Courtney Andrews |

Advisor: Kathryn Oths 

As a biocultural medical anthropologist, I am interested in the relationship between culture and the individual, how culture is learned and shared in social groups, and why and how one’s positioning in the cultural landscape matters in terms of health. I consider disease as much social as it is biological, and I believe that health disparities should be situated in the broader social, political, and historical contexts in which they occur. I work within the framework of a syndemics model (Singer and Clair 2003), which combines the terms synergy and epidemic, and seek to describe the ways in which the lived experience of inequality imparts chronic assaults on the body that over time weaken the body’s natural defenses and expose vulnerable individuals and communities to a cluster of interacting diseases. The goal of my research is to help elucidate the pathways by which biology and culture intersect and interact by examining how the social and environmental constraints of lived experience get under the skin and alter the physiological responses of individuals that experience them.

My dissertation research focuses on better understanding the daily realities of Mexican immigrant women in Birmingham, Alabama, and I consider how the stress of sociocultural change as well as legal and institutional discrimination limit choice and movement for these individuals and increase their risk for developing type 2 diabetes and/or depressive symptoms. There is a paradox in the epidemiological research that shows a health advantage for recently arrived Mexican immigrants that is attenuated over time, despite improvements in standard of living and better access to health care. Acculturation has been linked to declining health in this population, but the pathways by which typical measures of acculturation actually cause poor health remain unclear.  Cultural consonance theory has emerged as a way of exploring the relationship between cultural realities and health outcomes that involves eliciting the meaningful ideas and behaviors shared by individuals in a particular social context and then measuring the extent to which individuals live up to these shared goals in their everyday lives. Successful integration of cultural ideals as well as continuity with the widely shared and highly valued ideas about how to live have been linked to better health outcomes. Through ethnographic investigation as well as data collection techniques from cognitive anthropology,  my goal is to use cultural consonance theory and methodology to bridge the gap between the epidemiological research that focuses on the relationship between certain proxy measures of acculturation and health outcomes and the ethnographic literature that considers the broader political-economic and social conditions that shape the felt experience of the acculturation process for individuals. My hope is to better understand the cultural meaning systems that develop in the context of immigration to Alabama, how these are shared and acted upon, and how these shape the proximal pathways by which everyday lived experience is linked to blood glucose levels and depressive symptoms.

Randy Arnold |

Advisor: William Dressler 

I am a second year Master’s student with a focus on Cognitive Anthropology. An interest in liminal stages of development led to my current research on cultural models of retirement and aging, identifying correlations between the cultural domain of aging, health outcomes, and self-narrative.

I received my undergraduate degree from New College, where I studied mythic and religious narratives in culture. During my time in New College, I founded the Mythic Roundtable, a faculty and student comprised discussion group centered around topics of myth, magic, and ritual. In 2015, my research on “Iconography of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex: Tracing the Mono-myth of the Heroic Twins” earned the Randall Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award.

I currently serve as the Vice President of the Anthropology Club. My interests outside of anthropology include myth, religion, folk psychology, and photography. In a previous life, I spent my days as a luthier.

Greg Batchelder |

Advisor: Christopher D. Lynn 

Hailing from the mountains of Colorado, I grew up with a love of the outdoors. As a young man, I had the opportunity to live and work at a natural healing center in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona. While developing an appreciation for the medicinal plants in the area, I also had the opportunity to participate in several peyote ceremonies with the local Apache. These experiences piqued my interest in the potential of ceremonial practices involving hallucinogenic preparations in the treatment of mental and physical health issues. This interest has led me to travel to Peru on two occasions to work with ayahuasca shamans in Amazonia.

After fulfilling my duties as a father and shipping my son off to college, I decided to follow his lead and enroll at Mesa State College in Colorado, where I earned a BA in Counseling Psychology. Continuing my education, I attended Colorado State University, where I examined the effects of cultural consonance on stress and depression among persons diagnosed with bipolar disorder. There, as a member of Jeff Snodgrass’ research team, I also examined cultural models and mental health among online gamers. My interest in cultural consonance theory and methodology led me to the University of Alabama. I am currently working in the Yorkín River Valley, located on the Talamancan Indigenous Reserve in Costa Rica. Here, I am examining cultural consonance in the domain of “a successful lifestyle” (senuk buae in the local language) and its relationship to stress and depression among the local Bribri inhabitants. For my next project, I am interested in creating a field site in the mountains of San Martin, Peru to examine cultural models of ayahuasca shamanism among the local Quechua and Shipibo indigenous groups. 

