Check out what some of our alumni are up to!
Ravina Aggarwal has been the Director of the Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai since 2015. She is a sociocultural anthropologist with a doctoral degree from Indiana University in 1994. Dr. Aggarwal taught in the Department of Anthropology for over a decade and also served on the Women’s Studies Program at Smith College, where she became a tenured faculty member. Her research is based on extensive fieldwork in the Himalayas and her areas of study and teaching included political anthropology, peace-building, cultural studies, gender, and development.
Prior to joining the Center, Dr. Aggarwal worked at the Ford Foundation’s New Delhi office from 2007-2015, where she was responsible for strategic planning and grant-making for programs on development, social justice and public policy, with a focus on the fields of education, media and information technology, and arts and culture. As part of her work on bridging the digital divide, she served on the jury of the mBillionth Award, the Manthan Award, and on the Innovation Committee of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. She is one of the two founders of the Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation and its trustee from 1997-2018.
Dr. Aggarwal is the author of several publications, including Beyond Lines of Control: Performing the Border in Ladakh, India (Duke University Press, Seagull Books) and the editor of Into the High Ranges (Penguin India) and Forsaking Paradise (Katha). She has recently completed a mystery novel for young adults set in the Himalayas.
Dr. Sarah Schrader (Ph.D. 2013, Asst Prof Univ Leiden) has a forthcoming book, Activity, Diet and Social Practice: Addressing Everyday Life in Human Skeletal Remains from Springer Press. This book is based on Dr. Schrader’s Ph.D. Research.
Anjali Bhardwaj, PhD, 2014
Dr. Anjali Bhardwaj has been working in the development and public health sector since last 15 years. She was trained in Journalism at the Delhi University (India) and Social Work at the Tata Institute of Social Science (India). She later worked with NGOs on various community health and child protection programs in India. She completed her PhD in cultural anthropology (focus on critical anthropology and public health) in 2014 from Purdue University. Her doctoral dissertation was focused on the postpartum health of women and response of the public health sector in Rajasthan, India. Since 2014, she is based in New Delhi, India, and continues to work towards strengthening public health interventions in India and other Asian countries. She worked as a consultant from 2014-2016 for various organizations including John Snow India, Oxfam India, and The World Bank Group, among others. She is now working at Nutrition International's Asia Regional Office as Technical Advisor and handles portfolios for maternal, child, and adolescent nutrition and health. She provides technical support and quality assurance for programs in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Philippines.
Jonas Ecke, PhD, 2016
Dr. Jonas Ecke is currently Senior Research Manager for the “Tough Choices: Dilemmas and Decisions in Peacemaking“ research project, which is a collaboration between the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence of Kiev Mohyla Academy in Ukraine, swisspeace and the ETH Center for Security Studies in Switzerland, as well as the Center for Peace Mediation in Germany. Since he graduated with his PhD in 2016, Jonas has also applied his anthropological knowledge for humanitarian aid organizations in Turkey and South Sudan.
Stacey Enslow, MS, 2009
Congratulations to Stacey Enslow, MS, 2009, who now has a 4-month-old boy!
Beth Grávalos, MS, 2014
Since Beth Grávalos started the Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), she has maintained her research interests in prehispanic craft production and communities of practice in Peru, but switched focus from textile to ceramic analysis. In 2016-2017 she worked with museum collections at three institutions: The Field Museum, The American Museum of Natural History, and the Ancash Archaeology Museum in Peru (Museo Arqueológico de Ancash). In 2017 she co-directed archaeological excavations at the prehispanic village of Jecosh in the Ancash region of Peru. This project is called the Proyecto de Investigación Arqueológica - Jecosh and is a collaboration with Emily A. Sharp and Denisse Herrera Rondan. Ms. Grávalos has received training in laser ablation - inductively coupled plasma - mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) and petrographic thin-section analysis at the Field Museum. These are the main methods Isheuses in her dissertation. She has maintained a position as a research assistant in the Elemental Analysis Facility at the Field Museum for the last three years. Her work has been generously funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Rust Family Foundation, the American Museum of Natural History, the Field Museum, and UIC. Ms. Grávalos is finalizing her ceramic analyses this year and beginning to write. She plans to defend my dissertation in Spring 2020. Post-PhD, she hopes to continue conducting research in Peru and obtain a job in a university or museum setting.
Francisca Lai, PhD, 2014
Currently, Dr. Francisca Lai is a lecturer at Hong Kong Baptist University, teaching sub-degree programs in division of social sciences. Dr. Lai’s research area is still labor migration, gender and sexuality.
Amy Law, MS, 2010
Amy Law currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her husband works at Google, and she is a stay-at-home mom to two young children. She currently volunteers in her children’s schools -- raising funds for title one schools, raising awareness of early intervention, and bringing art and music back to school are her current challenges.
