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Department of Anthropology

Graduate Alumni

Graduates of the Anthropology Program have pursued their passions. Some have found jobs in industries directly pertaining to their training, while others have found positions in academic institutions.

Featured Alumni

Seo Yeon Park

Why did you decide to pursue and MA/PhD in Anthropology?

I was a sociology major in my undergraduate program, and I was lucky enough to meet some anthropologists back then. My interest slowly evolved into auditing some anthropology classes while working full-time after graduation. I always was curious about other worlds, and/or immigrants/refugees’ lives, and it looked natural for me to pursue anthropology for my advanced degree.

Tell us about your current position.

I am currently working as a Refugee Status Determination (RSD) officer at the Ministry of Justice of South Korean government. I work with about 10 other RSD officers, and we are dealing with appeal cases within refugee applications. The work has been challenging, as it involves writing legal statements and examining each applicant’s refugee claim closely, but it certainly is a great learning experience. I have learned some Arabic and in addition to being exposed to different regions (mainly in conflict) in the world. In the near future, I hope I can find a placement in social integration program for asylum seekers, utilizing more fully of my past experience in assisting refugees/immigrants in America and South Korea.

Why did you choose our program?

First, I was impressed by the wide range of topics/areas/subfields of faculty members. The main focus of the program back then was ‘diaspora,’ and it certainly stood out to me as I was looking for people and programs with a diaspora/migration focus. People in the UofSC program were doing refugee/migration studies, East Asian pop culture and Women's studies - which were all my favorite subjects - and that drew me to the program. Also, the size of the department seemed ideal - not too big or too small. Plus, the state was known for its nicest weather and the city being close to the ocean. I thought it’d be a great benefit to a graduate student who often can feel lonely and stressful ;)

Did you get what you wanted from the graduate program in the Department of Anthropology?

Yes!  Most importantly, I was very lucky to have the most thoughtful and insightful advisor and committee members. They seriously helped me develop and complete the PhD project. My project encompasses analyses of bureaucracy, inter-institutional relationships, refugee/migration movement, and affect/culture. It was far from a traditional anthropological project, but I was always feeling more excited and invigorated about my project after talking to supportive faculty on my committee. Other faculty members were all so great - some of them went out of their way to help support me in my career as well as in my personal life. Overall, it was very friendly and kind environment, one that I was able to work comfortably in. On top of that, I was able to earn a Women's and Gender Studies certificate, and gain expertise in visual anthropology which was always my side interest. After the completion of the program, I found being knowledgeable of and familiar with diverse fields greatly helps in seeking career.

What is your favorite thing about Columbia, SC?

The sun, food, parks and people! If I have to choose one, maybe I should give up tyring. Moving from a big city (Seoul), I appreciated all the natural environment that Columbia provided and the kindness of people I encountered there everyday.

 


Rebecca Shepherd

Why did you decide to do an MA in Anthropology?

I decided to apply to a graduate program in anthropology in 2011. I completed my undergraduate program in anthropology in 2007 and had been working consistently in the field of cultural resource management (CRM) archaeology for four years. At this point in my career I had been employed in both stewardship and research based archaeology, at a state park, and in contract archaeology, as a field technician for various CRM companies. With four years of experience under my belt, I knew that I loved working in archaeology and that this was the career path for me, but I also knew that to continue to advance in this career I would need a graduate degree.

Tell us about your current job:

Currently I am an Archaeologist for the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT). My primary responsibility in this role is to conduct cultural resource surveys in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NRHP) for various transportation projects. I am responsible for all aspects of these surveys including, archival research, both archaeological and architectural history fieldwork, laboratory analysis, and primary authorship of cultural resource reports. Additionally, I manage consultants contracted by SCDOT to preform studies associated with the Section 106 process, review cultural resource reports submitted to SCDOT by consultants, and coordinate with the State Historic Preservation Office and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers.

Prior to accepting the position with the SCDOT, I worked as an Archaeological Field Director for the CRM firm New South Associates from 2015 to 2019. In this role I directed archaeological survey, testing, and data recovery projects and authored reports on behalf of various clients including several Departments of Transportation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, local governments, and private entities.

Why did you choose our program?

