Alumni Spotlights

student standing in front of his research poster

 Danielle HeilDanielle Heil (2018) was an Anthropology and Linguistics double major. "During my time as an anthropology major at Miami I was able to learn how to apply my natural inquisitiveness to question how people behave, especially how they interact with each other and their environment. The Anthropology Department provided me with opportunities to take classes that appealed to me with professors who are passionate about the topics they teach. I was also provided with the opportunity to pursue my interest in how people talk about and perform health and wellness further through independent research and the Undergraduate Summer Scholars program. With the qualitative research skills I gained as an anthropology major I’m now pursuing a Master’s degree in Human Computer Interaction from Drexel University and a career in User Experience Research."

Blake Burrell eco-village 2019Blake Burrell (2020) recently accepted a position as the incoming Housing Coordinator for St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County in Eugene, Oregon. He and his team are providing transitional housing to unsheltered residents of the greater Eugene community. His team will develop new affordable housing programs that use experimental methods such as tiny homes, pallet homes, and hotel placement programs to combat chronic homelessness. Blake reflected that his research experience with Cincinnati's Enright Ridge Urban Eco-Village was integral for securing this new position.

Brandi McConahay (2017)Brandi McConahay (2017) was an anthropology and interactive media studies double major. "During my time at Miami, I had the opportunity to undertake three anthropology independent research projects and one project with both the anthropology and interactive media studies departments. These projects ranged from understanding the impacts of extreme satire such as Charlie Hebdo, developing teaching methods for intro archaeology labs, making archaeology accessible to the public through augmented reality and interactive virtual museum interfaces, and using 3D technology to create interactive 3D models for virtual museums and for experimental archaeology printing. I was also able to study abroad as part of Miami’s Caribbean archaeology field school, and completed 3 internships. As a direct result of the variety of experiences and training I received at Miami, I am completing my master’s degree at the University of Cambridge, where I am continuing to use 3D technology to address archaeological questions. After the completion of my master’s degree, I plan to continue into a PhD program."

Daniel T. McClurkin (2017)Daniel T. McClurkin (2017) is pursuing his PhD in English at the Johns Hopkins University. Daniel's current research is on 16th and 17th century English pastoral poetry and its relation to the English conquests subsequent colonization of Ireland. During his time as an anthropology major at Miami, he studied topics that would become crucial to his current research such as the interplay between colonization and language repression, the uses and abuses of mythic pasts and folk tales, and the grammars through which faith communities perform their own religious identity. As an Undergraduate Summer Scholar in 2015, Daniel conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Northern Ireland mentored by Dr. James Bielo, which became instrumental for his PhD research into the literary history of Anglo-Irish relations.

Brittany Anderson (2016)Brittany Anderson (2016) is currently working as a Public Health Adviser and Field Environmental Health Specialist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Kotzebue, Alaska. She developed an interest in public health through the many medical anthropology courses she took while at Miami, as well as during her study abroad experience in South Africa. Brittany attributes her selection as a CDC Public Health Associate fellow to her background in anthropology and molecular biology, as well as her placement in a tribal health organization in rural Alaska. She has the distinction of being the northern-most CDC fellow in the world, living and working 33 miles above the Arctic Circle.

Garrett Gust (2016)Garrett Gust (2016) found firm footing in anthropology after exploring several majors. With its vibrant methodology and intriguing and engaging research, anthropology opened up a world of possibilities. Miami Anthropology fostered his voracious appetite for reading and refined a commitment to lifelong curiosity. Realizing a passion for the discipline, he began a Master of Arts in the Social Science degree at the University of Chicago in 2017. He has conducted research on craft beer, Dungeons & Dragons, and the Chicago River, and has held rich employment in non-profits, universities, and the Chicago Park District. Work in the healthcare sector is on the horizon after completing the MA in 2018, though he is ever drawn to the allure of learning and hopes to eventually pursue a doctorate in anthropology and teach.

