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Introducing the 2019 Cohort of SoA Graduate Students

Today we welcome the School of Anthropology’s 2019 incoming graduate students!

Rinku Ashok Kumar (left) is a doctoral student in sociocultural anthropology. She has an interest in science and technology studies with a focus on south Asia. Prior to entering the program, Rinku worked for more than a decade and a half with international for-profit and non-profit organizations, collaborating across disciplines. She has conducted ethnographic research across the United States, Africa, and India among diverse participants to inform the design of human-centered technologies. Rinku has a master’s degree in human-centered design planning from the Institute of Design, Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Design, Center for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT University), Ahmedabad, India. She enjoys exploring environmentally friendly living methods and techniques and natural materials in her daily life.

Kate Barvick (right) is a Ph.D. student in archaeology from Massachusetts. She grew up surrounded by the preserved artifacts and places of Revolutionary War history, and developed an interest in history, cultural preservation, public archaeology, and the stories we tell about it. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a B.A. in Anthropology and Linguistics. During her undergrad, her experience was primarily in historic archaeology, including attending a field school with Professor Eric Johnson excavating at the Emily Dickinson House in Amherst. In her senior year she was the site manager on an archaeological excavation coordinated with the Wayland Historical Commission of an 18th- and 19th-century property. Now that she is at the UA, she hopes to transition to studying Southwest Archaeology, with a focus in ceramic analysis. She is a recipient of the UA’s University Fellows Award, with research interests that include pre-Columbian technology development, cultural contact, movement, and trade. She loves hiking, camping, and the amazing variety of cacti in Tucson.

Robert Acio Benitez (left) is a Ph.D. student in Archaeology and recipient of the Lewis and Clark Fellowship. Robert was raised in North Carolina and earned his B.A. in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He then moved to Honolulu to obtain his MA in Anthropology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He has participated in paleoanthropological fieldwork in South Africa, Kenya, Serbia, China, and Korea. His broad research interests include lithic technology, multispecies archaeology, organism-environment interactions, critical studies of human evolution, and biosemiotics. Robert enjoys stand-up comedy, Marvel comics, and Cheez-It Baked Original Cheese Crackers.

Ran Chen (right) is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Archaeology program. Ran was born and raised in Zhejiang Province, China, and got her B.A. in Cultural Heritage and Museology at Zhejiang University with a minor in Japanese in 2017. Ran received her M.A. from Stanford University with a subplan on Chinese Archaeology in 2019. Her M.A. thesis is about microblade functions in two early Neolithic sites in Inner Mongolia through experimental study, use-wear analysis (low- and high-power), and residue analysis (starch, phytolith, and fiber). Currently, Ran’s study is mainly focused on the subsistence strategies and foodways in Prehistoric China. She is also interested in lithic analysis and studies of human-environment interactions. Besides her major interest of China, luckily, Ran also had chances to involve in the CVAP and ACLQ Chinese Railroad worker programs and the residue analysis of samples from Copan, Honduras when she was at Stanford. In addition to archaeology, Ran is a big fan of anime and movies.

Charlotte Dawson (left) is a Ph.D. student in Sociocultural Anthropology with interests in multispecies ethnography, environmental anthropology, and American Indian studies. She was raised on family farms in the Appalachian foothills of northern Virginia and spent most of her time outdoors riding horses. During her undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia, Charlotte researched the production and trade of horseback riding equipment throughout Native North America from the 1500’s onward. From 2014-2017 she worked at the Arctic Inuit Art Gallery in Charlottesville and received her BA in Anthropology and Art History from UVA in 2016. She has held various research assistantships and was lucky enough to work with Edith Turner before her passing in 2016. Between assistantships, Charlotte has worked at horse farms, sheep farms, plant nurseries, vineyards, and orchards. During the past three years she has also spent time in pastoralist Tibetan areas in China with her partner, Andrew. As a result of these experiences, Charlotte is interested in human-nonhuman animal interactions in politically active situations. She hopes to work with American Indian communities who are currently partnering with horses to heal intergenerational trauma, fight structural and ecological violence, and rekindle indigenous riding practices. When she isn’t working an odd job, Charlotte enjoys hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, foraging for edible plants, and attending local concerts.

Kianna Dieudonné (right) is a student of applied sociocultural anthropology at the UA. A first generation Haitian-American, she grew up in Crestwood, Kentucky, but it was the time she spent as a child on her maternal grandfather’s hay farm that inspired her interests in the reciprocity of human-environment interaction.

Kianna attended Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida on athletic scholarship for volleyball, graduating in 2018 with a B.A. in Anthropology and Environmental Studies. As a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar at the University of Washington from 2016-2017, she and her peers traveled and worked across the Pacific Northwest with a focus on the “connections between conservation, individual and community identities, biodiversity, and environmental justice.” Kianna interned with the Quinault Indian Nation Division of Natural Resources on the Olympic Peninsula where the role of changing climate in resource management was central to her work in vegetation monitoring. In the Hille Ris Lambers Biology lab at UW, her field work as a research assistant involved similar themes of a changing climate and its impressions on subalpine meadow plant communities and insect herbivory on Tacoma (Mt. Rainier).