Initially the most appealing aspect of Anthropology program at USC was the amount of funding provided. Of all the graduate programs I was accepted into, USC’s was the only one offering guaranteed full funding. Knowing archaeology was not going to be a particularly lucrative career field, completing a graduate program with the least amount of debt possible made the most financial sense. Additionally, an offer of a research assistantship at the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA) was a great opportunity to continue to gain practical career experience while in the program. However, what really cemented my decision to attend USC was the sense of welcoming support I felt when I visited the department and spoke with current students and professors. Everyone I met with was incredibly helpful and encouraging and I got the sense that this was a department that everyone genuinely enjoyed being a part of.

Did you get what you wanted from the graduate program in the Department of Anthropology?

My time in the department was both academically challenging and rewarding. The program offered a good mix of both theoretical and practical classes that helped me hone my skills as a researcher. By the time I completed my degree I felt like I had grown as an archaeologist and a professional. After completing the program in 2014 I returned to working as a field technician in CRM, but was quickly promoted to a crew chief, and then a field director later that year. These promotions would not have happened had I not decided to obtain an MA.

Many aspects of the program’s curriculum have proved to be very useful professionally. The Public Archaeology seminar provided me with a thorough understanding of the federal laws that drive much of archaeology within the US, and in particular have helped me navigate the Section 106 process, which is essential for my job. Additionally, my training in anthropological and archaeological theory has helped with both writing evaluations of NRHP eligibility and with the formulation of research questions that are necessary for Phase II Testing and Phase III data recovery projects.

What is your favorite thing about Columbia, SC?

When I moved here for graduate school I never expected to like Columbia, but it’s been five years since I completed the program and I’m still here and proud to call Columbia home! Columbia has the perfect mix of small town charm and all the amenities of a capital city. Columbia is an up and coming city and there is always something to do or get involved with, from checking out the various cultural and food festivals, catching a movie at the local indie theater, grabbing drinks at one of the local breweries, or exploring the extensive river walk. But my absolute favorite thing is that the town is still small enough that you run into friends and familiar faces wherever you go. There is a strong sense of community here and it is easy to carve out your particular niche within it.

Samantha Yaussy, Ph.D.

Why did you decide to pursue and MA/PhD in Anthropology?

At my undergraduate institution, I got a taste of independent research as a part of my honor's thesis. For me, the research process--collecting and analyzing data, examining and interpreting my findings, and contributing to our collective understanding of life in the past--was an exciting and empowering opportunity. Particularly, I was interested in learning more about the ways in which cultural and biological factors intersected to influence the experiences and health outcomes of individuals in the past. Those sorts of questions--and the holistic approaches used to answer them--are not found in any other discipline.

Tell us about your current position.

I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. My primary role is to teach several of the biological anthropology classes currently offered at the university, including Introduction to Physical Anthropology, Fundamentals of Forensic Anthropology, Human Osteology, Forensic Anthropology, Health and Disease in the Past, and Human Variation.  

Why did you choose our program?

The faculty. The research and teaching interests of the faculty at UofSC coincided with my own research interests and goals. Even more importantly, I felt comfortable discussing my thoughts and ideas with various faculty members when I visited the campus. Those feelings of mutual respect and encouragement were not duplicated in every department I visited, and it became a huge factor in my decision.

Did you get what you wanted from the graduate program in the Department of Anthropology?

Absolutely. The faculty and other graduate students are very generous with their advice and materials, such that you have every opportunity to succeed if you put in the effort. My success is in no small part thanks to the support provided by the faculty of the department and my peers in the program: I was awarded a National Science Foundation fellowship on the first submission because other successful PhD students were willing to share their materials with me; I published multiple times before I completed my PhD because I had an advisor who provided outstanding mentorship over the course of my scholarly development; and I continue to produce innovative research thanks to the guidance and counsel of the members of the Department of Anthropology who were willing to take the time to provide feedback on my ideas.

What is your favorite thing about Columbia, SC?

The eats! There is something for everyone in Columbia, even though it's not a particularly large city. If you like Vietnamese, check out Decker Blvd. If you like proper southern barbecue, you will not go hungry. If you want to take a night on the town and visit a nicer dining establishment, there's no shortage of those venues either. As a graduate student, it was especially important for me to be able to get out of the house and take a mental health break every once in a while. Columbia had plenty of options for foodies and craft beverage connoisseurs alike. 