JaShawn Combs (2015)JaShawn Combs (2015) worked as a Graduate Assistant running the Digital Imaging Lab at Northern Arizona University (NAU). While at NAU, he interned at PennDOT and the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office doing Geographic Information Systems. This experience prepared him for a thesis in photogrammetry and preservation of cultural resources. After earning his MA from NAU, he began working as a seasonal Archaeology Technician with the United States Forest Service throughout the Southwest. Currently, he is a part time Archaeology Technician with Michael Baker International. Because of the foundation established by the Department of Anthropology at Miami University, he has found importance in adding diversity to the field of archaeology and creating a voice that is seldom heard in the field. In the future, he plans to work for a Department of Transportation or a State Historic Preservation Office as an Archaeologist.

Michele Bailey (2014)Michele Bailey (2014) teaches Special Education and Dyslexia at Douglass Elementary, serving students from grades K-6. She currently attending Columbia University's Teachers College to obtain her Master's degree in Organization and Leadership. Her degree will be conferred in the fall of 2018. Her anthropology degree has served her greatly in her position because she has to work and understand different types of students, parents, and professionals. Like doing an ethnography, Michele has to come into delicate situations as an outsider and learn how to build relationships to best advocate for her students.

Alexa DavisDuring her junior year Alexa Davis (2014) was awarded a 12-week paid summer internship with the Human Resources department at Fossil Inc. in the Dallas, Texas area. In applying for the position, Alexa used her knowledge of ethnography and business anthropology to connect with Fossil’s goals of understanding organizational culture, marketing and consumer behavior, and the transnational challenges of the global economy. Today, Alexa is Assistant Creative Marketing Manager at Global Horizons, LLC in Cincinnati.

Meghan Mullins (2014)Meghan Mullins (2014) graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology and Latin American Studies and minor in Linguistics. While at Miami, she was awarded the Alejandro E. Garrote Scholarship to attend the Caribbean Archaeological Field School in Eleuthera, Bahamas. This experience led to an interest in island archaeology and an independent ceramic study project advised by Dr. Mary Jane Berman. She presented her research findings at the Miami University Undergraduate Research Forum and the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas. Since graduation, Meghan received a Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums Fellowship for Promising Emerging Museum Professionals, received her M.A. in Museum Studies from George Washington University in May 2017, and currently works in collections management as a federal contractor for the Smithsonian Institution. In her spare time, she writes about digital accessibility and technology in cultural institutions for the all-female produced museum blog, Collections and Curators.

Monica Neff (2014)Monica Neff (2014) has participated in multiple projects in field archaeology and archaeological science since graduating from Miami.  This includes two archaeological excavations in Bat, Oman; with the American-Japanese Bat Archaeological Project, which focuses on the Hafit period (ca. 3100-2700 BCE); and Manot Cave in Israel with Case Western Reserve University focusing on evidence of modern human spread during the Upper Paleolithic.  I recently received my Master of Science in Archaeological Science from Durham University in England, which expanded my research skills in environmental archaeology, biomolecules, and genetics analysis.  Two published projects from this program are forthcoming in 2018 that analyze populations through biomolecule sources. Looking forward, she hopes to enter a PhD program to further her research career in biochemistry.

Caroline Johnson (2014)Caroline Johnson (2014) double majored in Anthropology and History and graduated with an MA in History from Miami in 2016. She is currently pursuing a PhD in American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and her research centers on the ethics of captioning in photojournalism. Her background in anthropology and history made her a strong candidate for this interdisciplinary field. During her junior year at Miami, Caroline conducted independent research creating 3D scans of 19th century pipes, an experience she credits with sparking her passion for material culture. Her undergraduate anthropology courses provided her with the basic communication and writing skills necessary for her current role teaching and pursuing a career in academia. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively across cultural boundaries has proved invaluable to creating an open classroom environment and maintaining lasting work relationships across various departments, fields, and universities.

Erica FoxWhile taking her semester abroad in Dharamsala, India, Erica Fox (2013) served in an internship at the Central Tibetan Government’s Environment and Development Desk. She completed a research report on connections between Tibetan nomads, the Tibetan Plateau grasslands, and Chinese Government policy, which was published in the Environment and Development Desk’s 2012 annual newsletter. At the same time, she conducted an independent research project on the links between socioeconomic status and access to running water in refugee households. Erica was the Anthropology Department’s first “triple crown winner,” earning the Second Year Service Award, the Provost’s Academic Achievement Award and the President’s Distinguished Service Award each in her sophomore, junior and senior years, respectively. The anthropology and sustainability double major plans a career in environmental studies—but first she must complete her two-year stint with the “Teach for America” program.

