Message from the Department Chair
Welcome to the second edition of the IUP Anthropology Alumni Newsletter! If you'd like to read the first edition, CLICK HERE. If you want to make sure that future editions come straight to your inbox, sign-up here.
This newsletter goes out to hundreds of IUP Anthropology Alumni and is one of the ways that we keep in touch with you. The following pages summarize what the department has been up to this past year and includes some information on alums. We are already collecting items for next edition, so please drop us a line HERE with any news you'd like to share. News can be updates, new jobs, births, marriages, fun facts, whatever you want others to know.
It has been an exciting year at IUP - I mean that both in the sincere sense and in the "may you live in exciting times" curse sense. IUP continues its work to meet the needs of 21st century citizens while also balancing the university budget. There are changes to Liberal Studies and possibly a new medical school on the horizon. We see Anthropology fitting into both of these and will continue to argue that Anthropology is central to the university mission. We also continue to revise our curriculum to help students coming from community colleges complete their BA in 2 years and to adapt to having fewer faculty. We are still committed to applied and field training as well as preparing students who can think critically and write well.
The following pages contain a variety of stories and blurbs about your favorite anthropology department, but this newsletter is still a work in progress. If there are types of information or features you'd like to see more (or less) of, please let us know.
Applied Anthropology, BA: Ella Zhou
Ella Zhou is originally from Indiana, PA, but lived away for a few years before starting at IUP. She chose IUP to be near her family, and because of IUP’s relatively low cost and liberal transfer credit policy. She’s fully investing in her time here – in addition to Anthropology, Ella is majoring in Pre-Med and Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE), all while listening to roughly 1250 hours of music a year. If you are keeping track, that’s three to four hours of music per day.
Ella got interested in Anthropology while in high school. She took a global issues class that, she says, was her “first experience thinking about the contemporary wider world beyond what I saw in the news or heard from friends' travel experiences, and it introduced me to cultural relativism, the power of local knowledge systems, the social determinants of health, and more, which really clicked for me. Later, I came to understand those as anthropological concepts and realized that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to immerse myself in the discipline."
I truly believe that studying anthropology has made me a better person. Not only am I more aware of the social and cultural forces at play around me and open-minded towards others, but I've also grown into a more holistically well-rounded person because we learn and practice so many soft skills like how to successfully collaborate, ask questions well, and be considerate in our conduct.
Paul Farmer, the late founder of international public health NGO, Partners in Health, is Ella’s role model. She’s deeply inspired by how he was able to drive change using medical anthropology. Ella might follow in his footsteps someday. After IUP she plans to go on to grad school, but hasn’t settled on a focus yet. She’s interested in medical anthropology and public health, but also pop culture and media. She’s using her time at IUP to hone her focus.
My favorite anthropology experience has been taking Anthropology Seminar. Learning and discussing theory is really fun, and being allowed to dedicate time to exploring analytical frameworks with others was lovely! A close second would be conducting ethnographies—people are genuinely fascinating, and I'm appreciative of their willingness to share their opinions, experiences, and feelings so we can collectively know more about different ways of life.
Archaeology, BA: Sébastien Philippe
Sébastien Philippe of York, PA is currently studying forensic archaeology through the Archaeology Track at IUP. He’s a sophomore, but his interests in archaeology go much further back. His first archaeology experience was in the 6th grade at a local park, and he’s been digging ever since. He also cites King Nabonidus of Babylon as his archaeology role model. Some look at him as the first archaeologist. Sébastien says, “I look up to him because of the way in which he handled his excavations. He took notes on what he found and where, how old he thought it was, as well as why he thought the site had become abandoned in the first place. Once he had completed the excavation, he restored the site back to its former state and returned or repaired all decorative items he found. I think this ancient model is becoming the “newest” mindset in archaeology, a respectful dig wherein you take detailed notes, then return any finds to the groups who are descendants of the original makers.”
I have an immense passion for history and the outdoors and archaeology was the best way for me to get both in one field.
