Current Graduate Students

Grad Research Map Location Page 1

Nicholas Amesrev

Nicholas Ames

Nicholas holds a B.A. in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley (2013). His undergraduate research focused on the use of microartifactual data in interpreting archaeological households structures through use of space, social access, and trade networks between communities in Jordan.

At Notre Dame, Nicholas’ research focuses on the social and geographical development of historically marginalized communities during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Working primarily in Ireland and the USA, Nicholas is researching how Irish immigrants remanifested local communities within the context of industrial America. Further, he traces how immigrant social engagement transformed into the distinct Irish-American identities seen throughout the U.S. today. Nicholas aims to use the conflation of social, political, and economic events experienced by the Irish to further develop our understanding of contemporary social and political engagement of immigrant communities. Nicholas was awarded the Richard and Peggy Notebaert Premier Fellowship.

Contact: 638 Flanner Hall,

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Sevda Arslan

Sevda holds an M.A. degree in political science from Western Michigan University where she also completed a year of graduate course work in the Anthropology Department. In 2013, Sevda received her B.A. degree in European Studies from Maastricht University, in the Netherlands.

At Notre Dame, Sevda focuses her research on language maintenance of minority languages, primarily focusing on Zazaki, a Kurdish language. Her research assesses how languages are impacted with the migration of Kurdish speaking communities between Turkey and Germany. This project expands upon work begun during her master’s degree studies and explores the ways in which language ideologies reproduce and reshape cultural identities, as well as reinforce economic and political power.

Contact: 648 Flanner Hall,

Amanda Cortez

Amanda Cortez

Amanda earned a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Washington, where she wrote her honors thesis on human—other primate relationships in the contexts of a biomedical research facility, a zoo, and an animal sanctuary. This project focused on understanding how power structures allow for certain uses of primates in varying situations.

Her dissertation research will focus on the human—other primate interface in northern Peru to examine how local and western humans in the area perceive and relate to the yellow-tailed woolly monkey while also exploring how conservation could be both problematic and beneficial. Amanda is a Notre Dame Deans’ Fellow. Amanda has advanced to candidacy.

Contact: 638 Flanner Hall,

Emily deWet

Emily de Wet

Emily de Wet holds a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Wheaton College (MA), where she wrote her senior thesis on the contestation of power and representation in township tourism in Langa Township, Cape Town, South Africa.

Emily continues to work in Cape Town, approaching townships as not solely defined by material poverty and marginality, but instead, as socially productive spaces. For her dissertation research, she is studying township ‘vibes’: the emotive and intangible aspects of daily life that her interlocutors use to express feelings of ‘belonging’ and ‘becoming’ in township spaces. Her work is theoretically situated within anthropological approaches to power and the construction of ‘centers and margins’, cultural poetics, place making, phenomenology and racial experience as embodied difference. Emily is a Kellogg Institute PhD Student Fellow and has advanced to candidacy.

Contact: 638 Flanner Hall,


Persephone Dshaun

Persephone holds a B.A. in Medical Anthropology and Global Health from the University of Washington. She wrote her honors thesis on racial and beauty constructs in paranormal romance novels.  This project examined the ways readers and authors make meaning of the cultural codes that lie at the foundation of representations of race and beauty in this popular fiction genre, as well as how these representations maintain, challenge, or otherwise work on mainstream ideologies regarding beauty and race in the United States.

Persephone’s research interests include privilege, inequality, and racialization.  At Notre Dame, her research will center on the ways in which whiteness may be attached to non-white bodies in the context of health care, and how people navigate racial and cultural borders in health care settings that are institutionally grounded in hegemonic whiteness. 

Contact: 646 Flanner Hall,


Deniz Enverova

Deniz holds a BA from San Jose State Universit and an MA from Bilkent University in archaeology. She focused on social complexity and collapse , as well bioarchaeological methods. She worked at excavations in Turkey and Bulgaria.

At Notre Dame Deniz will study social complexity and urbanization in the context of mortuary practices in Anatolia from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age, while integrating archaeological and bioarchaeological analysis. Deniz is a Notre Dame Presidential Fellow.

