Commencement 2022, Live and In Person!

For the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the School of Anthropology will hold an in-person celebration tomorrow morning, May 14, 2022, to honor our students who completed their studies during the 2021–2022 academic year. We salute all 2022 graduates for navigating myriad pandemic difficulties on their path to graduation! The graduates are listed below, with biographies when available. Because some pandemic era graduates wanted to participate in the real, live ceremonies of commencement, you’ll recognize a some names from the past couple of years.

Three new bachelor’s degree graduates will be presented with SoA awards during the celebration:
Sarah Yockey, Ganesha Award
Isabelle Aguirre, Leadership Award
Adri Boudrieau, Scholars’ Award

Congratulations to our 2022 graduates!

DOCTORAL DEGREE RECIPIENTS

Austin Duncan
Ph.D. 2020
Dissertation Title: The Social Life of TBI
Austin is both a disability anthropologist and a neurodiverse scholar, having suffered a “very severe” Traumatic Brain Injury when he was hit by a bus (yes, it really happens) in Egypt in April 2003. So it makes sense that he would focus on his own highly complex and poorly understood (when it is understood at all) disability to start his career. His earlier experience was in the anthropology of Islam and the Arab Middle East, NGO Development in Sub-Saharan Africa, and Public Disability Policy, graduating magna cum laude from Williams College, receiving a Fulbright Grant to Kuwait, then receiving a Master of Public Administration degree in from the University of Washington, for which he completed an extended tour with the U.S. Peace Corps in Maroua and Kila-Walaka, Cameroon. He currently works as a Postdoc focusing on intellectual and cognitive disabilities, split between the Department of Family & Community Medicine and the Department of Pediatrics here at the University of Arizon

Elizabeth Eklund
Ph.D. 2020
Dissertation Title: Where the Water Turns: Water and Cultural Memory in the Sierra Madre Foothills
Advisor: Maribel Alvarez
Elizabeth Eklund is an environmental anthropologist focused on the intersection of nature and culture. She completed her Ph.D., on water and cultural memory in Banámichi, along the Rio Sonora, Mexico, in 2020. Her work includes preservation of natural and cultural resources at the landscape level and the experience of global changes, including climate change, at the local level. She has been a part of New Start (an Incoming Freshman Summer Bridge Program) since 2016 and continues to serve as the Anthropology New Start Coordinator. Elizabeth is currently contracting with the Southwest Folklife Alliance.

Victoria Moses
Ph.D. 2020
Dissertation Title: The Zooarchaeology of Early Rome: Meat Production, Distribution, and Consumption in Public and Private Spaces (9th-5th cent. BCE)
Advisors: Emma Blake, Mary Stiner
Vicki is a zooarchaeologist with a focus on early Rome. For her dissertation, she analyzed the faunal remains from five major sites in Rome and two nearby urban centers, including the Area Sacra di Sant’Omobono, the Regia, the Curiae Veteres, Gabii, and Veii. Her work was supported by several competitive grants, such as a Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant in 2017 and a two-year Rome Prize Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome in 2018–2020. She received Honorable Mention for the Graduate Student Paper Award at the Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting in 2019. She has published her findings in several book chapters and journal articles, including in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports and the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. Vicki is beyond grateful to her advisors, committee members, mentors, and friends who have supported her and shared this experience. She will continue her fieldwork in Rome, southern Italy, and Sicily in the years to come. Outside of archaeology, Vicki loves (in no particular order) dogs, yoga, hiking, traveling, speaking Italian, drinking on terraces, Tucson, burgers, and pasta.

Dani Phelps
Ph.D. 2020
Dissertation Title: Intentionally Forgetting: An Anthropological Examination of the Burial of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt
Advisor: Jim Watson
Dani Phelps is from Tucson, Arizona and went to UA for undergrad. After getting sage advice from John Olsen, she went to the University of Memphis for her M.A. in Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology. She was then accepted as one of the first Ph.D. students for the School of Anthropology’s newly formed concentration of Mediterranean Archaeology in 2011. Dani graduated with a Ph.D. in Anthropology in May 2020. Her experience at the university was one for the history books. She faced many challenges and difficulties during her tenure but she managed to survive and graduate. Dani participated in several amazing archaeological experiences. She was an integral member of the University of Arizona Egyptian Expedition’s dig at the temple of Tausret for a number of years. She studied bioarchaeology with Jim Watson and participated in a number of archaeological digs in Mexico, Rome, and even around Tucson. She also was a co-director of a field school in the western Caribbean. She has basically dug up mummies, pirates, and is only missing the final clues to Atlantis! Dani also received a certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which will undoubtedly help her in her career. Her dissertation was about the burial of King Tutankhamun (not born in Arizona, surprisingly,) and provided new insight to one of the world’s most famous archaeological discoveries. She has published in Current Anthropology amongst other journals and is currently working on publishing her dissertation. 

Sarah Renkert
Ph.D. 2022
Dissertation Title: Food Aid and Kitchen Controversies: Cooking Together in the City of Hope
Committee: Maribel Alvarez (Chair), Diane Austin, Megan Carney, Linda Green, Marcela Vásquez-León
Sarah Renkert is originally from Indianapolis, Indiana. After graduating from Indiana University, she worked on education and food systems projects in Perú, Ecuador, Arizona, China, and Thailand. At the University of Arizona, Sarah’s dissertation research focused on food aid and communal kitchens in Huaycán, Lima, Perú. She also studied community-owned tourism in the Ecuadorian Amazon and completed several applied research projects in the U.S. Southwest. Sarah is excited to head back to the Hoosier state to begin a position as an Assistant Professor of Practice in Applied Anthropology at Purdue University.