In describing the IUP program, Sébastien says, “I chose IUP for archaeology because the department and applied archaeology track are clearly designed to help you post-college. The professors are extremely helpful and well-educated in their fields. I really felt like this program was specifically built to help me succeed and now that I am in it, I can see that I was right. In doing research online, the field school requirement was interesting to me because in my search for colleges, I had yet to find one which offered and required a field school. This was another contributing factor too.” Sébastien took field school this summer (see Newport Field School description below) and ranks it among his favorite experiences at IUP. He was able to parlay his field school experience into a cultural resource management job later in the summer. He hopes to continue working in CRM while at IUP and after graduation before eventually finding a job with Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).
Applied Archaeology, MA: Emily Sykora
Emily Sykora, originally from Waukesha, WI did her undergraduate studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison and is now a second-year student in the Applied Archaeology MA program. Emily is all in for Applied Archaeology, Zooarchaeology, and Forensics. She lists Elizabeth Reitz, a North American zooarchaeology god, as her role model and says teeth are her favorite skeletal element (not all archaeologists have a favorite skeletal element). Emily participated in the Forensic Archaeology Field School this summer (see below) and says it was her favorite anthropology experience so far.
Not only was it rewarding work, but we got to travel around Germany and see so many amazing views including the German Alps and the Black Forest. It was also great to work with the locals and students who came from many different areas of expertise, including forensics, WWII history, archaeology, biology, and even engineering, all of which were relevant to the project.
Building on her fieldwork and course experiences, Emily hopes to work in forensic archaeology after graduation. She says, “After having partnered with the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) for IUP's Forensic Archaeological field school, I hope to apply for jobs related to that type of forensic work since I really enjoyed it. Ultimately, I'd like to lead projects that are rewarding and can make a positive difference for affected individuals, families, or communities, whether that be forensic-based, or more archaeological."
It's not every day that someone from Wisconsin finds themselves at IUP, but Emily liked the specialty courses and hands-on aspects of the IUP MA program. She also liked the ability to get supervisory experience before graduating. “From that, it was clear to me that IUP valued the preparation of their students for going straight into the CRM workforce, and I wouldn't have to worry about endlessly searching for jobs after graduation. I like that this program teaches those practical skills, but also teaches the necessary lessons about ethics and the current issues in the industry.”
2023 Ethnographic Field Experience
Environmental Justice in Honduras
From June 1st to June 13th, Dr. Abigail Adams, in collaboration with Dr. Josiah Townsend of the IUP Biology Department, led a study abroad program with 10 students to Honduras. Dr. Adams’ course was offered as a companion course to Dr. Townsends’ course titled “Tropical Biodiversity & Sustainability in Honduras.” Dr. Adams’ course, titled “Environmental Justice in the Americas: Honduras” is designed to engage the rich history and modern cultures of Honduras through the lens of human rights and Indigenous environmental movements. This summer, IUP students learned about the history of resistance in the original “Banana Republic,” the impacts of colonialism, the emergence of the nation of Honduras and its modern movements for environmental justice, food sovereignty, and Indigenous rights.
Students explored environmental justice from the perspective of Indigenous knowledge systems and learned about sustainability efforts in Honduras including climate change resilience and vulnerability.
The program began in Comayagua, where we toured the Comayagua Anthropological Museum to visualize and deepen the student’s context for our exploration over the next two weeks. Then we traveled to the Indigenous Lenca region of Honduras and visited the Lenca weaving cooperative at El Cacao where they were able to learn about Lenca weaving and watch the process of making the iconic Lencan fabrics. We also visited the grave of the slain Lenca activist and Goldman Prize Winner, Berta Cáceres. A major theme of Dr Adams’ Environmental Justice class is to learn about and the struggle of COPINH and the Lenca people for autonomy and authority over their natural resources. Students hiked through the stunning cloud forests of Honduras and visited a sustainable chocolate farm, Yojoa Chocolates, and learned that the earliest archeological evidence of chocolate beverage consumption was found in Puerto Escondido, Honduras.
Photo is of the group in Central Park of Comayagua.