Karl Bennett |

Advisor: William Dressler 

I am a cultural anthropology Master’s student advised by Dr. Dressler and am researching the cultural distribution of strategic knowledge in combat sports. In addition to cognitive anthropology, strategy, and martial arts, I am also interested in a multidisciplinary approach to understanding human nature stemming from my liberal arts background.

Cayla Colclasure |

Advisor: Elliot Blair 

I earned a BA in anthropology from the University of Tennessee in 2017. I am a first-year MA student at the University of Alabama working with Dr. Elliot Blair. My thesis research focuses on invertebrate remains from Guale communities on St. Catherine’s Island, Georgia, during the period of interaction with the Mission de Santa Catalina de Guale. I am analyzing the invertebrate faunal assemblages from several contemporaneous Guale communities on the island, which will be juxtaposed in order to understand the various implications of these differences and how they may reflect upon these communities’ relationships with the mission. These invertebrate faunal assemblages will also be compared to Mississippian samples from St. Catherine’s to observe the changes in shellfish collection and consumption throughout time, and assess the impact of the mission economy on traditional subsistence practices.

Michael Dodson |

Advisor: Jason DeCaro 

I graduated from Long Beach State University in 2017 with a BA in Anthropology. Early in my undergraduate studies I favored biological anthropology over cultural anthropology; however, as my studies went on I quickly realized that human biology and culture are inseparable. This perspective directed my interest to medical anthropology, a field which truly embodies the biocultural perspective; as a medical anthropologist I am interested in understanding the complex ways in which biology and culture overlap to affect health. I am especially interested in studying the health disparities between migrant populations and the mainstream population in the US. More specifically I am concerned with how discrimination and other cultural processes can induce stress and adversely affect the health of migrant populations.

Kohl Dothage |

Advisor: Jason DeCaro 

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.

Shannon Edsall |

Advisor: Keith Jacobi 

I’m a doctoral student in bioarchaeology with interests in diseased joints, biomechanics, and stress in prehistoric dead people. In 2013, I earned BA degrees in Anthropology and Technical Writing from Auburn University, and in 2017, I earned an MA in Anthropology from the University of Alabama (advisor: Dr. Keith Jacobi). My thesis research examined the reliability of using osteoarthritis and entheseal changes as indicators of occupational stress in Native American remains (using prehistoric samples from the Alabama area). For my dissertation, I will expand my studies of the interactions among joints and their moving parts in response to various types of skeletal stress. In addition to research, I’ve had the privilege of teaching in general anthropology, cultural anthropology, and archaeology classes at the University of Alabama as a GTA and of working on excavations in Alabama, Italy, and Peru.

Robert Else |

Advisor: Lesley Jo Weaver 

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.

Clare Farrow |

Advisor: Keith Jacobi 

I graduated from the University of Alabama with my bachelors in Anthropology in 2016 and joined the master’s program the year after. I have a background in Cultural Resource Management, specifically in the state of Pennsylvania. I interned for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation & State Historic Preservation Office over the summer of 2017, where I helped develop a new methodology to test efficacy and accuracy of the Pennsylvania Predictive Model for Prehistoric Archaeological Sites (keep an eye out for our presentation at the 2018 SAA meeting!). In my free time outside of my graduate studies, I am an avid long distance runner hoping to qualify for the Boston marathon in the next few years, as well as beginning to shift towards ultramarathons. My undergraduate anthropology degree was focused on biological anthropology, and my continued interest in human biology and human adaptation is clearly shown through my passion for endurance sports although my academic pursuits have turned more towards archaeology. My research focuses on bioarchaeology, Geographic Information Systems, data analytics, cremation, Predictive Modeling for Site Location, and landscape archaeology.