 

Samantha L. Yaussy, PhD

Department of Anthropology

University of Nevada, Reno

Alumni 

Name
Graduation Year
Dissertation Director(s)
 
 
 Dissertation Title
 
 
 Placement
Andrew Agha
2020
Kelly 
Shaftesbury's Atlantis   
Tiffany Jones 2020
Reynolds
Place-making Through Performance: Spoken Word Poetry and the Reclamation of “Chocolate City”
Assistant Professor, Harper College
Brandy Joy
2020
Kelly 
 
Freedom and Food:  Transformation and Continuities in Foodways among the People who Labored at Stono Plantation, James Island, South Carolina during the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Centuries Project Archaeologist at Versar, Inc., Ft. Bliss, El Paso, Texas
Anais Parada
2020
Feliciano-Santos 
Puruhá Fashion as Aesthetic Sovereignty: Identity Making and Indigenous Dress in Ecuador  
Kristina Zarenko
2020
de la Cova
The Effects of Racialization on Skeletal Manifestations of Disease Among Migrants in Historic St. Louis, Missouri Professor of Anatomy with the anatomical sciences faculty at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) Louisiana Campus - located on the campus of Louisiana University Monroe (ULM)
Meagan Conway
2019
Kelly & Cobb
A Choice to Engage: Selective Marginality and Dynamic Households on the 18th-19th Century Irish Coast Instructor, UofSC Sumter
Samantha Lee Yaussy
2019
DeWitte
The Intersections of Health and Wealth: Socioeconomic Status, Frailty, and Mortality in Industrial England Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Nevada, Reno
Brianna Farber
2018
Reynolds
Ground Truthing: The Politics and Culture of Soil and Water Conservation in Iowa Agriculture AAAS Fellowship DOE Biofuel Division
Katherine Goldberg
2018
Kelly
The Diabolical Traffic: Archaeological Explorations of the Nineteenth Century Slave Trade in Costal Guinea Non-Tenure Track Faculty, UofSC Department of Anthropology
Lisa Briggitte Randle
2018
Kelly
East Branch of the Cooper River, 1780-1820: Panopticism and Mobility Coastal Conservation League, Berkeley Co. Project Manager
Brittany S. Walter
2017
DeWitte
Paleodemographic and Biochemical Analysis of Urbanization, Famine, and Mortality Forensic Anthropologist (GS-13), Dept. of Defense POW/MIA (DPAA) in Omaha Nebraska 
Audrey Rachel Dawson
2016
Kelly & Cobb
Sifting Through the Sand: Adaptive Flexibility in The Middle Archaic Occupations of the Sandhills Province of South Carolina  
Seo Yeon Park
2016
Reynolds
The Cultural Politics of Affective Bureaucracy in Service Delivery to North Korean Refugees in South Korea Refugee Status Determination (RSD) Officer in the S. Korean Ministry of Justice
William D. Stevens
2016
Kelly & de la Cova
Enslaved Labor in the Gang and Task Systems: A Case Study in Comparative Bioarchaeology of Commingled Remains Richland County Coroner’s Office, SC
Kevin Fogle
2015
Kelly
Beyond Ideals: Proslavery Reforms on a Nineteenth-Century Cotton Plantation  Research Affiliate,  UofSC
Amy A. O'Brien
2015
K. Simmons
Negotiating the Intersections of Sociality, Identity, Fan Activism and Connectivity within the Twilight Community Director of Clinical Quality Analytics Kindred at Home
Jeremy T. VanderKnyff
2015
D. Simmons
Framing Death: Politics, Meaning, and Strategic Communication of Organ Donation Messages in South Carolina Associate VP, Program Value at Proactive MD in Greenville, SC
Diane Wallman
2014
Kelly
Negotiating the Plantation Structure: An Archaeological Investigation of Slavery, Subsistence and Daily Practice at Habitation Crève Coeur, Martinique, ca. 1760-1890 Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology University of South Florida
Kimberly K. Cavanagh
2013
K. Simmons
Shifting Landscapes: The Social and Economic Development of Aqaba, Jordan Associate Professor Anthropology at University of South Carolina-Beaufort under the Department of Social Sciences
Sasikumar Balasundaram
2012
Kingsolver
“Freedom From Camps”: Housing and Power in the Experience of Sri Lankan Long-Term Refugees in India Assistant Professor Department of Anthropology Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
Christy Kollath-Cattano
2012
Gibson & Leatherman
Reinterpreting Reproduction: An Ethnography Discourses, Ideologies and Practices among Midwifery Participants in South Carolina Assistant Professor of Public Health College of Charleston
Jakob Crockett
2011
Kelly
“A Democracy of Goods”: An Archaeology of Commodity Landscapes in Columbia, South Carolina 1870-1930 Federal Emergency Management Agency - Environmental and Historic Preservation Archaeologist / Historic Preservation Specialist
Romel Saulog Lacson
2011
D. Simmons
Photovoice with Persons Affected by Tuberculosis Intervening in the Bio-Political Spheres of Communicability: A Study of the Circulation of Power Behavioral Scientist Division of Global HIV and Tuberculosis, Center for Global Health, CDC
Kristen E. G. Hudgins
2010
Kingsolver &
D. Simmons
Candles, Co-Ops and Credit Funds: Exploring the Matrix of Grassroots Development Strategies in a Dominican Batey Social Science Analyst in the Office of Performance and Evaluation at the Administration for Community Living
Steven Donald Smith
2010
Kelly
Archaeological Perspectives on Partisan Communities: Francis Marion at Snow’s Island in History, Landscape, and Memory Research Professor, Director of SCIAA at UofSC
Name
Graduation Year
Thesis Director
 