Her academic interests include perceptions of “nature” and its role in decision-making; the position of body and environment in cognition; horticultural and ecological resilience in shifting climates, as well as traditional ecological knowledge and ethnobotany. Kianna’s hobbies include creative writing, reading, amateur botanizing, and exploring place.

Mine Egbatan (left) is a first year PhD student in Sociocultural Anthropology. She was previously a PhD student in Sociology at Koç University, İstanbul/Turkey. She is an activist feminist working with gender-based civil society groups. Her research interests are disability studies and gender with a focus of resistance theories and urban anthropology. She is the recipient of Dicle Koğacıoğlu Article Award 2018 (3rd place) granted by Sabancı University Gender and Women's Studies Excellence Center.

Rebecca Harkness (right) was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and transplanted to Flagstaff, Arizona. She graduated from Arizona State University Barrett, the Honors College with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in History. After Undergrad, she galivanted off to Tokyo where she taught English for two years before returning to complete her MA in Anthropology with an archaeological focus at Northern Arizona University. She squeals with joy when she sees sherds or pots and giggles with glee when given site maps to analyze architecture for public space. She also enjoys looking at trade and how connections influence the areas that participate in it. Rebecca’s main research focus is the Mimbres region of the American Southwest. Additionally, she received an NSF-REU to attend a field school in Cyprus and continues to study trade more broadly at the port site of Al Baleed in Oman. Rebecca received an honorable mention in the American Association for the Advancement of Science student poster competition in 2014. During her time at NAU, she worked at the Museum of Northern Arizona in collections, which has fostered her interest in museums. When not being a sherd nerd, Rebecca enjoys reading fantasy, watching movies, and swimming.

Katelynne Johnson (left) is a first year M.A. student in the Applied Archaeology program. Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, she moved north to attend Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO, where she obtained a B.A. in Anthropology in 2018. As an undergrad, she dedicated her time to Chaco Culture National Historic Park, working with the cultural resource management staff in historic preservation. In addition, she completed an internship with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) in archival work, in collaboration with the University of New Mexico. At the UA, her research will focus on aiding in the incorporation of Native American voices within the historic and present National Park Service narrative.

Andrew Larsen (right) is a first-year student in the Masters in Applied Archeology program. Andrew grew up in Denver and enjoyed a variety of outdoor mountain sports such as skiing, backpacking, mountain biking and rock climbing. Andrew’s passion for the Colorado Mountains brought him to Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado where he graduated in 2009 with a BA degree in Anthropology focusing on archaeology. Since his undergraduate studies, Andrew has been continuously employed as a Contract Archaeologist for a variety of Cultural Resource Management (CRM) firms and has worked in nine western states but primarily in northern New Mexico and Arizona, as well as southwest Colorado. Andrew’s CRM experience has allowed him to progress to a field director role overseeing projects ranging from small surveys to large scale excavations, as well as technical report writing and project management duties including permitting, proposal writing and budgeting. Andrew hopes to further his career in archeology by incorporating his CRM experience into his graduate studies in order to foster his interests in ancestral and modern Pueblo cultures.

Miranda LaZar (left) is a first year Ph.D. student in the archaeology program with a focus in zooarchaeology. She was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico and received her B.A. in 2019 from the University of New Mexico in Anthropology/Archaeology with a minor in Museum Studies. During her time as an undergraduate, she worked on field and research projects located in the American Southwest and California. Her thesis explored a method to track trade of artifacts made from raptor bones using stable isotope analysis. Miranda was awarded the SAA Cheryl Wase Memorial Scholarship to help support her undergraduate career. She also worked as the book review coordinator for the Journal of Anthropological Research. Miranda is currently interested in researching avifauna, hunter-gatherer ecology, and paleoenvironmental reconstruction.

Caitria O’Shaughnessy (right) is a first year student in the Applied Archaeology M.A. She was born and raised in Northern New Jersey. In 2018, she received her B.A. in Anthropology from Skidmore College. During her undergraduate career she attended field schools in both Ireland and Senegal that shaped her interest in connection to local heritage through cultural landscapes. In her senior year Caitria mapped and compiled historic sources on a late 19th century estate in Upstate New York for future use by the college for teaching excavation methods. She spent the last year working at the American Museum of Natural History in the North American Archaeology Lab and doing field work in Georgia. Her research interests include landscape archaeology and heritage preservation.

A first year Ph.D. student in Sociocultural Anthropology, Clara Randimbiarimanana (left) was born and raised in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Before joining the School of Anthropology at the UA, she pursued her undergraduate studies at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, where she received a double B.A. in International Affairs and Anthropology-Sociology. Her undergraduate thesis focused on language practices and ideologies among youths from four different regions in Madagascar. After graduating from Lafayette College, Clara worked as a Project Associate on USAID’s largest monitoring, evaluation, and learning project in Pakistan with Management Systems International in Washington D.C. Prior to that, she supported USAID’s Solutions for Peace and Recovery project, which aims to enhance social cohesion through participation of women and other marginalized groups in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Clara’s research interests include participatory methods in international development projects, gender, and linguistics.

