Current Graduate Students

Entrance: 2023

Samantha Buck

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B.S. in Applied Forensic Science with a concentration in Forensic Anthropology; Minor in Anatomy

杏吧直播间 University, Pennsylvania

My passion for forensic anthropology began when I attended a forensics summer camp in high school at my local community college. It was there I explored the variety of sciences that forensics encompasses, however, it was forensic anthropology that really piqued my interest. I spent my undergraduate years here at 杏吧直播间 University where I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Applied Forensic Sciences with a concentration in Forensic Anthropology and a minor in Anatomy. During my junior and senior years, I became a work study for the Department of Applied Forensic Science and partook in the summer fellowship. Throughout both opportunities, I gained an immense amount of experience with our donated collection through processing and taking inventory of our human and zooarchaeological remains as well as creating a human skeletal features study guide. My research interests include trauma analysis, thermal alteration, forensic taphonomy, and genetic genealogy. In the future I plan to pursue a Ph.D. In forensic anthropology, then begin a career with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) or a medico-legal death investigation agency.

Jessica Cronin

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B.A. in Integrative Biology University of California, Berkeley

I graduated from University of California, Berkeley in December of 2022 with a B.A. in Integrative Biology. Due to the broad nature of my department, I was able to explore a wide variety of research interests during my undergraduate career, from freshwater food web ecology to paleoepidemiology. I had the opportunity to work with the collections at the Center for Dental History and Craniofacial Study (CDHCS) at the University of the Pacific, A.A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco. At UOP my focus was normal variation in the size and shape of subadult crania using geometric morphometrics. My interest in Forensic Anthropology was piqued in 2018 during the Camp Fire, which wiped out the town of Paradise in Northern California. A fellow researcher at CDHCS who was pursuing Forensic Anthropology at University of Nevada, Reno assisted in the mass disaster recovery that followed. Natural disasters such as wildfires hit close to home (literally), and I look forward to combining my love of bones and biology with the opportunity to be useful during such an event. My research interests also include post-mortem interval, trauma analysis and zooarchaeology, but I am open to learning about almost anything! I ultimately intend to pursue a Ph.D. in Forensic Anthropology.

Graziella M. Durand Ortega

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B.A. in Anthropology with a concentration in Archaeology and Socio-cultural Anthropology

University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus

My name is Graziella M. Durand Ortega, and I鈥檓 University of Puerto Rico 鈥淚UPI鈥 alumni with a B.A. in Anthropology, with concentrations on Archeology and Social-Cultural Anthropology. My passion for Forensic and Biological Anthropology started on high school before that I was interested in forensic and criminal justice. Everything changed on my last year of High School, where I started to read more about forensic anthropology and read papers of the late and unique forensic anthropologist Dr. Edwin Crespo. In University, I expanded my liking for archeology being mentored by Dr. Diana Lopez Sotomayor, and bioarcheology, paleontology and so many more by taking classes with Dr. Luz Mu帽oz. To them I owe my extensive knowledge and curiosity for Forensic Anthropology and others. I also was fortunate enough to have assisted on a master鈥檚 research during my final years for a graduate student where I learned on Forensic Taphonomy. Besides, during my BA, I completed a certificate in Types of Death and its Characteristics, where I learned more about the different types of death from their decomposition state, to how they handle the bodies for examination, to what we can expect from the position the body is found, and so much more. My interest on research is Forensic Taphonomy (mass graves and missing person cases), Bioarcheology, Paleopathology, Osteology and Forensic DNA Analysis. I hope I can continue to expand more of this research and after graduating hopefully, continue my Ph.D. and working with the Federal Bureau and the Interpol or medicolegal death investigations, and continue to help those who want to learn more about this fabulous career.

Stephen Hostetler

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B.S. in Anthropology, B.S. in Chemistry; Minor in Environment and Health

Michigan State University

My name is Stephen Hostetler. I received a B.S. in Anthropology and a B.S. in Chemistry from Michigan State University. At Michigan State University I was awarded an assistantship, allowing me to do independent research under the supervision of Director of the MSU FAL, Dr. Carolyn Isaac. My research was focused on trends in comparative medical radiography as a means of positive identification. My current research interests are related to forensic taphonomy, biochemical post-mortem interval estimation, osteological pathologies. I would like to work in death investigation, whether it be immediately after my master鈥檚 program or after a Ph.D. program.