Lynn Funkhouser |

Advisor: Keith Jacobi 

I received a B.S. in Anthropology, with minors in Archaeology and Native American Studies, from Middle Tennessee State University in 2008.  As an undergraduate at this institution I was afforded several unique opportunities including working as a student researcher on the Hermitage Springs Historic Cemetery Project (under the direction of Dr. Shannon Hodge); positions as first a crew member and, later, a crew chief on the Castalian Springs Archaeological Project, a Mississippian mound site in Middle Tennessee (under the direction of Dr. Kevin Smith); and as member of the Forensic Anthropology Search and Recovery Team (under the direction of Dr. Hugh Berryman), an aspect of the MTSU Forensic Institute for Research and Education.

I received a M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2011.  As a graduate student at USM I had the unbelievable good luck of again becoming involved with a wide variety of projects in both bioarchaeology (under the direction of Dr. Marie Danforth) and archaeology (under the direction of Dr. Ed Jackson) including the inventory and analysis of individuals from a Mexican-American war cemetery; an assessment of the prevalence of Klippel-Feil Syndrome (a congenital disease) in the prehistoric Southeast; as a crew member on the Winterville Archaeological Project, a Mississippian mound center located outside of Greenville, MS; and as a field technician on the Grand Bay Archaeological Project, in the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Pascagoula, MS.  My master’s thesis examined the health experiences of early eighteenth century European immigrants to the Mississippi Gulf Coast from an analysis of the remains of thirty adults recovered from the Moran French Colonial Cemetery in Biloxi, MS.

I am a first year PhD student at Alabama and an advisee of Dr. Keith Jacobi.  My current research interests include the early Mississippian period at Moundville and paleopathology with an emphasis on congenital disease, the etiology of Harris Lines, and skeletal manifestations of anemia.

Mandy Guitar |

Advisor: Christopher D. Lynn

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 current research is focused on the ovulatory cycle, human olfaction, and the debate surrounding the existence of human pheromones. Additionally, I have an ongoing research project that examines language ideologies related to gender within biomedical research and the impact this has on trans* individuals. Previous research topics include female intrasexual competition on Facebook, conceptualizations of emotional and sexual infidelity, an evolutionary analysis of body ornamentation, and testing an evolutionary model of emotional states using Second Life.

Kareen Hawsey |

Advisor: Ian W. Brown 

My interests primarily lie in prehistoric Southeastern archaeology. Specifically, I focus on the late Woodland to early Mississippian transition, during which complex societies dependent upon maize agriculture emerged. I am particularly interested in how this transition occurred, as well as the ways in which hunter-gatherer groups interacted with those of early agriculturalists in the region.

My M.A. research involved a morphological and functional analysis of terminal Woodland West Jefferson phase pottery in the Black Warrior Valley of Alabama. I explored whether technological changes in pottery reflect the transition from hunter-gatherer societies to complex agricultural ones that occurred circa A.D. 1070. I argued that indigenous potters tended to be technologically conservative, as my research indicated that they were not adopting the pottery forms or food processing technologies of intrusive Mississippian populations.

My current Ph.D. research addresses similar issues involving early agriculturalists in Central Alabama. Although the subject of little archaeological attention, large White Oak phase village sites along the central Alabama River are perhaps some of the earliest sedentary maize agriculturalists in the region. I am examining White Oak settlement patterns, subsistence, and pottery morphology and function, with the hope that this research will contribute to broader research questions concerning the spread of maize agriculture throughout the region.

Nikki Henderson |

Advisor: William Dressler

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.

Mirjam Holleman |

Advisor: Marysia Galbraith 

Arrived Fall 2014.

I’m a PhD student in the Biocultural Medical Anthropology program.

My main interest is in disability studies (from an anthropological perspective) and my goal is to do research in Poland on the social inclusion and participation (or lack thereof) of people with disabilities in Polish society.  My main advisors are Dr. Marysia Galbraith and Dr. Jason DeCaro.