Brittany Spear (2013)Brittany Spear (2013) joined together her love of summer camp and academia in ATH465 during her junior year by studying linguistic diversity at a multicultural summer camp she worked at in the summer of 2011. Her love of language and young adults carried with her through a stint as a counselor at a wilderness boarding school for students with emotional and behavioral concerns and led her to a Masters in teaching at the University of Virginia. She currently works as a high school English and English Language Development teacher. She still embraces learning about other cultures and the wide world around us through travel, most recently to Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Italy, France, and Turkey.

Jarrid Baldwin (2013)Jarrid Baldwin (2013) is a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and is employed as a Community Language Program Coordinator with the Tribe. For his position, he spends much of the time interacting with the Miami community, which is spread out across the country, in a way that encourages them to engage with their heritage language and culture. The Miami community is in the process of language revitalization and Jarrid helps provide community members with resources and contacts in whatever area of the culture interests them. His work very involves interacting with many people he doesn’t know, often in unfamiliar geographic regions. Anthropology helped him learn how to look at everything from multiple perspectives and adapt his work to fit different needs.

Mehghen MattaMeghen Matta (2012) says she got her current job as a research associate in the Past Foundation’s Knowledge Capture department as a direct result of the skills she learned at Miami: knowledge of the IRB process, familiarity with qualitative data analysis software, and experience with survey-based research and analysis. While at Miami, Meagan traveled to India to study community health conditions in the Tibetan refugee community.

Margo Rosner (2012) took nearly every culture course the anthropology department offered, and studied abroad in Gujarat during her junior year before graduating cum laude. But it was the medical anthropology courses that stuck—today she is a Public Health Associate and Disease Intervention Specialist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Baltimore, MD.

Venicia Slotten (2012)Venicia Slotten (2012) was a double major in anthropology and Latin American studies. Anthropology classes at Miami sparked a deep interest in learning about the human past, leading Venicia to working as an archaeologist on projects in Belize, El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. After completing her Masters degree in anthropology at the University of Cincinnati in 2015, she is now pursuing her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley with research interests in Mesoamerica, household archaeology, social stratification, and paleoethnobotanical studies.

After graduating from Miami, Kim Stahl (2011) took additional archaeological training at Heidelberg University of Ohio. She is now an Archaeological Field Technician working in Cultural Resource Management (CRM). She’s worked both for private firms and the US Forest Service on projects that have taken her to Indiana, California and South Carolina.

Kerry LoganA business major couldn’t fulfill Kerry Logan’s (2010) wide ranging interests, so she switched to anthropology. She spent the spring of her junior year in Rome, Italy. She is currently completing a Master of Public Health degree at DePaul University, and working as the Volunteer Coordinator at Hephzibah Children's Association. 

Sarah McKassonSarah McKasson (2010) was an anthropology and statistics double-major. She participated in Miami’s 2008 summer workshop in Dharmasala, India, where she looked at the effects of Tibetan medicine and Buddhism on the treatment of substance abuse. In her senior year, Sarah collaborated with Dr. Cameron-Hay Rollins, Miami’s medical anthropologist, to study women’s eating habits during college life. Sarah received her Master’s degree in Public health from Tulane University in 2012, and now works as a Research & Evaluation Analyst at the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI), a non-profit network organization that supports national public health system initiative.

Colleen PayneDuring the summer of 2008 Colleen Payne (2010) participated in a study abroad workshop in  Dharamsala, India, learning from the Tibetan exile community.  She spent the next semester studying abroad at Miami’s Luxembourg campus, during which she traveled to 12 European countries.  The following summer she worked in Chicago as an intern with the Marjorie Kovler Center, devoted to the recovery and healing of individuals, families, and communities affected by torture.

 Sarah QuaintAnthropology and Latin American Studies double major Sarah Quaint (2010) had already been an exchange student in Chile before she came to Miami. While pursuing her interest in linguistic anthropology, she managed to spend a semester in Santiago, Chile, and travel to Bolivia and Argentina. After graduating, she took a Master’s degree in linguistics at the Universidad del Atlántico in Colombia. She taught English for two years in Colombia, then switched to teaching Spanish at the British International School in Knoxville, TN.