Contact: 638 Flanner Hall,

Rieti Gengo

Rieti Gengo (anthropology & peace studies)

Rieti holds an M.A. degree in anthropology from Western Michigan University and B.A. degrees in music and anthropology from Davidson College. His master’s research approached the structural violence of racism from a biocultural perspective, using data collected from skeletal remains.

Rieti’s most recent research centers on Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya, where he is interested in issues of marginalization, invisibility, and structural violence within the camp, as well as the complex and often contentious relationships between the refugee population and the Turkana host community. He explores these topics using mixed qualitative and quantitative methods in ethnographic and human biology research. Rieti is a Notre Dame Presidential Fellow.

Contact: 623 Flanner Hall,


Kristina Hook (anthropology and peace studies)

Kristina Hook earned an M.A. degree in international development and a graduate certificate in humanitarian assistance from the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies and a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Florida. She served as a Policy Officer in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations and a Political/Economic Officer in a U.S. Embassy abroad. In 2013, she was awarded a U.S. Presidential Management Fellowship.
Kristina is currently a Fellow with the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP). She has published on topics including genocide, mass violence, post-conflict reconstruction, humanitarian lessons learned and methods of merging theory and practice in sustainable development programming. Her research interests include causal explanations of mass violence and mass killings, as well as how emerging micro-level research may be used to design more robust genocide diagnostic frameworks.

For her dissertation, Kristina is conducting fieldwork in Ukraine on the violence dynamics of the Soviet-era Holodomor mass atrocities and how this legacy continues to ripple across modern Ukrainian society.  Since coming to Notre Dame, Kristina has also presented her research and participated in field schools in locations including Germany, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Czech Republic.

Kristina is a Kellogg Ph.D. Fellow.

Contact: 646 Flanner Hall,

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Jelena Jankovic-Rankovic

Jelena holds an M. A. degree in International Peace Studies from University of Notre Dame and an M.A. degree in Strategies and Methods of Non-violent Social Change from University of Belgrade. She received her B. A. from University of Belgrade, majoring in Special Education and Rehabilitation.

Jelena’s research will focus on the complexity of migration by comparing and contrasting experiences of encamped and transitory refugees in Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe.  Specifically, she will examine the patterns of integration and exclusion of encamped and transitory refugees within the host communities, focusing on the dynamics within both groups and interaction between the host communities and refugees. Her research also entails human behavior, poverty, development, gender, peace, conflict and violence as they affect lives of refugees migrating to developed nations, and encamped refugees, particularly in socio-politically instable countries. Jelena is a Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) Research Fellow.

Contact: 623 Flanner Hall


Angela Lederach (anthropology & peace studies)

Research Interests:Angela earned B.A. degrees in anthropology and peace studies from Notre Dame. After graduating, she received a fellowship to research reconciliation efforts in Sierra Leone. This research, combined with undergraduate research she conducted with the West African Network for Peacebuilding, culminated in the co-authorship of her book When Blood and Bones Cry Out: Journeys Through the Soundscape of Healing and Reconciliation.

Angela Lederach's research explores the discursive, embodied, and social practices of grassroots peacebuilding employed by the Movimiento Pacífico de la Alta Montaña in rural Colombia. In particular, she is investigating how multigenerational relationships – through which connection to land, to history, and to self emerge – are (re)imagined and (re)created in the context of a destroyed environment. Her research interests broadly include social movements, violence, peace, environment, forced displacement and migration. Angie has advanced to candidacy.

Contact: 639 Flanner Hall, (574) 631-4744


Richard Marcantonio (anthropology & peace studies)

Drew holds a Master of Public Affairs degree from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) (2016) and a B.A. in Geography and the Environment from the University of Texas at Austin (2009). Prior to beginning his graduate work at SPEA, he served in the United States Marine Corps as an Infantry Officer and Foreign Military Advisor in Afghanistan. During his graduate studies he led a research project in Zambia, working with smallholder farmers to understand local level perceptions of, and responses to, water scarcity.