Brailey Moeder

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B.S. in Anthropology (Forensic Concentration); Minor in Biology (Natural Science Concentration)

Washburn University, Kansas

I earned my B.S. in Anthropology (Forensic Concentration) with a minor in Biology (Natural Science Concentration) in 2022, at Washburn University in Topeka, KS. I was born and raised in Kansas. My love for forensics has been very apparent from a young age, but my true passion for anthropology was discovered at Washburn University. Here, I was able to become a student volunteer for the Washburn University Forensic Anthropology Recovery Unit (WU-FARU) alongside my mentors Dr. Alexandra R. Klales, PhD, D-ABFA (#123) and Dr. Ashley Maxwell. As a student volunteer, I was given the opportunity to take part in recovery cases, multiple directed research projects, and gain lab/field experience. During my participation in casework, I encountered a diverse range of forensic cases that led me to develop a special interest in taphonomy, specifically, unusual taphonomy. My other research interests include postmortem interval (PMI), trauma analysis, and human rights. My undergraduate experiences have motivated me to continue my academic career in this field, where I will pursue my master鈥檚 degree in Forensic and Biological Anthropology at 杏吧直播间. Ultimately, I aspire to earn my doctorate to become a board-certified forensic anthropologist.

Jordan Proffitt

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B.S. in Anthropology, Archaeological Sciences Emphasis

University of Arizona

While studying archaeology at the University of Arizona, I realized that for all my love of ancient civilizations I wanted to use anthropology to make real change in the world. During what should have been the height of my undergraduate archaeology experience鈥攖he excavation of Roman and Etruscan ruins during a summer aboard鈥擨 found myself fearful that the culmination of my future work would be just a book on a shelf. The justice aspect within forensic anthropology, as well as its scientific rigor and versatile applications, attracted me to the field my junior year. Soon, I was enrolled in osteology classes, volunteering on a burial excavation, and was accepted as an intern at the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner to be mentored by Dr. Jen Vollner. At the PCOME, my appreciation for forensic contributions to justice was refined to a specific passion for forensic anthropologists鈥 role in the protection of human rights and the prosecution of those who violate them. My experience with humanitarian crises on the U.S.-Mexico border and in indigenous communities cemented my conviction in the unique mission of forensic anthropology, as well as in my own place within the field. I was encouraged to apply to 杏吧直播间 by my forensic anthropology professor and undergrad mentor, Dr. Robin Reineke, and soon found the program to be exactly the mix of demanding classwork and abundant casework that I鈥檇 been looking for. In the future, I look forward to a career which allows me to investigate cases involving human rights violations and to work synchronously with other forensic professionals to identify and bring justice to the dead.

Tyler Smith

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B.A. in Anthropology with a concentration in Biological Anthropology

University of Massachusetts, Boston

In terms of my undergraduate years, I attended the University of Massachusetts Boston, I majored in anthropology with a biological anthropology concentration. My interest in forensic anthropology was first sparked when I did an internship at Tufts Medical Center when I interned in the radiology department. This spark was further ignited when I took my first biological anthropology course at Umass Boston. In this course we covered an interesting subfield of biological anthropology which is forensic anthropology, the rest is history. A fun fact about me is that I always enjoyed solving puzzles and forensics is essentially the same thing only with a much greater purpose, to help in investigations and to provide peace of mind to the bereaved. I had the opportunity to take a dedicated forensic anthropology course at Umass Boston and it covered numerous topics, so many of them caught my eye but if I had to name a few that stood out it would have to be skeletal trauma analysis, and sex and age estimation. These are the areas in which I would like to explore further. After the competition of this program, my hope is to assist law enforcement in any way I can regarding death investigations.