MASTER'S DEGREE RECIPIENTS

Kirk Astroth
M.A. 2020
Thesis Title: Measuring the Properties of Rock Varnish on Petroglyphs: A Comparison of Three Methods of Analysis Used on Dated Graffiti and Ancient Petroglyphs at Three Sites in Arizona
After a long career with the Extension Service as Assistant Dean in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Kirk returned to pursue a passion for rock art in archaeology. Kirk currently volunteers with various rock art recording projects, leads field trips for other organizations and enjoys exploring the Southwest’s abundant petroglyphs, pictographs and geoglyphs. He most recently returned from a two-week mule excursion to photograph the great painted murals in Baja at the UNESCO World Heritage Preserve in the Sierras de San Francisco.

Jared Renaud
M.A. 2021
Thesis title: Persistent Place Modeling within the Altar Valley Cultural Landscape, Pima County, AZ
Jared is a winter 2021 M.A. graduate in Applied Archaeology and the Heritage Conservation Graduate program. Before starting his M.A., Jared worked in various National Parks and Forests in Southern Arizona, Southwest New Mexico, the Sierra Nevada, and Northern California to preserve and protect cultural resources on public lands. Jared is most interested in cultural landscapes and community-focused approaches in archaeology. His master’s research explored a landscape level approach to preservation planning by modeling persistent places in the Altar Valley landscape within eastern Pima County. Since completing the M.A. program, Jared has returned to archaeology and cultural heritage management in the public sector through work at Coronado National Forest, where he currently acts as an archaeology field crew lead. He greatly thanks his advisor, Dr. Lindsay Montgomery and committee members, Dr. Barbara Mills, Dr. Thomas Sheridan, and Cannon Daughtrey from the Heritage Conservation Program for all their guidance through his M.A. research journey. Jared will greatly miss the virtual and in-person camaraderie of the Southwest lab and AGUA board, and wishes the best for those continuing there and for the School of Anthropology as a whole.

B.A. and B.S. RECIPIENTS

Kayla Adamiec
B.S.
Kayla Adamiec graduated Cum Laude in May 2020 with degrees in Anthropology (B.S.) and Ecological & Evolutionary Biology (B.A.). She likes stingrays and rocks.

Mary Banks
B.A.
Mary Banks graduated with honors in May 2020, with a BA in Anthropology and a BA in Geography, with hopes of becoming a social anthropologist, specializing in GIS. Since graduating she has been working with the Tohono O’odham Community College to teach GIS and its usefulness to members of the tribe. Lastly, Ms. Banks will be graduating this winter with her MS in GIST and hopes to use this knowledge along with her Anthropology degree to help indigenous communities evolve while keeping their culture around the Americas.

Johnna Oliver
B.S.
Johnna is receiving her degree in Anthropology with an Emphasis in Archaeological Sciences and a double minor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies. In addition, Johnna has completed internships at the University. One was in the Bioarchaeology lab at the Arizona State Museum, and the other was with the UA Sky school. After graduation, Johnna will be completing a laboratory internship at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. She is excited about what the future holds.

Kelly Smith
B.A.
Kelly Smith will be graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies. She thanks her friends and family for their constant support during her three years of undergrad, and she is grateful for all the lessons and memories that the University of Arizona brought her.

Katherine Tu
B.A.
Katherine Tu, a cultural anthropology student double majoring in East Asian Studies and minoring in Gender Women Studies, focuses on the gender and sexuality issues in mainland China. A writer, translator, and traveler, she is also a devotee of literature and music.

Yunbei Xu
B.S.
Yunbei is graduating with a B.S. in Anthropology and B.A. in Classics, with triple minors in Geosciences, Middle Eastern & North African Studies, and Ancient Greek. She is also a proud member of Alpha Phi Gamma, Eta Sigma Phi, and Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation, she plans to study Environmental Archaeology at Oxford and further her skills as a dendroarchaeologist. Lastly, Yunbei wishes to express her thanks to Drs. Vance Holliday, Leila Hudson, Charlotte Pearson, and Robert Schon for their support and guidance along her academic path.

Sarah Yockey
B.A., SoA Ganesha Award
Sarah Yockey is a senior at the University of Arizona, where she is double majoring in Anthropology and German Studies. She was born in Nuremburg Germany to a German mother and an American father and spent most of her life living in the United States. Her interest in culture and language stems from her bilingual background, and her love for anthropology is reflected in her fascination with the different ways in which people live. For the past year Sarah has been studying the mortuary practices of Vikings and the significances of weaponry in female graves for her senior thesis. After graduation she will be attending the UA’s graduate program in German Studies with the intention of earning a master’s degree in translation. Following this, she hopes to continue pursuing a career in archeology with a focus in mortuary practices and aspires to further her studies in Viking burials. When she is not busy working toward her academic goals, she enjoys drawing and practicing self-defense.

Anthro News Digest date: 05/13/2022