My M.A. in Social and Cultural Anthropology was earned at the Vrije University of Amsterdam. My thesis was about dealing with diversity in a cohousing community and was based on 3 months of field research at the Ecovillage of Ithaca, where I attempted to capture the Ecovillagers’ struggle to maintain a balance between a deep respect for individuality while living together as a community, striving toward a common vision. Individuality in Community 

 I earned a B.A. in Social Sciences, with a minor in linguistics, from University College Roosevelt Academy, in Middelburg, the Netherlands, and completed a thesis called Deconstructing Discrimination which takes an anthropological, psychological, sociological, and historical perspective to analyze the roots and perpetuation of discrimination, as well as processes of religious and institutional change and the potential for social justice, focusing specifically on the constructs of race and homosexuality in U.S. society. Deconstructing Discrimination

 The topics of my B.A., M.A. and upcoming PhD research might seem completely unrelated, but actually they all reflect an interest in issues of inequality, (socially constructed) categories of discrimination, and (socially defined) perimeters of inclusion and exclusion.

Emily Hoskins |

Advisor: Keith Jacobi 

I am terrified of clowns and obsessed with corgis. My favorite Disney princess is Belle. I grew up in Pensacola, FL. I love to travel and enjoyed doing Semester at Sea for part of my undergrad degree.

My research interests are as follows: I do a lot of work with conflict osteology. I have done a lot of research on cranio-facial mutilation and mass graves. I created a method to determine MNA (minimum number of assailants). Also I have done some research on 3 red-painted skulls. All the remains I have currently done research on have been from the Middle Tennessee River Valley.
Jenna Hurtubise

Jenna Hurtubise |

Advisor: Lisa LeCount 

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.

Jessica Kowalski |

Advisor: John H. Blitz 

I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology from the University of Mississippi in 2006 and a Master of Arts degree in anthropology from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2009.  My thesis research involved the analysis of an Early Mississippian ceramic assemblage from the Winterville Mounds (22WS500), a large Mississippian mound center just north of Greenville, Mississippi.
Following graduate school, I worked for the Gulf Coast office of Coastal Environments, Incorporated, as a field archaeologist and project manager on projects in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.  In 2011, I joined the Environmental/Historic Preservation staff at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Mississippi Recovery Office as an archaeologist. 

I am a third year student in the doctoral program at the University of Alabama.  My research interests include the archaeology of the Lower Mississippi Valley (LMV) and the Mississippi and Louisiana Gulf Coasts, political organization during the Mississippian period, and the manufacture, distribution, and use of Native American Indian pottery. As part of my dissertation research, I hope to explore political organization among selected mound centers in the Southern Yazoo Basin of the LMV with a special focus on the multi-mound center of Arcola.  My major advisor is Dr. John Blitz.

Taylor Lawhon |

Advisor: Lisa LeCount 

My focus in on Latin American archaeology, specifically Maya archaeology. For the past two summers I have traveled to Belize with my advisor Dr. LeCount to conduct ceramic analysis on pottery from the site of Actuncan. In particular I am examining ceramics from Actuncan’s noble palace in an effort to better understand who inhabited the palace, and the function of different rooms within the palace.

Avery McNeece |

Advisor: Kathryn Oths 

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 |

Advisor: William Dressler 

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.

Natalie Mooney |

Advisor: Ian W. Brown 

I received a B.S. in History with a minor in Anthropology from the University of West Alabama in May 2017. Presently, I will be a first year Master’s student under the advisement of Dr. Ian Brown with a specialization in Archaeology. Thanks to my time at my undergraduate university, I have a particular set of research interests, interests that I have acquired over a very long four years. This includes the archaeology of slave houses specifically within the Black Belt. Personally, I would like to determine if the archaeology of slave houses within the Black Belt is significantly different from other areas in Alabama and continue to add to the Black Belt Slave Housing Survey, in which I participated underneath Dr. Ashley Dumas. I am also intrigued by the living conditions of freed men after the Civil War and if there is any archaeological variance between the years prior to, during, and after the war as many slaves continued to live in the same quarters and work, with pay, for their old masters. I also interned as a 3D prototyping technician within the Black Belt Museum where my job was to create original 3D scans and then format them into printable 3D models. This is extremely useful for a variety of reasons, the least of which is that this is a new form of preservation and it is possible to accurately and visually record excavations and I would like to continue to apply this technology within my research. Finally, I have an interest in historiography and I would like to determine whether the histories on slaves and the Old South adjust because of a modification of cultural values and or the events occurring at the time when the history was written and the effects of these histories on interracial relationships within communities. Other than that, I enjoy a nice cup of coffee, being incredibly long-winded, and watching (or playing) a good game of soccer.