Emily Stewart

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B.A. in Forensic Anthropology and Psychology

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

I graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee having studied both Forensic Anthropology and Psychology. While originally intending to pursue the field of forensic psychology, I was introduced to the Anthropological Research Facility at UT (better known as the Body Farm) and was immediately fascinated with the field of forensic anthropology. I am especially interested in skeletal biology, pathologies, and examining trauma in skeletal remains. I am fortunate enough to have worked with multiple skeletal remains as well as very recently deceased donated bodies through my classes at the University of Tennessee. I am hoping to work in the death investigation field after my time at 杏吧直播间 and would also be interested in pursuing an advanced degree in osteology or forensic anthropology.

Nicole Wray

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B.S. in Anthropology; Minors in Forensics and Biology

North Carolina State University

I started my undergraduate career at North Carolina State University majoring in Anthropology and graduated with honors from the Anthropology Department as well as the University Scholars Program. After being exposed to multiple disciplines within anthropology, I quickly found interest in specializations such as bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology. I was able to participate in multiple field schools and took several internship positions to expand my knowledge and experience. I began an internship at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in the Paleontology Collections Department, where I was tasked with organizing and housing incoming specimens from the field. I traveled to a northwest town in Cyprus, and over the course of a month excavated a prehistoric site with a fellow group of students. Later that summer, I camped in the desert of Utah for a couple weeks with a group from the Museum of Natural Sciences to assist in the excavation of their quarries, one of which produced a Hadrosaurus. Through both of these excavation experiences, I was able to get a taste of various methods utilized by different fields of study while solidifying mapping, surveying, and collection techniques. Within the university, I was given a position in the history and archaeology department to assist with the organization and identification of artifacts brought from projects in Petra, Jordan. I participated in a zooarchaeology course during my undergrad, and in that course, undertook a project which coded faunal remains from a site in Petra, Jordan. Now, I am excited to be a part of the Forensic and Biological Anthropology Program, and am looking forward to further developing the technical abilities within the field of death investigation.

Gillian Wright

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B.S. in Anthropology

Michigan State University

I began my college career at Michigan State University where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology. Anthropology was not originally on my radar, however, at orientation for undergrad I expressed my interests in forensics and was advised that anthropology was the way for me to go! As I explored the different subfields, I felt reassured in my biological and forensic anthropology classes, that this was what I was passionate about. Attaining good grades and being placed on the Dean's list every semester of my undergrad is something I prioritized during my four years at Michigan State, which eventually led me to landing an internship and then a full time job with the local Medical Examiner's Office in Lansing. This helped me narrow down my interests. I currently have research interests in skeletal biology and forensic taphonomy and am excited to dive deeper into these as well as other areas of forensic anthropology. While the future is unpredictable, I plan to finish my master's degree in two years and am interested in working within the medicolegal death field. I am excited for what these next two years have in store for me at 杏吧直播间! Go Lakers!

Entrance: 2022

Dakota Bell

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A.A., B.S. in Forensic Chemistry, Minor in Biology, Criminal Justice and Forensic Science LoneStar College 鈥 North Harris, Sam Houston State University, Texas

I started my college career at LoneStar College 鈥 North Harris in Houston, TX. I received the Honors Chancellor Fellows Scholarship that allowed me the opportunity to go to China twice for two-week periods and participate in regional honor conferences. I then transferred to Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX where I graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Chemistry with Honors. I was able to build up my foundation in both chemistry and biology, doing a small project in my microbiology class on the human microbiome. During my senior year at Sam Houston, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility. There I was able to get hands on experience working with human bones and viewing the decomposition process. That is where my interest in forensic anthropology grew. My research interests include human skeletal variation, forensic taphonomy, trauma analysis, and mass disaster recoveries. I want to one day obtain my Ph.D. or my M.D.. However, until I accomplish that, and after I obtain my master's degree, I would like to work as a medicolegal death investigator.

