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Graduate Students|UW Anthropology

Les Brown

Leslie Brown - Doctoral Student (Bioarchaeology)

Research Interests: My main research interest is the stable isotope analysis of human and faunal remains to determine potential geographic mobility and possible diet. Through combining the data produced through these stable isotope studies with information from osteological and archaeological analyses, I hope to develop a more thorough understanding of the lives of the individuals in the populations being studied.  Recently I have been working with Late Horizon and Early Contact period populations from the central coast of Peru as well as populations from a 19th-century Oregon Trail outpost site in Wyoming. In addition to this research, I have also worked as a bioarchaeologist in central Mexico and participated in CRM work in both Georgia and Wyoming.

Rachael Budowle - Doctoral Student (Cultural Anthropology)

Research Interests: I participate on the multi-university Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies (BANR) project, which aims to explore the use of beetle-killed and other forest biomass as a bioenergy feedstock and provide rigorous scientific underpinnings to support a sustainable regional renewable energy industry. My related dissertation research examines how historical discourses have shaped perceptions of Rocky Mountain forests over time and how actors with various relationships to these forests engage in forest and related labor practices amidst changing ecological, institutional, and economic conditions. Additionally, I teach sustainability courses in the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources and serve on the UW Campus Sustainability Committee. I received my B.S. in Psychology from Virginia Tech and my M.S. in Animals & Public Policy from Tufts University. I have several years of professional sustainability experience as an environmental educator and farmhand, recycling coordinator, instructor at Virginia Tech and UW, and sustainability coordinator at Virginia Tech and MIT.

Cannon L

Laura Cannon - Masters Student (Archaeology)

Research Interests: I received my undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of Tennessee. My research interests include the analysis of lithic debitage and stone tools, prehistoric human use of high altitude, climate change effects on human behavior, and the effects of climate change impacts on cultural resources. For my master's thesis, I am analyzing lithic debitage to understand hunter gatherer mobility strategies at Paint Rock V, a rock shelter site on the western slopes of the Bighorn Mountains located in Paint Rock Canyon in Bighorn County, Wyoming.

Ragan Driver


Ragan Driver - Masters Student (Biological Anthropology)

Research Interests: Modern Human Origins, skeletal morphology, energetics of bipedal locomotion (especially running), biocultural relationships, zooarchaeology, Northwestern Plains archaeology.


Zach Garhart - Masters Student (Archaeology)

Research Interests:

My research is focused on prehistoric hunter-gatherer archaeology in the Northwest Plains and Rocky Mountains.  I am especially interested in the prehistoric presence in the Bighorn Mountains and southeast Wyoming.  I direct the majority of my attention to subsistence strategies, lithic technology, human adaptation, experimental archaeology, and curatorial practices.  I have conducted field work in Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana.

Justin Garrison

Justin Garrison - Masters Student (Cultural Anthropology)

Research interests: I am interested in cultural tourism in Japan, post-migration ethnicity, and cultural theory.


Allison Grunwald -Doctoral Student(Archaeology)

Research interests: prehistoric archaeology, paleopathology, zooarchaeology, human-animal relations, and ritual zooarchaeology. Other interests include Indo-European studies, British archaeology, developmental osteology and symbolism. So far I've done field work and lab analysis in New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, England and Romani


Brigid Grund- Doctoral Student (Archaeology)

Research interests: My research interests include applications of GIS in archaeology and anthropology, hunter-gatherer subsistence, soil microbiology in archaeological contexts, using archaeological information to help solve contemporary world problems, and the impact of archaeology on cultural memory. I'm also a fieldwork junkie, and I have worked on academic projects, in private CRM, for the Forest Service, and as a volunteer since I was in high school.


James Gunn- Masters Student (Biological Anthropology)

Research interests: My interests are in education and medical anthropology.  My current research is in methods of teaching the four field approach to students, and the multiplicity of anthropologies..


David Howe - Masters Student (Archaeology)

Research Interests: My name is David Ian Howe, and I received my B.A. in anthropology at the University of Tennessee: Knoxville. My central interests in anthropology are the archaeology and behavioral ecology of human hunter-gatherers, as well as the archaeology of prehistoric cultures. However, my leading interests within the subject of anthropology deal with the domestication of the dog, and the ecological relationship between dogs and humans. I also have a strong interest in projectile weaponry and experimental archaeology. I have no specified region, however my fieldwork background has been mostly based in the Southeast - specifically at the Topper Site in SC and the Cumberland River in Nashville, TN.


Ken Humphrey- Doctoral Student (Archaeology)

Research interests: My research interest is using existing data collected for cultural resource management archaeology to address research questions on prehistoric economies. I am further interested in adapting archaeological methodology used by the CRM community to efficiently integrate new data into current academic research. My entire career has been in cultural resources management (CRM) and I am currently the cultural resources program manager for the Wyoming Army National Guard.


