Department News

University of Nevada, Reno Anthropology students and faculty alike are busy presenting and publishing their work, organizing and hosting public lectures by distinguished visitors, and bringing positive attention to our department. Here are just a few of our recent accomplishments; check back often for updates on upcoming department events.

January 2019

  • Elaine Chu will be heading to Knoxville on February 16th to participate in the 2019 Regional 3MT Competition! Her three minutes will be spent discussing how Body Mass Estimation can assist to identity Hispanic individuals along the US-Mexico border.
  • The Forensic Anthropologists in the Department, Drs Pilloud and Stull, were in the local news regarding their ability to identify skeletal remains!

October 2018

  • Poster for Far Western Speaker Series

September 2018

  • Our PhD student Victoria Swenson received the Kosciuzsko Foundation's Graduate Studies and Research scholarship for work conducted in Poland! Congratulations, Victoria!

May 2018

  • Congratulations to Melissa Hafey for winning second place at the Southwestern Anthropological Association conference's Poster Competition! Her poster is entitled "Explorations of Differentiation and Local Place Making in Craft Beer Labeling."   
  • Melissa Hafey at the SAA conference

April 2018

  • A big congratulations to our department's winners at the Graduate Students' Association Awards in April 2018!

The following graduate students received grants and prizes:

Donnovan Adams- International Activities Grant, GSA Research Grant Program

Cassie Skipper- International Activities Grant, GSA Outstanding Graduate Student

Rebecca George- International Activities Grant

Richard Rosencrance- Paper Competition Award

And our very own Dr. Marin Pilloud received the Vada Trimble Outstanding Mentor award!

  • We extend proud congratulations to Allison Blair, a graduating student with a double major in Anthropology and English, with minors in Historic Preservation and Museum Studies. She has won multiple awards this semester, including the Herz Gold Medal, one of the highest awards given by the University. She has also received the Senior Scholar Award from the Alumni Association (like the Herz Gold Medal, the award is based on GPA) and also received the College of Liberal Arts' Excellence in Interdisciplinary Studies Award. And, she received an Honors Undergraduate Research Award and recently defended an excellent honors thesis. Congratulations, Allison!
  • Dr. Richard Scott recently gave a lecture for the Henry Stewart Talks Series ( UNR does have a subscription to HS talks so you can listen to the two parts of the lecture at the links below:
    • Scott, G.R. (2018, March 29). Global variation in human tooth crown and root morphology - anthropological and forensic applications - 1 [Video file]. In The Biomedical & Life Sciences Collection, Henry Stewart Talks. Retrieved April 10, 2018, from
    • Scott, G.R. (2018, March 29). Global variation in human tooth crown and root morphology - anthropological and forensic applications - 2 [Video file]. In The Biomedical & Life Sciences Collection, Henry Stewart Talks. Retrieved April 10, 2018, from
  • Becca George and Donovan Adams were recently awarded the Dental Anthropology Association's Albert A. Dahlberg Prize for "Fuzzy Logic as an Approach for Assessing Regional Population Relatedness and Phenotypic Variation." Congratulations!
  • At the recent CLA Awards Ceremony, two of our Anthropology faculty were honored. Dr. Geoff Smith was awarded the Alan Bible Teaching Excellence Award, and Dr. Jennane Ferguson received the Dean's Award for Outstanding Teaching among Continuing Faculty.
  • Congratulations to our cultural anthropology PhD student Julie Goodman-Bowling, who is a finalist in the PhD student category in the 3MT @UNR competition (Three-Minute Thesis), to be held Thursday, April 19th, 2018 at 6:30 pm in the MIKC Wells Fargo Auditorium.
  • Congratulations to Bilinski Fellowship Recipients for 2018-2019! Anthropology (and an Anthropology affiliated student in Basque Studies) received 3/8 scholarships this year. We congratulate the following students on this honor:

       Donovan Adams Community Development and Culture Negotiation during the Early Bronze Age in Western Anatolia

      Rebecca George  Dental Variation in Central Mexican Latinos

      Kerri Lesh How the Basque Language is used in the Marketing of Basque Gastronomic Products to Promote Cultural and Linguistic Maintenance

  • We'd like to announce that Katryn Davis (PhD student) won the Promise Award this year for her work in cultural anthropology.
  • The Lak and Li Lecture Series this year welcomes Chase Iron Eyes (Standing Rock Sioux), an activist, attorney, and politician, to UNR from April 10-12th. Iron Eyes is a member of the Lakota People's Law Project and a co-founder of the Native American news website Last Real Indians. He will be taking part in two talks at UNR and an off campus art show at the Holland Project.

       Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

    • Community Panel 6-8PM Wells Fargo Auditorium, KC, UNR
      • Title: Indigenous Spirit on Fire
    • Reception to follow

       Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

    • 7:00PM: Public Lecture Wells Fargo Auditorium, KC, UNR
      • Title: Standing Rock, #NoDAPL Brutality & a clash of worldviews
    • 8:00PM: Reception (tea, coffee, and cookies)

       Thursday, April 12th, 2018

    • 6-9PM Art Event at Holland Project 140 Vesta St. Reno
      • Title: With Water We Thrive: Water Awareness Art Show

November 2017

  • Congratulations to Cassie Skipper and Stephanie Cole, who received 1st and 3rd place at the recent GSA poster symposium!

October 2017

  • Anthropometry is the systematic measurement of the human body and usually focuses on proportions, and size and shape variables. Anthropometric data can provide insight to genetic variation, ontogenetic history of an individual, and is also routinely used in furniture, clothing, and vehicular companies, to just name a few, for better designs. After in-class lectures on the topic students were able to collect measurements on each other so we could explore the range of human variation present in our class! (Human Variation (ANTH 476/676))

    Dr. Stull and Students
  • Dr. Stull Helping Students
  • We are pleased to announce that three of our faculty members have received two major grants from the National Institute of Justice to fund their forensic anthropological research.  Dr. Kyra Stull's project, "Quantifying the Impact of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors to Improve Juvenile Age Estimation"  will investigate juvenile growth and development across the globe.  Drs. Pilloud and Scott will develop methods to estimate ancestry and sex utilizing morphological and metric data of the teeth in their project titled, "A Dental Anthropological Databank for Use in the Statistical Estimation of Ancestry and Sex in Forensic Anthropology."  Both projects aim to improve our understanding of biological variation and development and to improve methods within forensic anthropology.
  • The University of Nevada, Reno hosted the fifth annual Western Bioarchaeology Group conference on October 7th.  The conference brought in students, professionals, and faculty from across the western United States.  It was organized by anthropology faculty members Marin Pilloud, Kyra Stull, and G. Richard Scott, with assistance and attendance by anthropology graduate and undergraduate students.


August 2017

  • The department of anthropology was recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant in the amount of $300,000 over three-years for the research project, "Identifying a Pre-Columbian Anthropocene in the Sierra Nevada, California: A Paleoecological and Archaeological Study of Fire and Vegetation Change, Forest Modeling, and Human Settlement Intensity." The project consists of interdisciplinary, collaborative research on the human paleoecology of the Sierra Nevada, California. Its ultimate goal is to identify the extent to which indigenous Californians helped create the landscapes and biotic distributions of pre-contact California. This information will be used as a means of providing a fire suppression baseline for land managers and as a way of assessing the degree to which non-agricultural, non-Eurasian populations modified their environment as a way to extract more energy from it.

May 2017

  • Please join us for the annual Lak and Li lecture in Religious Studies. Dr. Omid Safi of Duke University will be speaking on "American Muslims: American Dream and Empire's Nightmare."  Tuesday May 2, 2017 at 7:00pm, MIKC 124.  Reception to follow!
  • In addition, Dr. Safi will also give a talk about being a public intellectual on May 3, at 3 PM, in the Knowledge Center reading room.

