Kyle Stich, B.A. '08, at an excavation site.

The Anthropology Department encourages students to pursue research in their areas of interest, and provides a variety of opportunities to work with faculty on research projects. The research initiatives and current endeavors of several of our students are highlighted below. 

Current Student Activities

Jimmy L. Hodum 

This summer I took a position as a youth instructor with the Greencorps Chicago Summer Youth Program (GCYP), which is a job-training summer program for at-risk youth. Participating youth gain skills relating to bicycles (assembly, anatomy, maintenance, advocacy) and horticulture (urban agriculture, urban forestry, landscaping), as well as general life experience. This was my 2nd summer working for GCYP, and this summer I was placed at Paul Robeson H.S. in the Englewood neighborhood. My crew worked on projects including beautification of the school campus with ornamental landscaping and tree care, and working with local community gardens (affiliated with the organization Eat 2 Live, run through Angelic Organics Learning Center).  We also took many bike field trips to places like the Dan Ryan Woods and Washington Park to learn about the urban forest.

Shortly after finishing my work with GCYP, I prepared for a term of service with Americorps, working with Utah State University’s Utah Conservation Corps. Our mission is to help restore the Escalante River and surrounding rivershed to its natural state. In particular, we are tasked with removing the invasive Russian Olive tree (Elaeagnus angustifolia), using chainsaws and an application of herbicides. The term runs a total of 12 weeks, and we live in close proximity to our work site in a camp setting - my particular assignment is in the magnificently beautiful Boulder Creek!

While the work I am performing is not directly related to anthropological contexts, I can say I have been directly impacted and motivated by the studies I undertook as an Anthropology major. In particular, I gained a perspective that is emphatic of our relationship with our surrounding natural environment, and the importance of responsible environmental stewardship. To say the least, I would not be where I am or who I am, without the knowledge and experience I have gained through my studies within NEIU’s Anthropology program. 

Stay Tuned!  Photos of Jimmy's active summer and fall are coming!

Alumni Research and News

Sylvia Orellana (B.A. '12)

Sylvia successfully defended her thesis in spring 2014 and was awarded an M.A. in Anthropology from Northern Illinois University. Her research, based on her fieldwork in Bolivia, focused on the behavior and ecology of tamarin monkeys.

Kelsey Nordine (B.A. '12)

Kesley is a Ph.D. student in Anthropology at Washington University of St. Louis, and is exploring the intersection of medical anthropology, ethnobotany, and archaeology to explore paleoethnomedicine among the Prehispanic Maya.

Gloria Yamauchi (B.A. '12)

Gloria is pursuing a master’s degree in Instructional Design and Technology at Western Illinois University. She plans to use educational computer technologies to assist NGOs in Guatemala.

Amanda Respess (B.A. '12)

Amanda is pursuing a joint Ph.D. in Anthropology and History at the University of Michigan. Her research uses archaeological and archival sources to address developments in medical science that took place along the Maritime Silk Road trade routes. She is especially interested in the cultural developments these materials reveal as a window onto the identities and identity politics, past and present, that emerged from these cultural exchanges.

Walter A. (BJ) Clifford IV (B.A. '10)

Walter is pursuing a Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of South Carolina, where he is studying interactions among and between contact-era Yamasee Indians and European colonists in the southeastern US.

Nicole DeFrancisco (B.A. '09)

Nicole completed her studies, all but dissertation (A.B.D.), in Anthropology at the University of California at Riverside. Her dissertation investigates ways in which local-level plant and water management relates to issues of inter-household power negotiations in rural hinterlands among the ancient Maya.

Sylvia Deskaj (B.A. '08)

Sylvia is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at Michigan State University, where she is conducting her dissertation research on human mobility and social aspects of death and tumulus burial in Bronze Age northern Albania.

Kyle Stich (B.A. '08)

Kyle is completing the M.A. program in Anthropology at Louisiana State University. His thesis examines the relationships between agricultural origins and ceremonial early states on the central Peruvian coast.

Ayla Amadio (B.A. '06)

Ayla completed her studies, (A.B.D.), in the Anthropology department at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. Her dissertation focuses on patterned and pervasive ritual symbolism through the use of animals and animal imagery in domestic and ceremonial contexts of Formative Oaxaca, Mexico.

Abigail Middleton (B.A. '05)

Abigail is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at the University of Missouri, where she is completing her dissertation on the in the development of agricultural communities in and adaptations to the high-risk littoral regions in Late Formative southwestern coastal Ecuador.