Drew is interested in natural and human ecology in developing countries, behavioral change and adaptive capacity under the stress of climate change, and the potential relationship between conflict and the impacts of climate change. Drew was awarded the Richard and Peggy Notebaert Premier Fellowship.

Contact: 623 Flanner Hall,


Todd Marek

Todd holds a B.A. degree in anthropology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.  He has also completed a degree in Traditional Tibetan Medicine from the Shang Shung Institute of America School of Tibetan Medicine, as well as studies in advanced topics of Tibetan Medicine at the Qīnghǎi University College of Tibetan Medicine and a clinical internship at the Qīnghǎi Tibetan Medical Hospital in Xīning, China.

At Notre Dame, Todd plans to draw on theoretical and methodological approaches of linguistic and medical anthropology in order to research the dialectical relationship between changing language practices and emergent forms of medical practice amongst Amdo Tibetans living in Qīnghǎi Province, China.  Todd is broadly interested in linguistic, sociocultural, and medical anthropology, semiotics, language and cognition, Tibetan Medicine and the historical and ethnographic literature on Tibet and China. Todd has advanced to candidacy

Contact: 646 Flanner Hall,


Sara Morrow

Sara Morrow holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Archaeology from the University of Virginia (2013). Her senior research addressed the emergence of social inequality in complex hunter-gatherers in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Her undergraduate fieldwork included research on the everyday life of an enslaved community at James Madison’s plantation Montpelier in Virginia, and the settlement of Charlottesville, Virginia, in the 18th and 19th century.
Sara’s research interests include materiality, social inequality, and the relationship between everyday material consumption and identity through intersectionality. Her dissertation research focuses on the material transformations of everyday life in rural Ireland from Irelands union with Great Britain in 1801 to Irish independence and the emergence of the Irish Free State in 1922. Her research incorporates archaeological excavation, oral history, and archival research on the island of Inishbofin, Ireland, to understand locally meaningful expression of islander identity during Ireland’s economic and political transformation. Sara has advanced to candidacy.

Contact: 639 Flanner Hall,


Charles Morse

Charles holds a B.A. in both Anthropology and Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley (2014). His undergraduate research focused on the notion of sedentism and its application to archaeological contexts. His thesis proposed redefining sedentism through semiotics and practice theory so mobility could be discussed in pre-urban mortuary contexts in Bab adh-Dhra’ Jordan.

At Notre Dame, Charles’ research focuses on expanding our knowledge of the protohistoric--between the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age--of the southern Levant through integrative approaches to archaeological contexts. Concomitantly, his theoretical focus centers on mobility, semiotics, practice, and landscape based approaches to material culture. After modifying and analyzing the database of materials from Bab adh-Dhra’, he will be working toward a more complete picture of the transition to and from Urbanism in the Southern Levant. In modern application, Charles’ work focuses on the dynamics of power and identity as it relates to imposed organization on cultural practice--such of ‘legitimized’ forms of mobility and immigration.

Contact: 648 Flanner Hall,

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Jeffrey Peterson

Jeffrey V. Peterson holds an M.A. in anthropology from San Diego State University (2012) and a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2008).  From 2010-2011, Jeffrey conducted research as a Fulbright scholar on perceptions of macaque sacredness among Balinese transmigrants in South Sulawesi, Indonesia.  After graduating with his master’s degree, Jeffrey taught an online introductory biocultural anthropology course as a lecturer at San Diego State University (2013-2014).

Jeffrey’s research interests are in nonhuman primate cognition and social behavior. His dissertation research focuses on communication and other forms of social interaction among long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) in Bali, Indonesia. Jeffrey is motivated by theoretical approaches to communication from primatology, sociocultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. He is employing an integrated theoretical and methodological framework drawing upon work from these fields in his dissertation research. Jeffrey is a Notre Dame Presidential Fellow and Irwin Press Fellow and has advanced to candidacy.