April 2017

  • Please join us for our annual Boasian Bash, an opportunity for students to meet with anthropology professionals, distribute resumes, and engage in professional networking. The Bash is also a social event!  Come enjoy dinner, raffles, and a silent auction. Saturday April 29th, 2017 at Pub N' Sub (1000 Ralston Street).  Doors open at 5pm, resume shuffle starts at 6pm.  Tickets are $12 at the door.  Hope to see you there!
  • One of our Anthropology undergraduates, Melissa Nixon, presented her work at the Undergraduate Research Symposium. Her poster, 'The Meaning of Local: The Role of Language in Small-Scale Cooperative Movements' is based on independent research she has been conducting here in Reno.
  • We are so proud of our Anthropology majors!  Two are being honored by the College of Liberal Arts:  Esmeralda Salas won the Exemplar Award, and Sierra Meszaros won the Dean's Outstanding Graduate in Social Sciences Award.
  • Dr. Louis Forline has won Public Anthropology's Paul Farmer Global Citizenship Award, which recognizes his exceptionally effective participation in Public Anthropology's Community Action Online Project as well his wider activities in the public sphere.  Congratulations!
  • Please join us for a public lecture by Dr. Kate Spradley, entitled "The Humanitarian and Human Rights Crisis in South Texas: Anthropological Application and Research," scheduled for Thursday April 27th  at 6pm in Cain Hall, room 103.
  • Anthropology PhD candidate Dave Harvey recently won two awards: a UNR Bilinski Fellowship to support his final year of dissertation writing, and the Society for California Archaeology's prestigious Bennyhoff Award.  Congratulations!

March 2017

  • Dr. Rogozen-Soltar's new book "Spain Unmoored: Migration, Conversion, and the Politics of Islam" is published by Indiana University Press. Great news!
  • Congratulations to Dr. Sarah Cowie who has been approved for tenure.  She will be on sabbatical leave for the 2017/2018 academic year to work on a collaborative archaeology project with regional American Indian tribes.

February 2017

  • At the recent Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in New Orleans in February 2017, assistant professor Marin A. Pilloud was awarded the Ellis R. Kerley Research Award.  This purpose of this award "is to recognize excellence in the continuing effort to research and develop methods in forensic anthropology."  Dr. Pilloud was recognized for the paper she presented entitled, "A New Application for Estimating Ancestry Based on Dental Morphology" with co-authors G. Richard Scott, David Navega, João Coelho, Eugenia Cunha, and Joel D. Irish.

December 2017

  • Dr. Sarah Cowie was awarded a Kavli Fellowship by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The award letter from the Academy President states that Kavli Fellows "are selected by a committee of Academy members from among young researchers ... who have been identified as future leaders in science."

October 2016

  • The 35th Great Basin Anthropology Conference (GBAC) was a great success!  The event was hosted in Reno with significant contributions from our own, including Bryan Hockett (Meeting Chair); Chris Morgan, Carolyn White, and Geoff Smith (Program Chairs); and Chris Morgan and Anna Camp (Volunteer Coordinators). Numerous UNR faculty and countless students presented papers/posters, chaired sessions, and helped staff the registration booth.  With almost 700 registered guests, it is the largest GBAC to date.
  • Two graduate students in biological anthropology were recognized at the Western Bioarchaeology Group (WeBig) 2016 Conference. Donovan Adams was awarded second place for his research on "Biodistance Analysis of an Albuquerque Hispanic Population" and Cortney Hulse was awarded third place for her research on "Quantifying and Visualizing Thoracic Skeletal Trauma". Congratulations!

September 2016

  • Congratulations to Dr. Kyra Stull who was awarded funding from the National Science Foundation for a proposal entitled "Creation of a multivariate subadult age estimation model using numerous growth and developmental markers: evaluating variation and predictive ability" (NSF BCS-1551913). The grant aligns with previous forensic anthropological research directed at improving age estimation techniques for children.

August 2016

  • Emily Dale has been appointed Lecturer at the Northern Arizona University. She completed her dissertation, entitled, "Chinese Agency in the Era of the Chinese Question: Historical Archaeology of Urban and Rural Sites in Mineral County, Nevada, 1861-1920 " in Spring 2016.

