If you are interested in joining the lab with an independent study, work-study, or graduate research, check out the Join Us page.
(by the way – we don’t actually have a lab – yet – but I’m working on it).

Current Members

Sean Bruna, PhD

Sean’s current research examines disciplinary practices, fieldwork safety, and emergent wellness practices among underrepresented peoples.

 Graduate Students (whose Committee I Chair)

Matia Jones (website) M.A. Candidate, Cultural Anthropology

Matia is a Farihaven College graduate with an interdisciplinary BA entitled ‘Wellness.’ This degree focused on social and environmental justice as preventative health care. She has worked in sustainable agriculture and the allied health care field since 2001 and 2003 respectively. Current work includes a Master’s thesis entitled Ethnography of Urban Food Policy: Increasing Food Sovereignty in Bellingham, WA Through Urban Agriculture.

Samantha Whalen M.A. Candidate, Cultural Anthropology

Samantha Whalen examines surrogacy in the US.

 Post-Baccalaureate Students

Tyler Stodola, BA, 2017

Tyler is a Western Washington University graduate with a BA in Anthropology with a focus on biology and culture. He plans to continue researching biological anthropology, concentrating on medical anthropology and education. Tyler is utilizing his degree within the field of large scale horticulture, as well as conducting analysis of the content and topics found within university medical anthropology courses.

 Undergraduate Students

Angel Terry, Political Science, Sophomore

Angel is a freshman with an interest in cultural anthropology and political science, with a later focus in law. Angel is assisting with various lab tasks, including research on gender and academia.

Hoku Rivera, Anthropology, Junior

Hoku was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi and is a Junior pursuing BA degrees in English and Cultural Anthropology. She is assisting in research data collection and analysis, and later plans to enter a doctoral program for ethnographic research in the South Pacific.

Robyn Caylor, Anthropology, Junior

Robyn is a junior studying anthropology and chemistry with an interest in medical anthropology and humanitarian health. Robyn assisted with a literature review.

Aengus, BA in Landscaping, Post-Graduate Fellowship in Osteology

Aengus is a 7th year wolfhound completing a post-graduate fellowship in osteology.  He asks that you send him supplies for his research because he is a very good dog.

Medanthro Lab Alumni: Graduate Students

Cecilia Martin M.A., Cultural Anthropology, Summer 2019

Cecilia Martin’s photovoice based research examines water needs in a small rural community in Kenya.

Peter Miterko, MA (Outstanding Graduate Award), Cultural Anthropology, Fall 2017

Peter Miterko graduated in 2017 with a Master of Arts in Anthropology with a focus in cultural and applied anthropology. His thesis work was a collaborative project with a regional nonprofit that examined how community develops and is experienced within one of their project-based permanent supportive housing programs. This original research earned him the anthropology department’s Outstanding Graduate Student Award for the 2017/2018 academic year. Peter now works for Northwest Youth Services as a Housing Case Manager at 22 North. In addition to this, Peter continues to pursue research as part of a local research team that seeks to examine the impact of project-based supportive housing in rural communities. You can find more about Peter’s anthropological interests in environmental issues, Latin American, applied and collaborative research, inequality and power (among other things), on his blog – The Application of Anthropology: Notes from the Field

Megan Stephenson, MA (Outstanding Graduate Award), Cultural Anthropology, Spring 2016

A former multimedia reporter, Megan Stephenson graduated with a Master’s  in medical anthropology. Her thesis work was a pilot project regarding nutritional type 2 diabetes education videos in a rural community in Hawai’i. Megan Stephenson is a specialist on the Outreach and Enrollment team at Unity Care NW, a non-profit community health center. Specialists “work to connect patients to high quality, affordable health care services by providing insurance enrollment, health care navigation support, and community outreach to medically underserved populations in a manner that empowers patients to understand and engage in their health care.

Medanthro Lab Alumni: Undergraduate Students

Tori Bianchi, B.S., Bio-Anthropology with Honors, Spring 2018

Tori has an interest in human origins and evolution, and will continue in a paleoanthropology / archaeology MA following graduation. Tori is assisted  with graphic design and planning for the Cascadia Seminar in Medical Anthropology.

Madeleine Rackers, Biology/Anthropology

Madeleine Rackers is  a Biology/Anthropology major with a pre-medical focus. She plans to attend medical school after graduating and practice rural women’s medicine internationally.

