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Anthropology | Selected Student Profiles

Lauren Ainsworth

Lauren Ainsworth Anthropology Student

Lauren is a current master's student in the public anthropology program. She graduated summa cum laude from Green Mountain College where she received her BA in cultural anthropology and religious studies. Her senior project examined the role of informal travel logs, diaries, and letters as tools for enhancing professional ethnography. She presented the culmination of this project at the Northeast Anthropological Association Conference in 2015. Lauren has done research abroad in Ireland, Morocco, Italy, Germany, and Austria studying the intersections of religious iconography, spirituality, folklore, mysticism and art. She is also interested in the continuation of resilience, gender representation, public health policies, and identity narratives among  indigenous communities around the western US. Her current research is on the preservation of memory, voodoo traditions, oral histories, heritage, and culture in post-Katrina New Orleans. Lauren can be reached at la6553a@student.american.edu

Aixa Alemán-Díaz

AixaAlemanDiaz

Aixa Alemán-Díaz

Aixa Alemán-Díaz is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at American University. She holds a master's of anthropology (2010) from Rutgers University and double major (2005) in psychology and anthropology (Highest Honors) at The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Also, Aixa is Semester at Sea alumni fall 2002. Aixa was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She is fully bilingual in Spanish and English, with intermediate skills in Brazilian Portuguese. From her current location in Puerto Rico, Aixa is conducting ethnographic fieldwork. In 2008, she won an NSF-GRFP fellowship. Aixa has completed internships at the EPA and NIH. Her research experiences involve various fields of public health, psychology, and cultural anthropology. Aixa's current research interests include human and coastal relationships (management, policy and governance, patterns of resource use and history), marine protected areas, maritime livelihoods, gentrification, Caribbean, Latin America, and Puerto Rico. In addition, Aixa is committed to providing access to education for all different learners. She is familiar with assistive technologies, including but not limited to, Kurzweil, Dragon, Endnote, and Inspiration. Past teaching and education experiences have given her lessons: 1) both depth and understandings of historically under-represented populations (with special attention to Latinos/Hispanics, Puerto Ricans, youth, and special education); 2) the creation and the dissemination of multi-media educational materials; and, 3) the development of curriculum and teaching. Feel free to contact Aixa at aa3237a@student.american.edu.  

Rachel Cantave

Rachel Cantave received her BA from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. She studied colonial/post-colonial theory, history, literature, and philosophy of Rachel Cantave holds a BA in Individualized Study from NYU with a focus on colonial/ postcolonial histories of Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2014, she received a Fulbright Research fellowship to conduct fieldwork on religious influences, morality and social justice in Northeastern Brazil. She is currently completing her dissertation, “Effects of Faith: A Comparative Study of Religious Influence and Faith-Based Community Service” with support from The Reed Foundation’s Ruth Landes Memorial Fund. She is published in the Journal of Religious Studies, History and Society.

Kong Cheong

Kong Cheong

Kong Cheong

Kong F. Cheong is currently working towards his PhD in Anthropology, here at American University. Examining both data from Swahili trading cities of Manda, Takwa, and Mtwapa, and forthcoming data from planned excavation of the ancient western India port city of Chaul, his dissertation research focuses on the characteristically dynamic complex adaptive systems of ancient maritime trade networks in the Indian Ocean. Prior to AU, Kong was a Santa Fe Institute Research Fellow in New Mexico. At SFI, he was a member of the Emergence of Complex Societies Project, studying the long-term evolution of human societies and sought to understand the shared underlying principles that are responsible for the emergence of complex social, political, and economic organizations. He received a bachelor of arts in history and a bachelor of science in anthropology from Kennesaw State University. He earned a master of arts in anthropology from Trent University in Ontario, Canada. For the past nine years he has been involved with archaeological research at several ancient Maya centers in Belize. These include the Caves Branch Rock Shelter, Actun Neko, Deep Valley Rock Shelter, Baateelek, Actun Pech, Actun Merech, Actun Tzul, Ixchel, Martinez, Pacbitun, Minanha, and Waybil. He is also involved with ethnographic studies of women potters in western Kenya, archaeological investigation of three pastoralist rock shelters on the foothills of Mount Elgon, and at two ancient coastal Swahili trading cities of Mtwapa and Manda. In the US, he has worked as a professional archaeologist at over 150 sites in eight different southern states. They range from Paleo-Indian to recent historical sites. Kong is also currently a member of the research team on the agricultural component of the Trent University's Socioecological Entanglement in Tropical Society Project. His select publications may be accessed on https://american.academia.edu/KongCheong and he can be contacted via email at kong.cheong@american.edu