Thesis Title
 
Placement
Amber Teresa Domingue
2019
Feliciano-Santos
¡Tú No Eres Fácil!: Styling Black Hair and Language in a Dominican Beauty Salon PhD student, Department of Anthropology at UofSC
Abigail Geedy
2019
King  & Wagner
Creating a Place: Mulberry Site (38KE12) Interpretation and Exhibition  
Tiffany Nicole Peacock
2019
K. Simmons
African American Hair and Beauty: Examining Afrocentricity and Identity Through the Reemergence and Expression of Natural Hair in the 21st Century MA/PhD student at Florida International
Arya Novinbakht
2018
Barker & Lewis
The Walking Debt: Surviving an Outbreak of Predatory Lending  
Madeline M. Atwell
2017
De la Cova
Embodied Madness: Contextualizing Biological Stress Among 19th and 20th-Century Institutionalized Euro-American Women PhD student, Department of Anthropology at UofSC
Agatha Kenda Baluh
2017
Casey
The Middle Stone Age in West Africa: Lithics from the Birimi Site in Northern Ghana  
Juliane Bilotta
2017
Feliciano-Santos & Reynolds
A Critical Analysis of the Effects of Language Policy, Curriculum, and Assessment on Arabic L1 Student Performance in an ESL 1 Classroom PhD student, Education Rutgers University
Jessica Cooper
2017
Casey
A Functional Analysis of Yadkin Bifaces in the Middle Savannah River Valley PhD student, Department of Anthropology at UofSC
Joseph E. Wilkinson
2017
Casey
Modeling Early Archaic Mobility and Subsistence: Evaluating Resource Risk Across the South Carolina Landscape  
Sarah Haughenbury
2016
Weik
A Spectacle of the Odd: Construting Otherness in the Odditoriums of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Academic Advisor, University of Arkansas at Monticello
Brandy Joy
2016
Kelly & Cobb
A Study of the Material Diversity in the Carolina Colony: Silver Bluff, Yaughan, Curriboo, and Middleburg Plantations Graduated with a PhD at UofSC
Samantha Lee Yaussy
2015
DeWitte
Frailty, Famine, and Plague: Crisis Mortality in Medieval London Graduated with a PhD at UofSC
Amy M. Goldstein
2014
Cobb & King
Embodying Ritual Performance: An Iconographic Analysis of Burial 38 at the Etowah Site  
Marybeth Harte
2014
Cobb
Anthropogenic Ecological Impacts of 17th and 18th Century Chickasaw Through a Study of Faunal Remains  
Shan Huang
2014
Moskowitz
Independence at Large: Contemporary China’s Alternative Music Scenes and the Cultural Practices of Post-Socialist Urban Youth PhD student, Department of Anthropology Stanford University
Rebecca E. Sheperd
2014
Cobb & Smith
Going up the Country: A Comparison of Elite Ceramic Consumption Patterns in Charleston and the Carolina Frontier Archaeologist for the South Carolina Department of Transportation
Brianna Dyan Farber
2013
Gibson & D. Simmons
Ruminating on Ruminants: Goats and the People Who Raise Them in South Carolina Graduated with a PhD at UofSC
James Andrew Stewart
2013
Cobb
Congeries in the Backcountry  
Stacey Renae Whitacre
2013
Cobb
An Analysis of Lead Shot from Fort Motte, 2004-2012: Assessing Combat Behavior in Terms of Agency  
Michael Frederic Young
2013
Reynolds & Gibson
‘Open’ for Collective Business: The Governance of Contemporary Economic Cooperatives in a Corporate Q’eqchi’ Maya Town Director of Capacity Building PASOs/Arnold School of Public Health UofSC