2023 Forensic Archaeology Field School
World War 2 Crash Site in Germany
In Summer 2023, IUP faculty and students returned to Buchen (Odenwald), Germany for six weeks to continue recovery efforts through partnership with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. They were joined in the field by IUP alumnus and 2021 field school participant, Parker Chadwick, who led GPR efforts, and Dr. Allysha Winburn, a board-certified forensic anthropologist from the University of West Florida. The team also included 13 undergraduate students from more than 10 universities across the US, 2 IUP Applied Archaeology graduate students who served as crew chiefs for the project, and a linguist from Chambersburg High School. Together they worked to recover remnants of an American B-17 aircraft crash towards the resolution of missing crew members. For many students, this was their first archaeological experience, and they received training in STPs, GPR surveys, metal detection, excavation, screening, and site documentation. They also had numerous opportunities to interact with the local communities, learn about the history of the site and its impact on the local community, meet local police and archaeologists, and travel in Germany. Overall, it was an excellent field season, and we’re so grateful to contribute to this mission.
2023 Archaeology Field School
Newport Village Historic Period Site
This past summer, we returned to Newport Village outside of Blairsville, PA for the archaeological field school. This was the third season at the site and 13 students from IUP, Penn State, and Florida participated in the excavations.
Newport was founded in the late 18th century where the Frankstown Road reached the Conemaugh River in the hopes of becoming a local transportation hub. The Frankstown Road joined the eastern and western Pennsylvania river systems to allow iron and other goods to be sent west. Residents of Newport envisioned their town as the transshipment location where those goods would be transferred from wagons to boats. Unfortunately, the Conemaugh River was not deep enough for year-round navigation at this location and the Frankstown Road continued on westward. The folks at Newport stayed on until circa 1820 and even had a US post office for a while, but eventually abandoned the town as the canal and rail line were built on the far side of the river and as Blairsville attracted more and more people and industry.
This year’s work focused on finding the southern boundary of the village, investigating geophysical anomalies identified in 2021, and further exploring the likely foundation of a hotel. Excavations in the hotel reached nearly five feet below the surface but did not reach the base of the foundation. Like other foundations at the site, this one is filled with large stones and a mix of artifacts suggesting that the building was intentionally demolished. The size of the stones also suggest that the residents thought the village would last longer than it did. We also identified a likely trash midden and an historic road along the river bluff as part of the summer’s work.
Students gained experience with shovel test pit and ground penetrating radar surveys, as well as excavating units and features. They were also exposed to GPS, transit, and photogrammetry recording, and the basics of historic artifact cataloging. Students in the advanced field school gained supervisory experience developing their own research questions and managing small crews.
The Anthropology Department will host a family-friendly Archaeology Day open house on Saturday October 28, 2023 from 1-3 pm. If you are in the area, come see us!
The Applied Archaeology MA Program was the first program in the nation to be recognized by the American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA) as preparing students for cultural resource management careers.
The department partnered with Friends of Midland Cemetery and the Pennsylvania Archaeology Council to lead a volunteer GPS recording day at Midland Cemetery.
Anthropology continues to work towards an Interdisciplinary Forensic Sciences major in partnership with Criminology, Biology, Computer Science, Chemistry, Geology, and Geography. We are also developing a decomposition studies facility. This facility will allow forensic and zooarchaeology research. Both of these will build on the recent courses and field schools, and are exciting new directions for students.
Department faculty and students will begin monitoring local archaeological sites through an agreement with The Archaeological Conservancy. This will be embedded as a service-learning project in two Anthropology courses.
Olivia Dove ('23) won the department's Olin-Fahle Award for Excellence in Anthropology. The Olin-Fahle Award goes to the graduating student who has best represented Anthropology through volunteerism, interest in and concern for ethnic minorities or world affairs, dedication to anthropology through a field experience, and inspiring fellow students respect for and enjoyment of scholarship. Check out Olivia's bio in the previous newsletter.
Luke Linder won the Geletka Study Abroad Scholarship for travel during summer 2023.
Luke Nicosia, Amanda Telep, Sonja Rossi-Williams, and Jacob Ulmer won awards at the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology conference. Amanda won both the James W. Hatch and W. Fred Kinsey Scholarships. Luke won the James W. Hatch Scholarship. Sonja and Jacob placed first and second in the poster competition.
Student also did very well at the IUP Scholars Forum. Pictured in the background from left to right, Sonja Rossi-Williams won the Women in STEM Award for Outstanding Graduate Oral Presentation, Mikala Hardie was awarded the graduate Excellence in Data Analysis Award, Bridget Roddy won third place in the Sigma Xi Society competition, and Amanda Telep won first place from Sigma Xi.
