Your contributions at work

Your contributions to the department are used to support activities that facilitate training, research, and teaching in anthropology. The most important of these are the awards that the department gives to undergraduate and graduate students.

Undergraduate Students

Each year we recognize the Best Undergraduate Honor's Thesis and Best Anthropology Essay with financial awards. A faculty committee selects the papers for each award. We give out three awards for Best Anthropology Essay - one each for archaeology, biocultural anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology.

Best Honors Theses in Anthropology 2014-2015


Fiona Stefanik

Thesis Title: 
"Eating for Who? Disordered Eating, Distress, and Resilience In Narratives of Pregnancy and Birth"

Advisor: Dr. Rachel Chapman


Best Anthropology Essay Awards 2014-2015

Sociocultural Winner

“Health Care For the Elderly”
Tracy Yeung
Professor: Dr. Janelle Taylor

Biocultural Anthropology Winner

Risky Buisiness: "The Effects of Reason For, and Tisk of Hunting Nonhuman Primates and Other Bushmeat in Central and Western Africa"
Teague Thomas
Professor: Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel

Archaeology Winner

"Stone Artifacts and Mobility in Pulau-Pualu Bomba"
Megan McCrea
Professor: Dr. Benjamin Marwick

Graduate Students

The department helps to support pre-dissertation pilot research projects and travel to national academic conferences for graduate students. The awards provide graduate students with critical support that is not typically available from any other source of funding.

Each year we fund as many graduate students as possible to conduct pre-dissertation pilot research. This research is used to identify a field site, make important connections at the location, and undertake preliminary data collection. These awards are made in amounts ranging from $168 to $1,400 each. This research is funded directly by donations to several department gift accounts.

One significant source of support comes from the Student Training in Anthropological Research Tools and Skills (STARTS) endowment fund. In January 2014, the department hosted an event to honor its founders, David Notkin and Cathy Tuttle. (You can read Cathy’s comments here.) To see the many ways in which STARTS has supported graduate student research, the department created a 45-page booklet that highlights 21 of the STARTS recipients with descriptions and photos of their research.

The students and projects funded for the 2013-2014 academic year were:


Ian Kretzler

In 1856, over 27 bands and tribes from across western Oregon were forcibly relocated from their homelands to the Grand Ronde Reservation in northwestern Oregon. This event, Oregon’s Trail of Tears, was the culmination of a decades-long effort by settlers and politicians to relocate Native communities far from Euro-American settlements and transfer western Oregon’s productive agricultural lands to non-Native parties. It was also among the first examples of then-new federal Indian policy that stipulated confining Native communities to small federally-administered reservations. Isolating Native communities on reservations not only extended the government’s control over what it viewed as a potentially dangerous population, it furthered the implementation of assimilationist policies aimed at replacing Native lifeways and beliefs with Christianity, agricultural economies, and Euro-American gendered divisions of labor. By all accounts, the government’s assimilationist goals went unrealized at Grand Ronde. Throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century and into the early twentieth century, the diverse peoples of the Grand Ronde Reservation not only maintained many pre-reservation practices, they also formed a new community identity.

My dissertation research focuses on the relationship between imposed reservation policies and Native settlement patterns and food practices. The goal of this pre-dissertation project is to obtain baseline data about the nature of Grand Ronde archaeological deposits, specifically as they relate to reservation food practices. Though existing documentary and ethnographic sources note the presence of traditional foods in Grand Ronde diets, key details—such as the ratio of traditional to introduced foods, whether and how diet composition changed through time, and the link between food practices and emergent Grand Ronde identity—have not been seriously explored.

This summer, I will travel to Grand Ronde and, in collaboration with tribal archaeologists and students, conduct archaeological survey and excavation of reservation households occupied during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These efforts will focus on recovering material culture related to food acquisition, preparation, and consumption as well as faunal and floral remains. Post-field work analysis of these data will yield important insights about Grand Ronde food practices through time, which in turn will facilitate further refinement of dissertation research questions and analytical strategies.


Acquanda Stanford


Christopher Chan


Eileen Sleesman


Rodrigo Solinis Casparius


Lauryl Zenobi


Jiun-Yu Liu


Jacob Deppen