Michelle Rascon-Canales (right; she/her pronouns) is an incoming Ph.D. student under the tutelage of Dr. Linda Green. She is a graduate of the SoA with a dual major in Mexican American Studies. Michelle was born and raised on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border in Tucson, Arizona, and Caborca, Sonora, respectively. Her current research interests focus on the U.S.-Mexico border, the politics of immigration and child welfare, the carceral system, and abolition studies.

Michelle received a Master of Social Work Degree from Arizona State University in 2014 and practiced social work for seven years with undocumented children as a licensed social worker. She also received a Master of Science Degree in Family Studies and Human Development in 2019 with research focused on the ecological contexts of immigration policy on the trajectories of young people. Her qualitative study examined the lives of young people who are recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, following the Trump administration’s efforts to rescind DACA.

Michelle was raised in a multi-status family along the borderlands which largely informs her experiential knowledge and scholarship. She was also part of the nationally recognized TUSD Mexican American Studies Program, prior to the banning of the program following Arizona HB2281. Michelle was heavily involved in local and national protests and local initiatives to service students impacted by the banning of the program. Her professional experiences as both child and student advocate but also researcher, inform her interests in an anthropology of migration and social justice into practice.

A New Jersey native, Jared Renaud (left) is a first-year M.A. student in the Applied Archaeology program. After graduating with a B.A. in History and an Archaeology minor at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Jared participated in both private and public-sector archaeology work throughout the country. Jared began his archaeological career working on the Mississippi River Bridge project in East Saint Louis, then took a five-month break from archaeology to learn trail maintenance, wilderness medicine, and outdoor leadership skills. Since then, Jared has worked in various National Parks and Forests throughout the Western U.S. preserving and protecting cultural resources. Jared recently completed a term position as the archaeology technician at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (ORPI); during his term there he presented a paper on work he conducted at ORPI during the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. Jared is most interested in cultural landscapes, community-focused approaches in archaeology, and proto- and historic agriculture within the southern Arizona borderlands. Outside of archaeology, Jared’s interests include map-collecting, photography, hiking, bike transportation, and sustainable farming.

Laryssa Shipley (right) is a Ph.D. student in the Archaeology of the Mediterranean World concentration. She researches cultural mixing in the Mediterranean, particularly during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, by looking at art, architecture, and materiality in the multicultural Eastern Mediterranean and Roman Near East. Additionally, she researches sensorial approaches in archaeology, specifically those consistent with phenomenological and landscape archaeology, with a special consideration for physical constructions of memory.

Laryssa is originally from Texas, but she has also had the wonderful opportunity to live in New Hampshire, Virginia, Washington, Massachusetts, and New York. She received her M.A. in Archaeology from Cornell University with concentrations in Mediterranean and Near Eastern Archaeology, and Ancient Art and Archaeology. Her master’s thesis, “A Phenomenological Approach to the Kom el-Shuqafa Catacombs,” utilizes phenomenological and multisensorial methods to investigate the Roman-period Kom el-Shuqafa catacombs in Alexandria, Egypt. She attended Baylor University as an undergraduate, where she received a B.A. in Anthropology with a minor in Classics. She has performed fieldwork in Israel, Egypt, and Greece, having been funded by ASOR, the Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies (CIAMS), and most recently by an Arcadian Fellowship for the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project.

Lauren Sides (left) is a first year Mediterranean Archaeology Ph.D. student from Dallas, Texas. In 2019, Lauren graduated from Baylor University with a B.A. as a University Scholar with primary concentrations in Anthropology and Religion. As an undergraduate, Lauren took part in lab research with the Belize Valley Human Reconnaissance Project, and spent four field seasons in Italy working for the San Giuliano Archaeological Research Project (SGARP), as well. With SGARP, Lauren used drone photogrammetry to generate orthomosaic imagery and digital elevation models, which she has subsequently used in her research on the intervisibility between the San Giuliano necropolis and habitation zone. In 2018, Lauren received an Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement Grant from Baylor to fund this work at San Giuliano. At the University of Arizona, Lauren hopes to continue researching GIS experiential modeling and spatial cognition to further explore the archaeological landscapes of Southern Etruria.

Aaron Young (right) is a Ph.D. student in the archaeology program working with Associate Professor James Watson. He grew up in Northern California and first attended CSU Chico, where he majored in Anthropology and earned his B.A. in 2013. During his undergrad, Aaron received a Certificate in Forensic Identification while working as an intern at the Human Identification Lab. His graduate career began in 2014 at San Diego State University, where he also majored in Anthropology with a concentration in bioarchaeology. His M.A. research examined how dental histology can be used to estimate age and the season of death in archaeological populations. During his tenure at San Diego State, Aaron was able to be a research and teaching assistant as well as conduct fieldwork in Oaxaca, Mexico. Aaron’s main area of focus is in bioarchaeology, with a specific interest in how human osteological remains and their dentition can aid in understanding how diet and health change through time. In his spare time, he enjoys being outdoors, spending time with his wife, traveling, and trying local breweries.

(Anthro News digest date: 9/6/2019)