Peter Peregrine, PhD, 1990
Dr. Peter N. Peregrine is currently Professor of Anthropology and Museum Studies at Lawrence University and Research Associate of the Human Relations Area Files at Yale University. He is well known for his staunch defense of science in anthropology, and for his popular textbook _Anthropology_(with Carol R. Ember and Melvin Ember). Dr. Peregrine has developed a comprehensive data set and methodology for conducting diachronic cross-cultural research. This work produced the Atlas of Cultural Evolutionand the Encyclopedia of Prehistory(with Melvin Ember), and also formed the organizational structure for the Human Relations Area Files eHRAF Archaeology. Much of Dr. Peregrine’s archaeological fieldwork in North America, Syria, and South America has involved the use of geophysical techniques to identify buried archaeological deposits. In 2009 Peregrine started the Lawrence University Archaeological Survey, which focuses on using geophysical techniques to locate unmarked graves in early Wisconsin cemeteries. In 2011 Peregrine was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Christopher Schmidt, PhD, 1998
Since graduating with a PhD in 1998 Dr. Christopher Schmidt has taught at the University of Indianapolis in the Department of Anthropology. Currently he is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Anthropology Graduate Program. His research focuses on dietary reconstruction via dental microwear texture analysis. He has collaborated with top scholars (including Dr. Michele Buzon at Purdue) regarding dental microwear, but also via the analysis of burned human remains. Dr. Schmidt has co-edited two editions of a volume regarding the study of burned bones and is currently co-editing a volume on dental wear. Over the years he has had 34 Masters students and has earned both teaching and research honors at UIndy. Per Dr. Schmidt, “I am indebted to the Purdue Anthropology faculty and staff who guided and challenged me during my graduate tenure there.”
Sarah Soffer, MS, 2012
In May 2014 Sarah Soffer completed her Master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. She joined the Air Force Reserve in December of 2015 and was an Emergency Manager -- taught CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) threats and response, and responded to HAZMAT or other CBRN incidents. She was working for Boeing as well during this time. She married in January 2018, and was commissioned as an active duty Air Force officer in March 2018. She is an Information Operations Officer, which has a psychology or anthropology degree requirement. She is stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, AZ, and her current big project is serving as the Air Force lead for Information Operations for New Horizons in a South American country in 2019. New Horizons is a joint service effort to build partnerships in South and Central America through building schools, building community centers, improving infrastructure, and working with/training local surgeons and doctors. She coordinates all of the messaging for this project and ensures all military personnel, host nation partners, and US government are on the same page about what they are accomplishing while in this South American country and why we are there. She also leads the effort to assess the effects on people's perception, beliefs, and behaviors through surveys, interviews, and participant observation! As per Ms. Soffer, “It is definitely rewarding work, and I love getting to use the skills I developed as an anthropologist and a psychologist.”
Gregory Veeck, MS, 1980
Dr. Gregory Veeck is a professor in the Department of Geography at Western Michigan University specializing in economic geography, agriculture, rural development, and rural environmental and ecological issues. He received his Ph.D. in 1988 from the University of Georgia, and has been in his current position at Western Michigan since 1999. His international research is conducted in Asia – China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan – has been funded by the National Academy of Sciences, American Philosophical Society, and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Rural Development Institute), to name a few. He has been awarded a number of fellowships from organizations including the American Philosophical Society, National Geographic Society, and the Sasakawa Foundation of Japan. Articles based on research projects have been published in the _Annals of the Association of American Geographers_, _The Professional Geographer_, and _Gastronomica_, among others. In addition to research articles, he has written, edited, or co-edited nine books, one of which, _Geography of China_, is in the third edition.
Anthony Webster, BA, 1993
Since graduating with a BA in Anthropology in 1993, Dr. Anthony Weber went on to earn his MA in Anthropology from New Mexico State University in 1997 and his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004. He is currently a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin (with an appointment in Linguistics and an Affiliate Faculty for the Native American and Indigenous Studies Program). Before that, he taught for eight years at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He is by training and inclination— though first inspired by Myrdene Anderson’s class at Purdue—a linguistic anthropologist. His research focuses on the relationship between individuals, languages and cultures as they intersect in contemporary Navajo poetry. One term for this kind of research is ethnopoetic. Dr. Webster has written three books on the topic (Explorations in Navajo Poetry and Poetics, Intimate Grammars: An Ethnography of Navajo Poetry; and The Sounds of Navajo Poetry: A Humanities of Speaking) and co-edited another book (with Paul V. Kroskrity) concerning ethnopoetics (The Legacy of Dell Hymes: Ethnopoetics, Narrative Inequality, and Voice). As per Dr. Webster, “The classes that I took at Purdue with, among others, Myrdene Anderson, the late O. Michael Watson, and the late Jack O. Waddell still inspire me, still give me pause, still provoke me to ask different kinds of questions. For me, anyway, those classes, the conversations begun then, have not yet ended. I have always felt particularly fortunate to have earned my BA at Purdue.”
Richard Weld, III, PhD, 2011
Dr. Richard Weld III is currently the Visitor Services Supervisor, which is part of the External Affairs Division of the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum. He leads a staff of 8 in coordinating the activities of over 1,000 Smithsonian volunteers.
Jordan Carnes, BA, 2016
It’s only been a couple years since Jordan Carnes graduated in May 2016 but Jordan has been working as a 911 dispatcher in Dekalb County, Indiana for two years now. Jordan also joined the Waterloo/Grant Township Volunteer Fire Department this year and will start working on the EMT certification in October.
Heather Frigiola, MS, 2009
Heather Frigiola has been working primarily as an artist and creative writer. She has written two books. The first book was a fanciful work published under a pen name. The second is titled, _A Global Guide to Mythical Creatures_ and will be released by Schiffer Publishing next year. Ms. Frigiola has had had intermittent involvement with academia over the years, and she will be a guest lecturer at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, this winter.