Camille Morgan |

Advisor: Keith Jacobi 

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!


Sarah Elizabeth Morrow |

Advisor: Jason DeCaro 

Sarah Elizabeth Morrow is a doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alabama. Working with her advisor, Dr. Jason DeCaro, Sarah is using spatial analysis to understand patterning of food insecurity and chronic stress in the US.

She completed her MA at the University of Alabama, under Dr. Kathryn Oths and Dr. Elizabeth Cooper. Her thesis research focused on food security and conceptual definitions of “social capital”. By working with a Tuscaloosa based non-profit organization, this research looked to understand how women in need of food assistance find food resources, share knowledge with peers, and identify the role that the community may play in accessing food. Other research interests include nutrition, public health, community health strategies, and long term study of the biocultural and psychosocial impact of food insecurity over time.

During her MA, Sarah also completed extensive research on the University of Alabama Library System with Dr. Cooper. This applied project sought to use cognitive methods to understand perceptions regarding the libraries and their uses.

Previously, she attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, receiving a BA in Anthropology and a BA in Theater. Her undergraduate research looked at the role of identity and enculturation in theater subcultures and the role of academia as a regulatory device in the arts. Southeast Asian theater, topeng performance, and general mask development are also of personal interest.

Originally from just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sarah misses the snow, the rolling hills, and, most of all, her family. But Alabama is pretty good too.

Clay Nelson |

Advisor: Ian W. Brown 

I am a long time resident of Tuscaloosa County and received my B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Alabama in 2012. During my undergraduate years, I quickly became interested in archaeology and spent a lot of time volunteering or working in the Gulf Coast Survey Lab and the Archaeology lab in ten Hoor. In 2010 I attended the University’s field school that was held at Asphalt Plant Mound located one mile north of Moundville. During the summer of 2011 I was fortunate enough to spend a month in Belize at the Ancient Mayan site of Actuncan. There I assisted Chet Walker of Archgeophysical Survey, LLC. in a magnetometer survey covering a large portion of the site. While I did not develop a great interest in Mayan archaeology, I did find an interest in magnetometry, other remote sensing, and its application to archaeology. Besides remote sensing I am also interested in Southeastern U.S. Archaeology, Mississippian societies, and the European contact period. 

Nicholas Roy |

Advisor: Christopher D. Lynn 

I am a second-year student in the anthropology master’s program at the University of Alabama. I have a Bachelor’s of Science in psychology with minors in anthropology and evolutionary studies also from UA. I am a graduate researcher in the Human Behavioral Ecology Research Group and a graduate teaching assistant within the department. My research interests include studying gender,  sexuality, and cognitive anthropology within a biocultural framework. My advisor is Christopher Lynn.

I am also a recipient of the National Alumni Association Graduate Fellowship in 2016-2017.

I can be reached at or by phone at (256) 453-9325.

David Scott |

Advisor: Kathryn Oths 

My research interests include:

  • Ecological Anthropology (Socio-Cultural Anthropology)
    • Anthropocene Anthropology
      • The Anthropology of Climate Change
      • The Anthropology of Sustainability
      • Environmental Anthropology
      • Design Anthropology
      • Disaster Anthropology
      • Existential Anthropology
      • Critical Ecological Anthropology

Hannah Smith |

Advisor: Kathryn Oths 

I am a master’s student with a focus in Biocultural Medical Anthropology. My current research project, which I work on with Dr. Kathryn Oths, focuses on how dramatic cultural, environmental, social, and economic changes in Chugurpama, a northern Andean hamlet in Peru, affects the health of individuals. In particular, we have examined how varying exposure to high altitude hypoxia due to these dynamic conditions have resulted in changes in weight and height of children.

My future research interests will likely be focused on understanding the reasons behind certain biomedical practices especially within maternal and infant care, and how these practices affect health of individuals in western and non-western areas. I plan to begin medical school in the fall of 2018. After hopefully completing my medical degree, I aspire to work within the biomedical field and breech the distance between the research put forth by medical anthropologists and medical practitioners. The ultimate goal would be to not only practice medicine in a more culturally relative manner, but to present anthropological research from the perspective of a practicing physician.

