Four students in Notre Dame’s Department of Anthropology were awarded graduate fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2016 and 2017, and three were recognized with honorable mentions. The NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) honors and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based degrees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and social science disciplines. The award provides a stipend, tuition support, and research funds for three years.
Agustín Fuentes finds the four predominant arguments that seek to explain human evolution and human nature to be compelling but extremely simplified. Years of research and an emphasis on cross-disciplinary conversations has instead led him to a more complete story of human evolution. Creativity and collaboration, he argues in The Creative Spark, are the most important explanations for why we are the way we are.
Ph.D. students in Notre Dame’s graduate program in anthropology have had great success in publishing their research — often in collaboration with each other and with faculty — in some of the discipline’s top journals. They are also contributing book chapters and encyclopedia entries to a variety of significant new works in the field.
Assistant Professor Mark Golitko is fascinated by social networks — prehistoric social networks, that is. By using elemental chemistry to figure out where archaeological objects like ceramics were produced and how they moved around, he can learn a great deal about the communication patterns of people who lived thousands of years ago.
A trio of Notre Dame students and alumni have been named Yenching Scholars, a globally competitive award that provides a full scholarship and stipend to pursue an interdisciplinary master’s degree at China’s top university. Teresa Kennedy ’16, an anthropology and peace studies major from Wilbraham, Massachusetts; senior Jenny Ng, a political science major from Sai Kung, Hong Kong; and Dominic Romeo ’14, a political science and Chinese major from Turlock, California, were named to the third cohort entering the Yenching Academy, based at Peking University in Beijing.
The Graduate Students are happy to announce an Anthropology Mentorship Program. In this program, we will match undergraduate students with graduate student mentors to help and advise students as they move through their undergraduate degrees. Mentors can help with graduate school applications, thesis projects, conference papers, course work, and can offer general guidance as an additional resource for students.
Notre Dame junior Katie Portman spent summer 2015 doing archaeological fieldwork while living on the M.V. Pitsiulak, a 50-foot longliner, off the coast of subarctic Canada. Despite weather issues, engine malfunctions, and permit-related delays, the experience caused her to fall in love with—and major in—anthropology. Since then, her research pursuits have taken her to Washington, D.C.; Canada; Ireland; and Russia, for projects including excavation of a medieval Christian pilgrimage site and a study of skeletons of monks from Byzantine Jerusalem.
Notre Dame researchers suggest that the origin of both colic and SIDS may be related to the gradual emergence of an infant’s ability to voluntarily control the release of air through the vocal track.
Notre Dame's sustainability program, open to all majors, seeks to inspire students to cultivate practices and ways of living that preserve natural resources for future generations. The minor is housed in the College of Science, but it has proven to be an ideal way for Arts and Letters students to connect their interest in science with their passion for the humanities.
Mariel Kennedy (ND'16), a former advisee of Prof. Rahul Oka now working as a research analyst with Goldman Sachs, won the Society for Economic Anthropology's 2016 Harold K. Schneider Student Prize in Economic Anthropology.