Contact: 639 Flanner Hall,


Julia Prince-Buitenhuys

Julia received her M.A. in Anthropology from California State University Chico (2016) and her B.A. in anthropology with a focus on archaeology at University of California San Diego (2010).  At Chico, Julia’s primary work was in stable isotope analysis, bioarchaeology, and forensic anthropology.  Her master’s thesis looked at ethnic dietary variation at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Potter’s Field (circa 1870-1935) using stable isotope analysis and skeletal ancestry estimation methods.   

Julia’s broader research interests include social inequality, diet and migration reconstruction, dietary stress and disease, and identity formation.  At Notre Dame, Julia will use stable isotope analysis and bioarchaeological methods to research the consequences of unequal social structures on diet, health, and social identity in the historic U.S.  She also plans to continue research in stable isotopic and forensic anthropological methods and applications.  Julia is a Notre Dame Presidential Fellow.

Contact: 639 Flanner Hall,

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Kelsey Reese

Kelsey received her M.A. in Anthropology from Washington State University, and holds a B.A. in Political Science and Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her master’s research focused on defining an extent of daily-interacting households through time in Mesa Verde National Park of southwestern Colorado. Kelsey’s research utilizes large-scale, geo-spatial analyses to analyze settlement patterns on the landscape.

At Notre Dame, Kelsey plans to continue her research focusing on community and interaction in the Mesa Verde region by expanding to include levels of organization beyond daily-interacting households to define a scale of common identity within the larger region. Kelsey is a Notre Dame Presidential Fellow.

Contact: 639 Flanner Hall,

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Joyce Rivera-González

Joyce holds a B.Sc. degree in Integrative Biology from the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras. During her undergraduate career she volunteered as a student assistant at the Caribbean Primate Research Center in Sabana Seca, where she worked in behavioral assessment of rhesus macaques that were housed in the station. 

At Notre Dame, she intends to explore the interaction between human populations and free-ranging nonhuman primates, particularly regarding introduced rhesus macaque and patas monkey populations in southwestern Puerto Rico. Her research intends to comprehend how these species interject into the daily lives of local communities, as well as how this interaction influences foraging activity and population dispersion, among other behavioral ecology facets yet to be explored. At the field, she will be integrating traditional primate field studies with multispecies ethnography among farmers and tourism facilities that encounter lone foragers every so often – if only ephemerally. Joyce is a Kinesis-Fernández Richards Fellow.

Contact: 646 Flanner Hall,


Maryam Rokhideh (anthropology & peace studies)

Maryam holds a master’s degree in Conflict Resolution from the University of Bradford and a Bachelors degree in International Studies with minors in Conflict Resolution and Comparative Literature from the University of California, Irvine. Maryam has worked with post-conflict populations in Cameroon, Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, and South Korea on issues of alternative dispute resolution, sexual and gender-based violence, and psychosocial recovery.

Maryam’s research interests center on the interdisciplinary interactions between medical anthropology and peace studies. Her research focuses on the human experience of violence with a particular emphasis on the social and political forces that construct conditions of suffering and post-conflict recovery. Maryam is a Notre Dame Presidential Fellow.

Contact: 638 Flanner Hall,


Mallika Sarma

Mallika holds a B.S. in Psychology & Evolutionary Anthropology from the University of Michigan (2014). Her undergraduate research includes: the growth and maintenance of creativity in disparate environments, effects of STEM field stereotypes on mate choice, and mindfulness and health in immigrant populations. 

At Notre Dame, Mallika’s research focuses on human developmental plasticity, niche construction, and physiological adaptation to extreme environments, specifically high altitude environments. Mallika is currently a NSF Graduate Research Fellow and also holds the Notre Dame Dean's Fellowship. 

Contact: 639 Flanner Hall,

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Ann Marie Thornburg

Ann Marie Thornburg holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers' Program where she was also a Zell Postgraduate Fellow in Poetry. Ann Marie was also a Human-Animal Studies Fellow at Wesleyan University.

At Notre Dame Ann Marie will investigate human and free-ranging dog relations, focusing on questions of transience and mobility. She will also consider public health and other formal and informal management and care practices that emerge in relation and response to free-ranging dogs. Ann Marie is a Notre Dame Presidential Fellow.

Contact: 648 Flanner Hall,