Anna Knoblach, BA, Anthropology, Spring 2017

Anna Knoblach examined phone and tablet applications for anthropological research. Anna will join the Peace Corps in the Summer of 2018, where she will work with educational development.

Bryn Knapp, B.S., Psychology, Winter 2017

Bryn graduated with a BS in Psychology with minors in Anthropology and Sociology.Bryn examined informal mentoring found on Western’s campus.She is planning on obtaining her Masters in Counseling.

Kate Varberg, BA, Multidisciplinary Studies, BA, Winter 2017

Kate graduated in Multidisciplinary Studies with a focus in Psychology and Sociology. Kate examined occupational risk and safety in academic workplaces and field settings.  Following a year sailing from South Africa to the Netherlands, Kate hope to join the Coast Guard.

Giselle Kiraly, Biology & Anthropology, BS, Winter 2017

 Giselle assisted with an examination of the gender composition of editorial boards for various anthropology journals. Giselle Kiraly will continue in a biological anthropology MA program in England in Fall of 2018.

Yomalli Contreras-Ortiz, B.A., Anthropology, Fall 2017

Yomalli examined student perspectives regarding mentoring practices at WWU.

Galen Herz, B.S. Biochemistry & Anthropology, Fall 2017

Galen co-authored a lab grant researching informal mentoring networks at Western Washington University. Galen is in the fight for climate justice.

Steve Martin B.S., Biology & Anthropology, Spring 2017

Steve graduated with with a B.S. in Biology-Anthropology. As recently shared, “I am now working for a defense and aerospace company as a Statistical Analyst in Southern California. We work with the Department of Defense and Nasa. I will be starting an MBA program (Global Business emphasis) this summer at the University of Redlands California. My end goal is to earn a job with NASA as a Project Manager one day.”

Lillian Loescher B.A., Pure Mathematics, Spring 2017

Lillian assisted with a research project in WWU’s C. Elegans neuroscience lab where she examined associative learning and memory.  Following graduation, Lillian taught mathematics at Linn-Benton Community College and led a fiction book club. She will pursue a Maters degree in Mathematics beginning in September 2018 at University College, Dublin.

Evangelia Pantoleon B.A., Cultural Anthropology, Spring 2016

Evangelia graduated with a degree in cultural anthropology. She researched gendered leadership in the Society for Medical Anthropology.  

Tawny Mayer, B.A., Anthropology, 2016

Tawny graduated with a degree in anthropology and in her senior year received a research Grant for Undergraduate Students for her project, “The Digitized Indian: Representation and Reclamation in Video Games“.  Tawny is apply for graduate studies to work on indigenous language development in Fall of 2018.

Louie Labrador M.A., Business 2015

Louie was a business student and a wizard with spreadsheets, statistics, and R.

Alex Donigian, B.S. Bio-Cultural Anthropology, Spring 2016

Alex Donigian graduated with a degree in biocultural anthropology student. His interest is primarily involved in applying anthropological perspectives to sport studies and evolutionary biomechanics.  Alex is currently training for the Olympics.

Isabella Ramos Miller B.S., Bio-Anthropology (with Honors), Spring 2016

Isabella graduated from WWU with a B.S. in Biology-Anthropology and a Spanish minor. Her final project as part of the Honors Program is titled “Simplifying Care: A Pilot Study, Reworking the Structure of Sexual Health Education Sessions at Western Washington University.” Interested in the anthropological factors that influence human health, Isabella is attending the University of Utah’s nursing program.

Sam Bottman B.A., Biology & Anthropology, Spring 2016

BA in Anthropology/Biology with a Music minor.

Brita Eisert B.A., Biology & Anthropology, Spring 2016

BS in Biology/Anthropology with a Spanish minor. She is planning on attending PA school and is interested in pediatric primary care.

Brooke Jespersen B.A., Anthropology & Spanish (with Honors), 2015

Brooke Jespersen graduated from WWU (2015) with a B.A. in anthropology and Spanish. Her Honors Senior Thesis was entitled “Making Cultural Competence Accessible: An Anthropological Evaluation of Training Curricula for Primary Care Providers.” Brooke currently attends Case Western Reserve University, where she completed an MA (2017) and pursues a PhD in anthropology. Her research examines how Puerto Rican elders and their families negotiate eldercare in migratory contexts.