April 2016

  • Some great news from our graduate students, who are finalists in UNR's Three-Minute Thesis competition:  Emily Dale, Adam Calkins, Aria Overli, and Amanda Rankin.  
  • Congratulations to Dr. Richard Scott who is being honored with a UNR Foundation Professor Award! In addition being given research support, Foundation Professors' names are included in the University's Honor Court.
  • Please join us for a brownbag talk by Dr. Annie Ross, entitled "Ways of Knowing: Contested Knowledge --Disconnects between Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge in the management of contested heritage in Australia and Solomon Islands." The talk is Wednesday April 27 at noon, in Ansari 531.
  • We hope you can join us for a great talk by Dr. John Hoffecker entitled "Beringia and the Global Dispersal of Modern Humans."  It will be on Tuesday, April 19th, at 5:30 pm in the Jot Travis Building room 100.

March 2016

  • We are gearing up for our annual Boasian Bash.  Save the date - Saturday, April 30 at 5pm - so you can join us at Pub N' Sub for raffles, silent auction, networking and fun!
  • Congratulations to Maggie Salas Crespo (double major, Anthropology and Women's Studies)  who received the CLA Exemplar Award and the Henry Albert Public Service Award,  and will be honored at spring commencement! 

February 2016

  • Two of our faculty were recently approved for tenure - Congratulations to Dr. Chris Morgan and Dr. Geoff Smith - Great news!
  • Congratulations to Dr. Sarah Cowie for receiving a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and an associated grant from the Department of Defense Army Research Office.  The grant will fund collaborative archaeology projects with American Indian communities.

January 2016

  • Dr. Erin Stiles, who is on sabbatical, will be a Visiting Fellow at the Van Vollenhoven Institute of Law, Leiden University, Netherlands this semester.
  • Dr. Deborah Boehm, also on sabbatical, will spend spring semester as a Residential Scholar at the University of Arizona, researching immigration detention.  Also, congratulations to Dr. Boehm on her new book, Returned: Going and Coming in an Age of Deportation, forthcoming from University of California Press!

December 2015

  • Dr. Richard Scott will be on sabbatical leave for the 2016-2017 academic year, and will conduct research in Australia.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Scott whose new book has just been published!  The edited volume, co-edited with Joel D. Irish, is entitled A Companion to Dental Anthropology.  It is published with Wiley-Blackwell.  Dr. Scott was also one of four featured speakers at the Chico Forensic Science Conference in November.  His talk was on a new method for assessing ancestry through tooth crown and root traits.
  • Congratulations to PhD student Christopher Maier, winner of a Love of Learning Award from Phi Kappa Phi!

November 2015

  • Dr. Dennis O'Rourke (University of Utah) will be on campus Tuesday, November 10th to give a free lecture at 7 pm (Davidson Math and Science Center, Room 110).  The topic is how ancient DNA can reveal clues about prehistoric population migrations, including those undertaken by the earliest Americans.  Please join us for what promises to be another great event!

October 2015

  • Congratulations to Dr. Erin Stiles whose new book has just been published!  The edited volume, co-edited with Katrina Daly Thompson, is entitled Gendered Lives in the Western Indian Ocean: Islam, Marriage, and Sexuality on the Swahili Coast.  It is published with Ohio University Press.
  • Forensic anthropologist Dr. Doug Owsley (Smithsonian Institute) visited our department to give a public lecture entitled "Secrets of Kennewick Man."  In addition, Dr. Owsley generously gave classroom talks and engaged in several meet-and-greats with students and faculty.  This event was a jointly sponsored by the department's undergraduate (Anthropology Club) and graduate student (BOASgrad) organizations. 
  • Cultural anthropologist Dr. David Price (St. Martin's University), visited to give a public talk entitled "Creeping Backflow: Questioning Whether Post-9-11 Military-Intelligence Academic Links Will Improve or Narrow Our Knowledge."  Dr. Price also gave a standing-room only brownbag presentation and attended meet-and-greets with UNR's anthropology community.

September 2015

  • We are excited to announce that Dr. Jon Erlandson (University of Oregon) will present the 2015 WCRM Distinguished Lectureship in Archaeology on Monday, October 5th at 7 pm. Dr. Erlandson will be speaking about his research on the Peopling of the Americas. Find out more information on this free Erlandson talk.