Darryl Spangler |

Advisor: Jason DeCaro 

I received my B.A. in Anthropology with a minor in Evolutionary Studies from The University of Alabama in May, 2016. During this time, I became interested in what physical anthropology could tell us about the human condition. I found the intersection between culture and biology to be of particular interest and began to approach human health using a biocultural framework. Currently, I am a second-year M.A. student in Biological Anthropology with interests in biological and health markers related to nutritional stress. For my master’s thesis, I am taking a biocultural research approach to investigate nutritional stress and differential growth and health outcomes among male and female children of the Philippines. I am also working with a model organism (Drosophila melanogaster), with Dr. Laura Reed in the Department of Biology here at The University of Alabama, to gain a better understanding of biological mechanisms that may play into differential growth outcomes among males and females. My adviser is Dr. Jason DeCaro.

Alyxandra Stanco |

Advisor: Keith Jacobi 

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.

Max Stein |

Advisor: Kathryn Oths 

Max Stein is nearing the completion of his Ph.D. degree in Biocultural Medical Anthropology (working with Prof. Kathy Oths). He specializes in immigrant and refugee health, with interests spanning global mental health, religious behavior, and mixed-methods research. His primary region of study is Latin America, where he has worked in Peru, Honduras, and Costa Rica. Max’s dissertation explores a migration network of farmers from the village of Chugurpampa in the Andes mountains of Peru who have migrated to the city of Trujillo, where he conducted ethnographic research from July 2014 to June 2016. This work examines how migrants’ social status influences their migration success and health outcomes relative to others in their community. He is also a member of Dr. Chris Lynn’s Human Behavioral Ecology Research Group (HBERG), where he trains undergrad researchers in ethnographic and statistical research methods and design. In whatever spare time Max can find, he is usually either running on campus, writing alongside his Peruvian cat Lily, or socializing with other grad students re: the vicissitudes of academic life.

Ashley Stewart |

Advisor: Keith Jacobi 

I received my B.A. in Anthropology with a minor in History from Auburn University in May of 2010. My main concentration within Anthropology was Archaeology, and I have since dug on sites in Romania, Greece, and all over the southeastern U.S. I am excited to continue my education at Alabama with a focus on Bioarchaeology under Dr. Jacobi. 

Monika Wanis |

Advisor: Kathryn Oths

I am currently a second year Biocultural Medical Anthropology masters student interested in cross cultural differences in health seeking behaviors. I study traditional, complementary and alternative medicine in order to understand why people seek traditional healers and alternative therapies as opposed to biomedical practitioners and biomedical practices.

My current research project investigates how the enactment of Israel’s National Health Insurance Law has shaped the patterns of utilization, awareness and preferences associated with biomedical and traditional health practices of Bedouins living in Israel’s Negev desert region. During the summer of 2017 I conducted a six week, cross-sectional, mixed methods study consisting of interviews, participant observation, and case studies. The goal of this project is to provide insight on the impact of Israel’s National Health Insurance Law on the availability, accessibility, satisfaction and use of biomedical and traditional medicine. I am originally from Cairo, Egypt but have lived in Columbus, Ohio for the past 20 years. I have traveled to over 20 different countries and I speak Arabic, English, Spanish, and Russian. I am also the Treasurer of the Anthropology Club and the Executive Vice President of the Graduate Student Association. My goal is to obtain my doctorate degree, become a university professor and continue exploring various healing modalities from particularly the middle east, with the hope of integrating a holistic, well rounded approach to Western healthcare frameworks.

Kevin Pierce Wright |

Advisor: Elliot Blair 

I am a masters student interested in prehistoric complex societies of the American Southeast. My research focuses on using non-destructive spectrographic analyses methods, such as XRF, on historic Choctaw ceramics from Mississippi. I first became interested in anthropology at Wake Forest University when I took an introduction to archaeology course. Soon afterwards, I found myself volunteering in my professor’s lab washing artifacts! I am very excited to be working at the University of Alabama. Roll Tide!