Ben Ale-Ebrahim has won a Fulbright Institute of International Education grant for dissertation research in Morocco.
Michelle Benavidez shared with us some things that she is most proud of over the past year. She started volunteering for Ask a Biologist at Arizona State University, writing child-friendly versions of scientific article. You can find her first short linked here, and she will be publishing another one soon. Benavidez holds the Center for the Integrated Study of Animal Behavior (CISAB) Graduate Fellowship for 2020-2021. She was nominated by the college and local Philanthropic Education Organization (P.E.O) chapter to apply for a PEO Scholar Award. While she will not know if she won until April or May, says Benevidez, “it was an honor to be nominated since they can only choose [to nominate] one person”. Additionally, she placed second in Indiana University Bloomington’s 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. See her video here.
Mecca Burris In 2020, Burris passed her qualifying exams and proceeded to Ph.D. candidacy, and received a Dissertation Research Fellowship from the College of Arts and Science for 2021-2022. This fellowship will help support her dissertation research on the relationship between rural environments characterized by industrial agriculture and pubertal timing in Costa Rica. Since 2020, she has also been working as one of two student representatives for the Human Biology Association, as well as conducting research with various colleagues. Along with fellow grad student MacKenzie DiMarco, and under the advisement of Dr. Jennifer Robinson and Dr. James Farmer, Burris has been studying food insecurity among adolescents in rural Indiana. For this, they received a research grant from the Center for Rural Engagement, and will be presenting findings at the IU Rural Conference in May. She has also been working with Dr. Virginia Vitzthum and Emily Chester on analyzing hormone, growth, and development data from Dr. Vizthum’s work in El Alto Bolivia in 2003. She is presenting a talk titled “Evaluating the impact of urbanization on child growth in an indigenous Bolivian high-altitude population” at the Human Biology Association Annual Meetings (2021) which will highlight this work and show how urbanization has impacted adolescent growth and body composition as well as critically examine the use of global versus regional growth references for high-altitude adolescents. Later in 2021, she will present a talk on the research she did last Spring on the role of the COVID-19 pandemic in increasing interests in self-food provisioning and self-sufficiency at the Food in/of Pandemic International Conference.
Joey Cleveland was awarded a Fulbright-Hays to complete his dissertation research in Mongolia in 2020-21, to be taken up when the pandemic allows. Joey's dissertation research in Mongolia examines infrastructure breakdowns in postsocialism, focusing on the provision of hot water. His project will investigate how infrastructure such as sidewalks and public utilities—and especially their absence or breakdown—mediate political subjectivity. The project creatively combines anthropological work on bureaucratic materiality, experiences of the state, and some issues of property peculiar to post-socialism. His project is extremely timely and of the utmost importance to Mongolians themselves, as well as to understanding urban development more generally.
Victoria DiMartile is a 4th year sociocultural anthropologist. She studies family, race, and identity through the lens of the modern U.S. adoption industry. Her academic work is fueled by her desire to see anthropological knowledge directly contribute to positive social change within the adoption community. She currently runs an Instagram platform and freelance consulting business called Wreckage and Wonder, dedicated to providing an historically informed, research based, sociocultural perspective to transracial adoption. Through this work, she shares as a guest speaker for adoption conferences, workshops, and trainings. During 2020, she was a guest on the podcast Adoption Hacks to discuss her research as an anthropologist as well as her community-based work and advocacy within the adoption community at large. She, specifically, was asked to provide anthropological insight into the institution of adoption in the U.S. as a cultural, economic, and political project, which is often built upon, reinforces, and reproduces racial categories and inequities. This podcast was a great chance to share more generally about the kinds of approaches anthropologists take to adoption, as well as how these approaches can translate to adoption reform efforts moving forward. During 2020, DiMartile also conducted virtual staff trainings for a small adoption agency in Georgia and participated in two panel events for The Cradle Adoption Agency in Chicago and the Honestly Adoption Company based in Indianapolis.
Meg Morley won a Fulbright US Student Award to go to Egypt in 2020. Due to the pandemic, she deferred her travel and award until fall 2021. She also recently won a Graduate Research Fellowship with Platform's Global Popular Music Group and a recent College Arts and Humanities Institute Award in Support of Research and Creative Activity for her project, “Inciting Debauchery: Dance and Mobility in Egypt.”
Tyler Nighswander has won a Grant-in-Aid of research from the University Graduate School.
Lana Ruck has a Future Faculty Teaching position at Indiana University Northwest. As part of her innovative pandemic pedagogy, since all her classes are online, she has incorporated social media into her teaching on science communication! Additionally, she serves as the Communications Chair for the Anthropology Graduate Student Association, and has recently received the Yolanda Trevino Service Award. She has also received the College Dissertation Completion Fellowship for 2021-2022.
For Stuart Sones, 2020 was the year of learning flexibility and resiliency and celebrating the possible. Although he was not able to start a year-long study abroad program in Morocco last summer, he was happy to tutor Arabic for the IU Summer Language Workshop while learning Persian – all from his bedroom in suburban Ohio! Moving everything online narrowed distances, connecting the world in new, improvisatory ways. Sones benefited from this connectivity when he had the chance to cover the 2020 U.S. election for BBC Arabic’s citizen journalist program “I am witness” (ana al-shāhid). While the pandemic cancelled the Platform Arts & Humanities Laboratory’s April “Mediating Music” conference, he was fortunate to still present the research he conducted as an undergraduate fellow on the adoption of Sufi themes in North African hip hop in the Fall to an online audience. Though he hadn’t intended to be in Bloomington this year, he felt grateful to be back online serving as a UTA for Prof. Jane Goodman’s class, teaching the Arabic Flagship’s Arabic Music Club, and working on honors theses in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies. He is celebrating being inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 2020 and receiving honorable mentions for papers from IU Anthropology’s Voegelin Prize and the Society of Economic Anthropology’s Harold K. Schneider Prize. At the end of 2020, he received an acceptance (for a second time!) to the Arabic Flagship’s program in Morocco and he says, “I am looking forward to heading to Morocco in September 2021, God willing!”
Dana Vanderburgh is a Ph.D. student in Social-Cultural Anthropology with a Ph.D. minor in African Studies. She received a research grant from the Tobias Center for International Development and a travel grant from the Graduate and Professional Student Government in Spring 2020 to conduct research on developing an arts curriculum for Indigenous youth impacted by hydroelectric development in Northern Manitoba. Due to Covid, curriculum development occurred virtually during the summer. Dana also facilitated a virtual arts program for the Hamilton Lugar School during the Fall 2020 semester to help students, faculty, and staff build relationships and process the effects of the pandemic and ongoing social justice movements. She began working with the African Studies Program as a Graduate Outreach Assistant in August 2020 and looks forward to getting more involved in the ASP community in this new role! In October 2020 she also joined the Black Film Center/Archive as a French/English translator to aid in the acquisition of the Paulin S. Vieyra Archives.