EMI), and demonstrated the significance of this underutilized geophysical method for archaeological use worldwide. Second, in combining spatial technologies with archaeological methods, the history of occupation at Singer-Hieronymus was refined, and a detailed map of site size and organization was obtained.

My research interests still heavily lie in the utilization of spatial technology to aid in addressing broader anthropological questions. More specifically, I am interested in combining spatial technology with anthropological concepts at different scales to address the organization of social, political, and religious institutions among and within Late Precontact Native American cultures and their communities in the Southeastern US.

Alex Sents

I am an Accelerated Master’s Student with a focus on Biocultural Medicine. My undergraduate studies are in biology and anthropology with the specialties of pre-medical and pre-health courses. My dream is to go to medical school and combine my anthropological and biological knowledge for the health and well-being of the community through integrative practices.

Michael Smetana

Michael Smetana

I am a PhD student with a focus in Biocultural Medical Anthropology. My interest in tattooing, as both a cultural and therapeutic practice, led me to the Human Behavioral Ecology Research Group (HBERG). As part of the group, I plan to explore the ritual of tattooing as an embodied experience, and its effects on health and immune response.

I received my MSc in Evolution and Human Behavior (2017) from the University of Kent in Canterbury, U.K. My thesis research centered on human-environment interactions, comparing psycho-physiological effects of walking in natural and urban environments among postgraduates in Canterbury. I graduated with a BSc in Biochemistry (2013) from Notre Dame College in my hometown of Cleveland, OH. Between degrees, I worked as a Research Assistant, studying health and physiology in extreme environments, as well as cardiovascular disease states, and remote monitoring technology with the Mayo Clinics Human Integrative and Environmental Physiology Lab. I also freelanced as a research consultant, managed a supported living home for adults living with developmental disabilities, and taught students with autism spectrum diagnoses and emotional/behavioral challenges.

My other research interests include:

  • Health systems reform
  • Decolonizing anthropology
  • Language, emotion and communicating science and public health
  • Critically applied biocultural medical anthropology
  • Embodied social justice and community engaged research (CEnR)
  • Integrative medicine and biomedical translation of ethnomedical practices/systems
  • Cultural impacts on health, human evolutionary biology, and the extended evolutionary synthesis (EES)
  • Climate change and health, biopolitics, human-animal-environmental interactions and multispecies ecologies

Allie Smith

I am a doctoral student with interests in native identity and agency at Late Mississippian and Contact era sites in the Southeast. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology from Auburn University in 2013 and a Master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Mississippi in 2017. My thesis research focused on the stylistic variation of a ceramic assemblage from a Late Mississippian to Early Contact era site in northeast Mississippi. My analyses identified a hybrid ceramic assemblage was present based on the presence of surface decorations and tempers from Mississippian and historic Chickasaw types in association with one another in discrete feature contexts. The presence of these ceramic styles together identifies a link between the fifteenth-century Mississippian world and the historic Chickasaws of the eighteenth-century.

My dissertation research will focus on identity and agency during early interactions between the Spanish and Natives at Spanish mission sites along the Georgia coast.  The movement of people and the creation of new communities make sites from this period ideal to understand social relationships and how those relationships are conveyed through material remains like ceramic wares. I will use ceramic assemblages from Spanish mission sites to understand the formation of new native identities through the choices potters make by recognizing the resistance of new practices, persistence of traditions, and change caused by agency.

Julia Sponholtz

Julia Sponholtz

I am a master’s student studying paleoethnobotany under Dr. Katherine Chiou. I graduated with a BA in Anthropology and Spanish and a BS in Biology from the University of Alabama in 2020. During undergrad, I focused on bioarchaeology, researching the measurement data from the UA osteology collections and taking part in field schools in Ireland and Georgia. I have also participated in the Human Behavioral Ecology Research Group (HBERG) since 2017, and I have worked in a biology lab studying fish eggs. I am interested in researching health and diet in past peoples.