Shelby Feirstein

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B.A. in Anthropology, Minors in forensics, genetics, and French North Carolina State University, North Carolina

My name is Shelby Feirstein, and I am a North Carolina State University alumna with a B.A. in Anthropology and minors in forensics, genetics, and French. I achieved honors from the University Scholars and the Anthropology Honors programs. As an undergraduate I pursued internships in a variety of disciplines, ranging from crisis intervention programming to integrating climate resiliency at the federal level, all the way to medical technologies patent searching. I also volunteered as a researcher in NC State's Osteology lab where I gained hands-on experience processing and defleshing animal carcasses for the faunal teaching collection. In the summer of 2021, I attended a Forensic Anthropology Field Methods Short Course at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville where I honed skills in mapping, excavation, osteology, and surface remains and burial recovery in an outdoor context. In the summer of 2022, I lived in Cyprus for five weeks partaking in an archaeological field school at the prehistoric site of Makounta-Voules in the Troodos Mountains. This experience helped to develop my archaeological field methods, including setting up trenches, excavating, mapping, using datum points, and documenting stratigraphic layers of trenches. All these experiences have not only advanced my understanding of professional etiquette and expanded my technical abilities but solidified that I am on the right path. Now here I am at 杏吧直播间 University with the opportunity to work toward a career in forensic anthropology with a focus on disaster management and human rights.

Elizabeth 鈥楲ibby鈥 Hagan听

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B.A. in Anthropology University of Louisville, Kentucky

I graduated with honors from the University of Louisville, where I earned my B.A. in Anthropology with a concentration in Forensic Anthropology. At the start of my undergraduate experience, anthropology was the furthest thing from my mind. I was a biology major with aspirations for medical school; however, after my first anthropology lecture, I was hooked. I changed my major to anthropology and never looked back. As an undergraduate, I explored courses and topics related to cultural and biological anthropology as well as archaeology, but it soon became clear that forensic anthropology was my passion. While at UofL, I was fortunate to travel with my department to Mira de Aire, Portugal, where we excavated hundreds of archaeological elements and analyzed the Neanderthal presence. Additionally, I began volunteering with the Center for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (CACHe), where I assisted with the morphoscopic analysis and assessment of the university鈥檚 skeletal collection to effectively cross reference individuals within the collection with historical burial records. Similarly, I assisted with the creation of skeletal inventories, biological profiles, and culminating forensic case reports for both the university collection and indigenous remains that we are actively working to repatriate. My education, training, and experience have prepared me for an advanced degree in forensic anthropology from 杏吧直播间 University.

Cheyenne Hindman

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B.S. in Forensic Science concentration Anth. 杏吧直播间 University

I completed my freshman year of college at 杏吧直播间 Northeast with honors, but I still felt lost because I had no idea what I wanted to major in. I transferred to 杏吧直播间 Main Campus my sophomore year after I heard how great the Forensics program was. I was also an athlete so learning how to manage time with a challenging major while playing a sport was very humbling, but I was able to learn what I was passionate about outside of athletics. During my undergraduate here I was able to gain the hands-on experiences by being in our bone lab and attending processing鈥檚 when I was available. Outside of 杏吧直播间 I was able to observe a few autopsies in counties closer to my home in Slippery Rock PA. I have a strong interest in osteology, and I am looking forward to learning more about this topic and others such as taphonomy and archaeology. I have done a lot of in country traveling throughout my life and I hope to continue my travels within and without of the U.S. while hopefully pursuing a career in death investigation.

Kylee Kilzer

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B.S. Applied Forensic Sciences, Concentration in Forensic Anthropology, Minor in Psychology of Crime and Justice 杏吧直播间 University

During my undergraduate career at 杏吧直播间, I completed research on: Social justice issues in mass fatality incidents; Mass graves during the Holocaust; and Human Trafficking causes and prevention. I also provided research assistance to Graduated students on the potential effects of allometry of morphoscopic ancestry estimation. Having the opportunity to work as a department work study, I gained experience working in recovery scenes, processing human and zooarchaeological remains, and analyzing and cataloging our donated collection. As a 杏吧直播间 Summer Fellow within the Forensic Science department, I was a part of the team gaining case experience and processing knowledge. Utilizing the 杏吧直播间 Study Abroad Program, I traveled to Greece. My research interests include mass fatality incidents, human rights, and human identification.