Beth Geglia

Beth Geglia

Beth Geglia

Beth Geglia is a PhD student at American University with particular interests in economic, ecological, and feminist anthropology. She received an Honors BA at the University of Wisconsin in Madison with majors in sociology, international political economy, and Latin American studies with a certificate in global cultures (2007). She earned a certificate in documentary film from the Duke University Center for Documentary Studies in 2010 and has produced various short documentaries on local and international social movements as an independent media maker. She recently co-directed a feature length documentary about a community-controlled free hospital in Afro-indigenous communities on Honduras' northern coast entitled "Revolutionary Medicine: A Story of the First Garifuna Hospital. The film has been presented in nine countries and over a dozen Universities within the United States. 

Beth has a professional background in human rights campaigning, crisis intervention for survivors of sexual violence and human trafficking, and language interpretation. In 2014 she received a Robyn Rafferty Matthias grant to do preliminary research on new autonomous economic zones in Honduras, where her research will focus on territorial projects of neoliberalization and their impacts on various forms of collectivity.

Rebecca Gibson

Rebecca Gibson

Rebecca Gibson holds a BA in history and a BA in philosophy from Indiana University South Bend, and an MA in anthropology and women's and gender studies from Brandeis University. She is committed to multidisciplinarity, with interests as varied as robot/human interaction, Cold War history and masculinity, and skeletal morphology. Her current research looks at the impact of corsetry on the female skeleton in London and Paris circa 1700-1900 CE, and has been published in NEXUS: The Canadian Student Journal of Anthropology, and written up in Forbes online magazine.

Laura S. Jung

Laura S. Jung is a PhD candidate in anthropology at American University. She is currently in Honduras conducting field research. Her dissertation research asks what the effects of short-term medical missions are on health outcomes in rural Honduran communities and what the broader social effects of these projects are. Her interests come from her years of experience as a volunteer translator and brigade leader for a short-term medical mission organization that works in Honduras. She also worked with School of the Americas Watch and has several years of experience working with higher education and international not profit organizations. In 2006, Laura received a dual BA in Political Science and Spanish from University of North Texas and an MA in international studies from DePaul University. Her master's thesis focused on the dispossession of the afro-indigenous Garífuna from their ancestral lands by industrial African Palm plantation owners. She continues to be in solidarity with Garífuna political struggles and land rights issues in Honduras. Laura's interests encompass a range of topics, from critical medical anthropology, humanitarianism, and development, to race, gender, and inequality. Laura has taught ANTH 110 –Intro to Anthropology at AU and her publications can be found online in Rethinking Development and Inequality, Vol. 3 and ClusterMag Issue 3. Before beginning field research, Laura was active in the Anthropology Graduate Student Council (2012-2014) and the 2013 Public Anthropology Conference activities - and encourages you to get involved too! When she's not busy doing interesting and important anthropological work, Laura can be found walking her dogs, baking cupcakes and other goodies, and sewing. Contact Laura at laura.jung@american.edu.

Becca Peixotto

Becca Peixotto

Becca Peixotto

Becca Peixotto is an archaeologist and PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at American University in Washington, DC. She holds a BA in Slavic studies and mathematics from University of Alabama-Huntsville, an MA in discourse and argumentation from Universiteit van Amsterdam and an MA in public anthropology with a concentration in historical archaeology from AU. Her areas of specialization and interest are historic landscapes, material culture, ideas of wilderness, and public engagement with the past. A seasoned outdoor educator with expertise in wilderness expeditions in mountain and desert environments, Becca often finds herself excavating in difficult to reach places like the Rising Star cave fossil hominid deposit and the interior of the Great Dismal Swamp. Becca can be reached at rp4759a@american.edu.