Connor Johnen - Masters Student (Archaeology)

Research Interests: My name is Connor Johnen and I am a Masters student at the University of Wyoming. I did my undergraduate degree at Colorado State University. My interests are in prehistoric site location, GIS, stone tool technology, patterns in the archaeological record, mountain environments and how humans utilized these mountain environments to name a few. I have done field work in Colorado and Wyoming primarily and have done fieldwork in both academic/research-based projects as well as in a CRM context. I look forward to graduating in the spring of 2016 and working before deciding whether to further my career in academia.




Madeline Mackie- Doctoral Student (Archaeology)

Research Interests:I am originally from Southern California and received by Bachelor’s from University of California, Davis.  I have participated in fieldwork in California, Nevada, and Wyoming and have worked for both CRM and the US Forest Service.  My research interests include North American hunter-gatherers, quantitative methods, three-dimensional photogrammetry, and locating children in the prehistoric record.



Danielle Messing- Masters Student (Biological Anthropology)

Research interests: I am interested in using zooarchaeology to aid public wildlife management decisions and better understand how we have interacted with animal species in the past (and hopefully how we can best interact with them in the future). My thesis involves using critical discourse analysis to examine wolf ecology and developments in conservation in the Yellowstone and Bridger-Teton area over the last several decades. I am double majoring in Environment and Natural Resources and am also interested in applying GIS in archaeological contexts. I have been involved with historical archaeology in Missouri related to the Boone family, applied marine zooarchaeology in Jamaica, and academic as well as CRM archaeology in Wyoming.

Kevin Mieras

Kevin Mieras- Masters Student (Archaeology)

Research interests: My research interests include GIS predictive modeling of prehistoric archaeological sites, primarily high altitude paleoindian sites in the Rocky Mountain west. 


Christopher Nicholson-Doctoral Student (Archaeology)

Research Interest: My main research interests in anthropology are related to using different computational and GIS models of climate and the environment to examine human behaviors, specifically with an evolutionary ecology perspective.  I am interested in how climatological variables influence hunter-gatherer mobility and foraging patterns and the proximate mechanisms governing these behaviors.  Additionally, I have done zooarchaeological research at bison sites on the Great Plains, ethnoarchaeological work in South America, Upper Paleolithic studies in Germany, and am currently involved in projects in the southern Caucuses of Armenia and the Four Corners area of the American Southwest.


Spencer Pelton- Doctoral Student (Archaeology)

Research interests: I received my B.S. in anthropology from Middle TN State University and my M.A. in anthropology from Colorado State University.  I have conducted archaeological survey and excavation in the eastern woodlands of the southern Appalachian Mountains, the western Great Basin desert of northern California and Nevada, and the alpine tundra and high plains of Wyoming and Colorado. I am interested in the study of foragers through an evolutionary framework and my research pertains to thermoregulatory adaptation among modern and ancient hominins.


Christopher Rowe- Masters Student (Archaeology)

 After earning my B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I completed an internship with the National Park Service's Midwest Archeological Center (MWAC). I spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons as an Archeological Technician for the U.S. Forest Service on the Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands in Nebraska and South Dakota. This afforded me the opportunity to work in one of my favorite environments, the badlands. I enjoy the challenge of conducting research in such a dynamic environment. I believe that engaging in public outreach is fundamentally important to the field of Archeology and actively seek opportunities to do so.

Paul Santarone

Paul Santarone- Doctoral Student (Archaeology)

Research Interests: Paleoindian (especially Clovis) archaeology, technology, lithics, experimental archaeology, archaeological field method.

shimek r

Rachael Shimek - Doctoral Student (Archaeology)

Research interests: Rachael’s research involves the human-canid relationship in prehistory, focused on how dogs are used as tools in hunter-gatherer societies. She is interested in zooarchaeology, human and non-human skeletal pathology, and mobility and is regionally focused on the Great Plains of North America. She has conducted field work in Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana.


Heidi Vanetten- Masters Student (Archaeology)

Research interests: I received a BA in anthropology with a minor in physical geography from Weber State University. My current research interests involve environmental and landscape archaeology, as well as changes  in land use practices and paleoclimates . I also love prehistoric art, particularly rock art. I hope to use archaeology to solve current land use issues as well as better understand the prehistoric record. My focus lies in the Paleoindian period as well as desert/mountain ecosystems. I have previously excavated in the Great Basin and I'm enjoying learning about the other side of the Rocky Mountains while working on data from the Hell Gap site. I also have experience with optically stimulated luminescence dating.


Ana Vides Porras - Doctoral Student (Cultural Anthropology)

Research interests: My research is focused on relational and social aspects of traditional medicine in Guatemala, specifically the Maya case.  I am interested in understanding the different social layers that interact when patients use traditional healers, including the nuclear and extended family and other members of the community. I am currently exploring the construction of a “therapeutic unit” composed by the healer, the patient and other family members that enhances treatment compliance and efficacy. I have been working for two years with healers, Maya councils and other PhD. students in the reconstruction of Maya traditional healing practices with five Mayan ethno linguistic groups.

Norbert Wasilik- Doctoral Student (Archaeology)

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