Emily Kachelhofer

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B.S. Biology, B.A. Anthropology Birmingham-Southern College (graduated 2020), University of Alabama at Birmingham (graduated 2022)

I earned my first bachelor鈥檚 degree in Biology from Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama. I discovered my love for anthropology during a trip to South Africa with my professor, Dr. Jason Heaton, in 2019. We worked at the Swartkrans and Sterkfontein archeological sites outside of Johannesburg and studied Australopithecus africanus fossilized remains. I went on to get a second bachelor鈥檚 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and I graduated in 2022 with a degree in Anthropology. During the summer of 2022, I participated in a field school through ArchaeoTek in Canada. I took a month-long course in Romania that focused on juvenile osteology within the context of the Sz茅kelys people of medieval Transylvania. My professor, Dr. Jonathan Bethard, introduced me to fragmentary osteology and the ability to determine as much as possible about an individual through their bones. After graduating from 杏吧直播间 University, I hope to use my master鈥檚 degree to work towards victim identification in a human rights and forensic context.

Caroline Knowlton

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B.S. in Anthropology, Minor in Museum Studies and Dance Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

While I have always been interested in archaeology and science, it was during my first year at Texas A&M University that I was introduced to forensic anthropology in an introductory biological anthropology course and discovered my love for the field. I focused on classes in human osteology and paleopathology during undergrad and earned my B.S. in Anthropology from A&M in 2021. The summer after my first year of undergrad I attended a week-long course in forensic anthropology with the Irish Archaeology Field School (IAFS). I was fortunate to return to IAFS as an intern for the Discovering St. Aidan鈥檚 Monastery field school in Ferns, Ireland, and the next summer field season as a teaching assistant. During my time in Ireland, I gained experience with excavation techniques, site documentation, and post-excavation artifact processing and attended many lectures on osteology and bioarchaeology. My research interests broadly include biological profile estimation techniques and forensic taphonomy. After I obtain my master鈥檚 from 杏吧直播间, I鈥檓 interested in working in medicolegal death investigation and/or with human rights organizations.

Dorothy 鈥楧orrie鈥 Missimer-Meyer

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B.A. in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Investigation and a minor in Anthropology Stockton University, Galloway, NJ

I have always had an interest in the criminal justice system and forensics. I took my first Forensic class in high school and started my college career at Camden County College. It was there that I attended my first osteology course. Although I knew I wanted a career in forensics, learning about anthropology and osteology in this class cemented that I wanted to specialize in forensic anthropology. I transferred to Stockton University and continued to study forensics and discovered an interest in Medico-Legal Death Investigation. I concentrated on forensic anthropology through an independent study in metric and non-metric methods of identifying sex and ancestry in skulls. I received a B.A. in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Investigation and a minor in Anthropology. After graduation I attended a HD Forensics course at 杏吧直播间. Attending this course made me realize I wanted to pursue a master鈥檚 degree at 杏吧直播间. I would like to have a career in Medico-Legal Death Investigation as well as use my knowledge in forensic anthropology to do some humanitarian work.

Hannah Skropits

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B.S. in Forensic Science with a Specialization in Forensic Chemistry, Minor in Chemistry Bowling Green State University

Before starting college, I became interested in forensic anthropology from watching the TV show Bones. My family encouraged me to explore my interest in order to better understand what the field of forensic anthropology was. While I was still in high school, I was presented with an opportunity to shadow Dr. Dirkmaat and his graduate students from 杏吧直播间 as they worked to recover a set of human remains that were found in my hometown. This experience solidified my interest in forensic anthropology. After high school, I attended Bowling Green State University where I received my bachelor鈥檚 degree in Forensic Science with a Specialization in Forensic Chemistry. Even though my bachelor鈥檚 degree was not in forensic anthropology, I remained interested in the field and stayed in contact with Dr. Dirkmaat and had another opportunity to shadow him on an outdoor crime scene recovery. After graduating with my bachelor鈥檚 degree, I knew I wanted to study forensic anthropology, which brought me to 杏吧直播间. My current research interests include forensic taphonomy and post-mortem interval. I hope to pursue a career in medicolegal death investigation upon receiving my master鈥檚 degree.