Students attended a wide variety of conferences, including the Society for Applied Anthropology, Society for American Archaeology, American Cultural Resources Association, and Appalachian Teaching Project.
Eleven undergraduates and fifteen graduate students graduated during the 2021-22 academic year.
Laura Moretti (BA '19) starts at University College London this fall studying forensics.
Hannah Barch (BA '21) recently started in the Museum Studies program at Johns Hopkins University.
Harley Burgis (BA '18) earned her MS in Archaeology from Floriday State University and is now a Historic Preservation Grants Specialist with the Florida Department of State.
Amanda Filmyer (MA '22) started as a Project Archaeologist with EDR.
Sabrina Sepulveda (BA '21) is a field technician for Rue Environmental LLC.
Kris Montgomery (MA '23) and Amanda Telep (MA' 23) were both awarded research grants from the South Mountain Partnership. Kris to analyze lithics from and date the Green Cabin metarhyolite quarry in south-central Pennsylvania and Amanda to investigate an historic farmstead and mill within Kings Gap Environmental Education Center.
We'd really like this section to be longer and we want alumni to know what each other are up to. Please submit any updates HERE.
Andrea Palmiotto was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor.
Abbie Adams and Amanda Poole were awarded sabbatical leave for Fall 2023 and Spring 2024, respectively.
Ben Ford was selected as the 2023 Distinguished University Professor. You can read more about this award on the IUP Website, but the award is for a faculty member who exemplifies excellence in all areas of teaching, research and scholarly activities, and service.
Amanda Poole was selected for the Fulbright Specialist Program and will spend a month in Madagascar during Fall 2023. She also published an article in Journal of Refugee Studies titled "What Kind of Weapon is Education? Teleological Violence, Local Integration, and Refugee Education in Northern Ethiopia."
Victor Garcia was awarded Emeritus Professor status. He continues to research health disparities, splitting his time between California, Mexico, and Kennett Square. He still pops over to Indiana too, though not as often as we'd like.
Francis Allard was named Visiting Scholar of the Year, Division of Archaeology, Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. He continues as the Editor-in-Chief of Asian Perspectives.
Abbie Adams presented on Fear and Empathy to the IUP Leadership in a Multicultural Society Series. She also led a walk through White's Woods to honor and educate about Indigenous American heritage in the Indiana area.
Bill Chadwick received a Certificate of Appreciation: Achievements in Scholarship from the Trustees and President of IUP.
Lara Homsey-Messer earned Professional Member certification from American Institute of Professional Geologists. She also wrapped up her stint on the Archaeology Magazine editorial board.
Andrea Palmiotto was named an Affordable Learning Champion by Affordable Learning PA and won the IUP Center for Teaching Excellence, Open Educational Resource Award for her work to develop and Anthropology Open Educational Resource (OER). You can download the OER Introduction to Anthropology: Holistic and Applied Research on Being Human from the department website.
Ben Ford was elected second vice president of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology and takes over as the chair of the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Baord this year. He continues to serve as the Society for Historical Archaeology Co-Publications Editor overseeing SHA book publications with five academic presses.
Yeah, and we threw some axes too!
Hunt, Gather, Parent by Michaeleen Doucleff
We’ve noticed on Facebook that many of you are reproducing. Aside from making us feel old, we thought this would be good time to review Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans by Michaeleen Doucleff. If the author’s name sounds familiar, you are probably an NPR listener, where she is a science correspondent. She has a PhD in Chemistry, but does a fine job of impersonating an anthropologist.
Hunt, Gather, Parent applies an anthropological approach to parenting, stepping outside of the standard parenting books to look at proven behaviors from across the globe. Drawing on first-hand experience with Maya, Inuit, and Hadzabe families, Doucleff assembles advice on how to raise cooperative, emotionally intelligent, and self-confident children. Through lovingly written narratives, Doucleff introduces each culture and how they approach parenting. She also provides action items keyed to different ages, and takes US readers through the process of applying lessons learned from Mexico, the Arctic, and Tanzania. This is one of several new books that looks at WEIRD (western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic) societies as the outliers that they are and argues that there is a lot to be learned from traditional societies (and all the Anthropolgists say, “duh!”).
We are always glad to see Anthropology in mainstream literature (Hunt, Gather, Parent is a New York Times bestseller), but more importantly this is actually a useful parenting book.