Siobhán McGuirk

Siobhán McGuirk previously attended The University of Manchester 2005-2009, where she received a BA in anthropology and international politics and an MA in visual anthropology. Her research interests include queer diaspora, migration, religion, gender, and neoliberal subjectivity. Her ethnographic fieldwork will be carried out with same-sex desiring asylum seekers living in the US. She uses documentary film and other visual research methods in her work, and places high value on social activism and critical journalism.

Lauren McKown

Lauren McKown attended the University of California San Diego where she received a BA in anthropology in 2005. In the years following her undergraduate studies, Lauren became interested in religion, identity, gender, and the state. In 2012 Lauren received a MA in public anthropology at America University and is currently a PhD candidate in cultural/social anthropology. Her doctoral research addresses debates about the role of religious identity in the construction of national identity and the relationship between religious and national identities and political participation. It pursues two major questions: 1) how does participation in a religious community influence understandings of national identity? 2) how, if at all, do individuals base their political action and strategies to influence state policies on their religious and national identities? She is exploring these questions through a case study of Christian and Muslim religious participants in Bergen, Norway.

Caroline Robertson

Caroline Robertson, AU Public Anthropology

Caroline Robertson is a current MA in public anthropology student at AU. She received her AS at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois, and her BA from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale's Department of Anthropology. At SIU, she studied anthropology, focusing on historical trauma and sexuality in southern Illinois. She graduated summa cum laude and received an Excellence in Anthropology award from the department. Caroline's current research interests include death theory and dark tourism. 

Joeva Rock

Joeva Rock received her BA in international relations from the University of California-San Diego, and is currently a PhD student focusing on colonial left-overs in West Africa. She is interested in colonial legacies in Ghana, specifically in relation to globalization, identity, education and development. Joeva can be reached at joeva.rock@american.edu.

Ted Samuel

Ted Samuel is a PhD candidate in cultural anthropology. His research focuses on the ways that activists and development professionals from the Thirunangai – Tamil transgender – community use varied forms of performance to craft contemporary socioeconomic niches for themselves while instantiating claims to either a female or third gender identity. By examining specific performances – from beauty pageants, film, dance venues, and online social media – as well as the processes leading to their production, Ted’s dissertation further analyzes how Thirunangai performances draw upon and sometimes reinterpret localized notions of tradition and modernity to bolster their gendered claims.  An avid performer of Karagattam – a South Indian folk dance – for the past ten years, Ted is incorporating various performance-based research methods into his work. Ted earned a BA in international studies from Kenyon College and an MA in public anthropology at American University. He was a recipient of a Fulbright Research Fellowship and is currently serving as an American India Foundation William J. Clinton Fellow.

Joshua Schea

Joshua Schea

Joshua Schea Received his BA from Messiah College in 2015, graduating with honors in anthropology. He studied philosophy, sociology, and anthropology, focusing on anthropological theory and practice. Currently, Joshua is focusing his research on issues of race, urban studies, inequality, religion, and education in the United States. Joshua entered American University's PhD program in 2015, and is in the process of refining his dissertation work.

 

Chelsi Slotten

Chelsi Slotten

Chelsi Slotten is a PhD student in anthropology at American University. She received her BA from Tulane University in New Orleans where she studied human osteology, forensics, and the classics. She then went on to complete her MSc in paleopathology at Durham University in England. Her research there focused on recognizing victims of domestic abuse in the archaeological record and identifying social, religious, political, and economic factors contributing to different prevalence rates between urban and rural populations. Her current research interests include how gender influences bioarchaeology, nutritional access, health frailty, and trauma during the Viking Era, along with how the public engages with the past particularly at museums.

Justin Uehlein

Justin Uehlein is working towards his PhD in anthropology with a focus in historical archaeology. His research interests include diaspora studies, Marxism and anthropology, critical theory, labor history, animal rights, capital crises and transitions, and historical archaeology as public and political praxis. Justin currently holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Maryland, College Park in anthropology and is continuing his work in anthropological archaeology at American University. Justin's research centers around themes of globalization, immigration, and class stratification as they existed in the past and pertain contemporarily.