Grad student awards, awards, and more awards

Photo: (from left to right) Yomalli, Giselle, Bryn, Galen, a Sad Plant, Matia, Sean, Peter


This is a productive year for the WWU Medical Anthropology Lab, with students celebrating graduation, grants, and research projects in full swing.


Megan Stephenson (MA 2016) successfully defended her thesis, “Video education for nutritional management of type 2 diabetes in rural, multiethnic community in Molokai, Hawaii,” received departmental distinction, a grant from the WWU Fund for the Enhancement of Graduate Research, and a WWU Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Isabella Ramos Miller (BA 2016) successfully defended her honors thesis titled, “Simplifying Care: A Pilot Study; Reworking the Structure of Sexual Health Education Sessions at Western Washington University.” Tawny Mayer (BA 2016) received a research Grant for Undergraduate Students for her project, “The Digitized Indian: Representation and Reclamation in Video Games,” and successfully graduated. Brooke Jespersen (BA 2015) enrolled in the medical anthropology program at Case Western Reserve University and is revising a manuscript on her WWU-based research on cultural competency.


Current graduate students are working diligently on their research. Matia Jones, Peter Miterko and Kayla Soucy each were awarded field research grants from the WWU Fund for the Enhancement of Graduate Research to complement Cecilia Martin and Megan Stephenson’s awards from the previous two years. All MA students are focused on data analysis and thesis writing, but still find time to support each other in the lab. Way to go!


Galen Herz (senior) and I received a grant from the WWU Thaddeus Spratlen and Lois Price-Spratlen Inclusion and Diversity Grants Program to examine undergraduate mentoring networks at WWU. As part of the grant, Galen and I attended a social networking analysis workshop at the 2016 Society for Applied Anthropology meetings in Vancouver, Washington. We expect to complete this project in the spring with two new research assistants, Bryn Knapp (senior) and Yomalli Contreras-Ortiz (senior).


Yomalli Contreras-Ortiz has been assisting me with preliminary data collection on a project titled, “Surviving Fieldwork: Mixed Methods Evaluation of Fieldwork Safety Issues Among Anthropology and Biology Field Scientists” and we are planning on applying for a large grant this winter to support the full project.


Giselle Kiraly completed data collection on a project that is examining the gender composition of anthropology journals over the last forty years. We anticipate presenting preliminary findings with our collaborators, Heather Fullerton (Visiting Professor, Pacific Lutheran University) and Emilio Bruna (Professor, U of Florida), at the 2017 Society for Applied Anthropology meetings this spring.


In relation to Ms. Kiraly’s gender project, I launched the Gatekeepers Project in collaboration with Emilio Bruna. In this crowd-sourced project we seek to understand how and why Editorial Board composition varies within and across disciplines and then use these data to help scholars, academic societies, editors, and publishers in their efforts to make the Editorial Boards of our journals more inclusive and diverse.


I also recently presented at the American Anthropology Association Annual meeting in the panel titled “ORGANIZE THIS! Data management for anthropology in the digital age, preserving our evidence for future discovery.” I presented on a project I am developing with a tribal partner and expect to share a video of the talk and chapter in an edited volume in the next year.


As part of the Sustainable Cities Partnership, this spring my capstone class will participate in partnered research with the City of Edmonds, WA. Working in partnership with several city departments, we will assess the walkability within a region adjacent to downtown, while also examining local walking practices and perceptions of the place.


The next year looks like an exciting time for the lab with several expected graduations, presentations, and new publications. We are always are looking for a few good anthropologists, so if you are interested in joining us be sure to check out our webpage or just stop in to say hello!


Grad student awards, awards, and more awards