April 2015

  • Congratulations to Dr. Chris Morgan for receiving the 2015 Mousel-Feltner Award for Excellence in Research.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Erin Stiles for receiving the Undergraduate Advisor of the Year Award.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Marin Pilloud for becoming a certified as a diplomate by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Debbie Boehm, who will serve as a Resident Scholar at the University of Arizona next spring.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Carolyn White for receiving the 2015 CLA Dean's Award for Teaching.
  • Congratulations to PhD candidate Emily Dale for receiving a Bilinski Fellowship to complete her dissertation.
  • Congratulations to PhD students Chris Maier and Amanda Williams for receiving UNR GSA research grants.
  • Congratulations to PhD student Chris Maier for winning the UNR GSA Outstanding Graduate Student Award.

March 2015

  • Congratulations to the UNR graduate students who presented at the recent Nevada Archaeological Association's (NAA) annual meeting.  Congratulations to Andrew Hoskins for winning the NAA Student Research Grant for his proposal to re-evaluate the age of corner-notched projectile points in the eastern Great Basin.
  • This year's UNR's Lak and Li Lecture in Religious Studies features Dr. Wendy Doniger. The event will be held on Monday, April 21 at 7 pm in Rm 124 of the Knowledge Center. Dr. Doniger's presentation is titled "Blasphemy, Materialism, and Censorship in Ancient and Contemporary India".
  • Dr. Marin Pilloud receives a Professional Development Grant from the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.
  • Dr. Richard Scott awarded a Fulbright Specialist Grant.
  • Dr. Marin Pilloud, Dr. Chris Morgan, and Dr. Carolyn White each awarded Scholarship and Creative Activity grants.
  • On Saturday, March 14th from 4:30-6:00 pm, Dr. Marin Pilloud will give a public lecture at the Wilbur D. May Museum at Rancho San Rafael Park Regional Park titled "Death and Decay: The Art of Forensic Science".  For more information, please click here.
  • Congratulations to graduate student Sarah Rice for successfully defending her thesis!

February 2015

  • Anthropology faculty awarded grants from the UNR Acquisition of Instructional and Research Equipment Program to purchase a portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer and additional archaeological field equipment.

January 2015

  • Congratulations to graduate students Erin Frias for successfully defending her thesis!
  • Dr. Richard Scott and Dr. Simon Poulson (also from UNR) awarded a $119,502 NSF grant for their proposal "Testing Stable Isotopes of Human Dental Calculus as a Nondestructive Proxy for Paleo diet."

December 2014

  • Congratulations to graduate students Traevis Field, Diana Malarchik, and Laura Sechrist for successfully defending their theses this fall!
  • Dr. Debbie Boehm was a granted sabbatical leave for the 2015-2016 academic year to work on her project "Trapped: U.S. Immigration Detention and its Aftermath." Her project consists of two parts: the first is an individual research project entitled "Confined Families" that is based in Nevada. The second is a collaborative project out of Georgetown University in which Dr. Boehm will direct the site visits in the Western United States.
  • Dr. Erin Stiles was granted a sabbatical leave for the 2015-2016 academic year. One portion of her work will focus on religion and marriage in connection to Mormon culture and a second will examine comparative Islamic Law in residence at Leiden University's Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law.
  • Dr. Erin Stiles has received the UNR Academic Undergraduate Advisor Award for her excellent work advising undergraduates in the Anthropology Department. Congratulations Erin!

November 2014

  • Aria Overli, a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology and a graduate writing specialist in the University's Writing Center, was recently selected in the top five for her essay on the history of mesothelioma for the National Mesothelioma Scholarship Essay Contest.

October 2014

  • Amanda Harvey wins honorable mention for her poster presentation at this year's Western Bioarchaeology Group in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • UNR faculty members Chris Morgan, Sarah Cowie, and Geoff Smith as well as students Marielle Black, Anna Camp, Danielle Felling, David Harvey, Dania Jordan, Ashley Long, and Amanda Rankin present papers and/or posters at the 2014 Great Basin Anthropological Conference in Boise, ID.