Walter Allen Clifford IV
2012
Wagner
Paleoethnobotanical Analysis of 38Bk1633 Archaeologist, Survey Director, SCIAA, Savannah River Archaeological Research Program
Brooke Elizabeth Kenline
2012
Kelly
Capitalist Entrepreneurs and Industrial Slavery in the Rural Antebellum South  
Micah Kristin Sorum
2012
Kingsolver
Back from Costa Rica: A Perspective on Migration from Nicaraguan Sending Communities Abt Associates Service Delivery - Analyst International Development
Jessica Bichler
2011
Gibson
Using Media-Based Representations of Reproductive Health Choices to Discuss the Real and Ideal Experiences of Latina Women  
Martha Brooke Brilliant
2011
Kelly
Colonoware, Creolization, and Interactions Between African Americans and Native Americans During the Colonial Period in the South Carolina Lowcountry  
Helena Lopez Ferguson
2011
Kelly
Reconnecting the Physical and Cultural Landscapes at the Hampton-Preston Mansion in Columbia, South Carolina Anthropology Instructor Social & Behavioral Sciences Midlands Technical College
Maggie Marie Needham
2011
Cobb
Cultural Pluralism, Migration and Ceramics: Reconsidering an Eighteenth Century Yuchi Settlement on the Savannah River (9Ef169)  
James Allan Nyman
2011
Cobb
The Ashley Series as Native American Persistence: Lowcountry Indians in the Period of European Expansion  
Seo Yeon Park
2011
Reynolds
Cultural Politics of South Korean NGOs in Neoliberal Era Graduated with a PhD at UofSC
Emma Vail Waugh
2011
Moskowitz
Balancing Flavors, Constructing Identities, and Building a Community: Rethinking Diaspora and Migration Through the Foodways of a Thai Community in Washington, D. C.  
Erika Heimbrook Shofner
2010
Casey
That Belongs in a Museum: Archaeology and Audiences  
Craig Spurrier
2010
Kingsolver
Cassava, Coconut and Curry: Food and National Identity in Post-Colonial Fiji  
Sean Garett Taylor
2010
Casey
Investigation of the Effects of Timber Harvest on Artifact Locations Manager of the Stationary Source Compliance Program, Georgia Environmental Protection Division
Jeremy Allen Vanier
2010
Wagner
A Ceramic Vessel Function Analysis and Foodways Approach to the Late Woodland/Mississippian Interface in Kershaw County, South Carolina  
Kristen Wolf
2010
D. Simmons
The Impetus for Transitions from Relief to Development in Post-Conflict Environments: Food Security, Land Access, and Livelihood Reconstruction Among the Acholi of Northern Uganda  
Sasikumar Balasundaram
2009
Kingsolver
The Structural Violence of Sterilization: Politics of Sterilization in the Plantation Tamil Communities of Sri Lanka Graduated with a PhD at UofSC
Elizabeth Bell
2009
Cahue
Maize Consumption in Pre-Tarascan Michoacán: Dental Caries in Two Classic Period Sites in Guayangreo Valley  
David Edward Rigtrup
2009
Casey
A Techno-Functional Analysis of Early Archaic Lithic Production Debris: Assessing Technological Practice and Settlement in the Middle Savannah River Valley of South Carolina  
Christopher Louis Thornock
2009
Wagner
 An Analysis of Architecture and Power in the Ceremonial Centers of the South Appalachian Mississippian Built Environment Archaeologist, U.S. Forest Service

 

 

 

 

 


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