Andrew Upton (2010)Andrew Upton (2010) is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Michigan State University. As an archaeologist, he draws from the social and physical sciences to address questions of human migration in the past. For his dissertation, he is applying multilayer network analysis to archaeological data across the Middle to Late Mississippian transition in the Late Prehistoric central Illinois River valley (ca. A.D. 1200-1450). His dissertation research is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner Gren Foundation, and the Ruth Landes Memorial Research Fund.

Charlie Turner (2008) graduated with a double major in Anthropology and Journalism. Traveling to South Africa to work as a blogger for SumRando, an Internet security company, he rose to become vice-president of marketing. Now back in the U.S., he is currently eCommunications Coordinator at the Association of Clinical Research professionals in Washington, DC.

Tim WebsterTim Webster (2008) spent his final undergraduate semester as a Junior Fellow in the Leverhulme Centre, Department of Biological Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. He also spent six months studying chimpanzees in the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve, Uganda. He is currently completing a PhD at Yale University

Jennifer Farrell (2007) had no intention of majoring in anthropology, but after her first day in her first anthropology class, she was hooked. Interested in medical anthropology, she volunteered for a semester at McCullough-Hyde hospital in the obstetrics unit. After graduating from Miami in 2007, she earned a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Dayton.  One of the reasons I was accepted into the program, she says, was because her undergraduate major wasn’t in psychology—anthropology gave her a different perspective to bring to the program. She is currently an Intern at Eastway Behavioral Healthcare in Dayton, OH.

Her interest in primates led Molly Laird (2007) to internships at the Philadelphia Zoo, the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, and the Cincinnati Zoo. Her love of horses led to a career as a trainer, currently with  Moërleg Dressage & Eventing in Cincinnati.

A Phi Beta Kappa and Harrison Scholar, Sam Russak’s (2006) double major in anthropology and zoology, and her research project on "Age Differences in Tail-Use by Mantled Howling Monkeys at Ometepe Island" in Nicaragua, led to a PhD in biological anthropology from Arizona State University. Today Sam is a Zookeeper/Media Specialist at Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium in Phoenix, AZ.

Sabrina BourgeoisSabrina Bourgeois (2003) received the Rebecca Jeanne Andrew Memorial Award to study "The Characterization and Psychological Assessment of Laboratory Chimpanzees Designated for Retirement to a Non-Profit Sanctuary." Another research project was the "Behavior Modification in Singly-Caged Baboons: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Four Enrichment Conditions." Today she is still studying primates as Senior Research Assistant/Animal Trainer at Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio, TX. She also owns her own consulting business, providing expertise on animal behavior Consultation to zoos, aquariums, and research facilities.

Alison Goebel (2003)Alison Goebel (2003) loved the anthropology program at Miami so much that she went on to earn a MA and PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Today, she is the Executive Director of the Greater Ohio Policy Center. This small non-profit uses research to advocate for public policies that will help Ohio’s older industrial communities stabilize and thrive. Alison uses skills she learned as an anthropologist every day, including active listening, critical thinking, and compelling writing. Alison’s first anthropology research project at Miami was part of a group analysis of student house signs in Oxford; her PhD research documented shifting race and class relationships in Mansfield, Ohio. Originally from the Chicagoland area, Alison’s time in Oxford made her fall for Ohio and all its complexities.

Conrad Froehlich (1981, MA 1983)Conrad Froehlich (1981, MA 1983) was an anthropology, classics, and sociology triple-major. His undergraduate work focused on archaeology, with participation in excavations at Old Stone Pier, Shriver Site, and Milford Works I. Museum studies became the emphasis in graduate school. Conrad has many fond memories of his professors, fellow students, courses, excavations, and working with collections and exhibits at the Anthropology Museum. Since 1989 Conrad has served as director of the Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum in Chanute, Kansas. He has a passion for intellectual property issues, is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association, and is a recipient of the Nancy Hanks Memorial Award for Professional Excellence from the American Alliance of Museums (only 25 of these awards have been granted nationally since 1985). Along with fundraising, leading tours, and other duties, Conrad gives presentations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (pictured).