September 2014

  • Save the Date! The 2014 WCRM Distinguished Lectureship in Archaeology will take place on Monday, October 6th at 7PM in the Nell J. Redfield Foundation Auditorium (DMSC Rm 110).  This year's event will be our biggest and best yet with TWO prominent speakers presenting on the role that archaeology can play in the future: Robert L. Kelly (University of Wyoming) will present "A Prehistoric Future: Searching for Meaning in Human Antiquity" and Kenneth Sassaman (University of Florida) will present "Futures of the Ancients: How Living Through Climate Change 5,000 Years Ago May Help Save Miami from Drowning this Century".  This event is free and open to the public; a reception will follow.
  • Richard Scott (Anthropology) and Simon Poulson (Geological Sciences and Engineering) awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for their collaborative research project "Testing Stable Isotopes of Human Dental Calculus as a Nondestructive Proxy for Paleo diet".
  • Geoff Smith published "A Flaked Stone Crescent from a Stratified, Radiocarbon-Dated Site in the Northern Great Basin" in North American Archaeologist with co-authors Judson Finley (Utah State University), John Fagan (Archaeological Investigations Northwest), and UNR alumni Evan Pellegrini and Donald Pattee.

August 2014

  • Carolyn White attended a Wenner-Gren sponsored workshop in Detroit in August on 'Archaeologies of the Present: Critical Engagements with Post-industrial Urban Transformations'. She presented a paper on the Archaeology of Art in the City of Berlin.  See more about the Wenner-Gren workshop.
  • Richard Scott presented two papers - "Ridges, Roots, Wrinkles, and Ranks: the Origin and Evolution of the Arizona State University Dental Anthropology System" and "Christy G. Turner II: The Life and Times of a Roving Dental Anthropologist" - at the 16th International Symposium on Dental Morphology in Zagreb, Croatia, as well as a guest lecture titled "Dental Anthropology: Scope and Applications" to the European Dental Student Association in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

May 2014

  • Congratulations to Amanda Rankin (Student Research Grant Winner), Danielle Felling (Best Student Paper), and all of the other UNR Anthropology students who recently attended and presented at the Nevada Anthropological Conference in Minden.

April 2014

March 2014

  • Dr. Barbara Voss visit to be rescheduled at a later date due to illness.  Stay tuned.
  • Ph.D. candidate Laura Wilhelm awarded a Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowship from UNR to support the completion of her dissertation.
  • On March 27th, UNR Anthropology welcomes Dr. Katrina Daly (University of Wisconsin, Madison).  She will give a public presentation at 7 PM in DSMC Room 101 titled "Strategies for Taming a Swahili Husband: Zanzibari Women's Talk about Love in Islamic Marriages".

February 2014

  • Several UNR Anthropology graduate students will be participating in the upcoming College of Liberal Arts Graduate Student Symposium, to be held February 21-22 on the UNR campus.  On Saturday, February 22, Elizabeth Bennett, Laura Sechrist, Katee Withee, Ashlee Younie, and Emily Dale will be featured in a session titled "Archaeology in Nevada" from 11:15AM to 12:45 PM in the MIKC Auditorium.  Later that same day from 3:00 to 5:00 PM in the MIKC Graduate Reading Room, Madalina Alama, Steven Holm, and Laura Wilhelm will be featured in a session titled "An Interdisciplinary Conversation on the Uses, Misuses, and Relevance of 'Identity'".

January 2014

  • Dr. Debbie Boehm begins her term as a Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Law and Society at UC Berkeley.
  • Dr. Sarah Cowie appointed to the American Anthropological Association's Taskforce on Cultural Heritage.
  • UNR alumna Emily Middleton publishes the results of her thesis research on Paleoindian rock art in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
  • Julie Goodman, Kelly Heim, Ellie Maniery, Evan Pellegrini, Amanda Rankin, Sarah Rice, Roman Schomberg, Ian Springer, and Cauder Tempel receive UNR Graduate School Scholarships.

Previous News