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Anthropology Mentors

Anthropology Skills and Knowledge Mentorship Program

If you have a question about anthropology…. …then just ASK!

Anthropology Skills and Knowledge is a mentorship program where graduate students volunteer their time to answer questions that undergraduate students may have about anthropology.  Our mission is to help undergraduates students achieve their academic goals by sharing our own experiences and providing an informal discussion forum where undergraduates can connect with graduate students and faculty members.  In addition to learning about opportunities in the anthropology program at McMaster, members of ASK can also help with:

 • preparing a CV  • getting letters of reference  • how to apply for graduate studies
 • volunteering  • jobs in anthropology  • external grants (OGS, SSHRC)
 • publishing  • scholarships  • independent studies
 • internships  • research opportunities  • conferences

Check out the mentor profiles below and feel free to contact anyone of us with your questions, and if someone’s research or expertise sounds interesting to you….then just ASK


Ana Duggan, Post-Doctoral Fellow

B.Sc Hons (Memorial University of Newfoundland) M.Sc (Queen's University) PhD (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology / University of Leipzig)

ASK Key words: Molecular anthropology, ancient DNA, human genetics, populations genetics, genetics of infectious disease, grad school applications, post-grad Dugganapplications

My interests are broadly encompassed by molecular anthropology, evolution and population genetics, by the historical inferences we can make from genetic analyses. In the past, I have used phylogenies and phylogeography of modern human populations in Oceania to infer ancient migrations and population interactions. My current research interests involve using ancient DNA studies to reconstruct the genome of historical pathogens to examine the evolution and epidemiology of disease in ancient human populations as well as the population history of Native American groups from Canada's East Coast. I am more than happy to chat with anyone interested in the application of genetics to anthropology as well as anyone considering applying to grad school or post-grad positions.



Sarah Duignan, PhD Student  

Hons. B.Sc. Anthropology (Trent University, 2013); MA Biological Anthropology (University of Manitoba 2015)

ASK key words: archaeology; bioarchaeology; osteology; medical anthropology; obesity and body perception; stable isotope analysis; field school applications; grad school applications; conferences

During my undergrad I had a heavy focus on archaeology and completed several seasons of field work excavating a Mayan site in Belize. My MA research used stable isotope analysis to interpret mobility during the medieval period of Denmark. My doctoral research focuses on body perception in relation to obesity and dietary change amongst immigrant youth in Canada. My work will focus on immigrant adolescents in Hamilton, ON, exploring how dietary acculturation and obesity rates impact body perceptions through time. My work provides an opportunity to identify barriers to healthy body images and healthy eating, and will explore the complex social, cultural, economic, and biological factors influencing obesity rates amongst immigrant youth. 


Kaitlin (Katie) East, PhD Student 

B.A. Anthropology (with honors) and Archaeology, Brown University; M.A. Anthropology, University of Central Florida

ASK key words: Finding field schools, preparing a CV, graduate school applications, conferences, international students, bioarchaeology, osteology, paleopathology

My interests include studies of stress and violence in the ancient past, focusing particularly on skeletal injury and trauma. I hope to combine biological and cultural approaches to such questions to explore the lived experiences of individuals in relations to questions of risk, response, and resiliency. The research for my Master’s degree focused on the application of stable isotope analysis to questions of lived experience and social identity. I have participated in a number of archaeological and bioarchaeological field schools in the United States and internationally, and have volunteered on numerous archaeological projects in the US. I have worked as a TA and attended and presented at conferences. I am interested in mentoring students because I feel I would have benefited greatly from additional advice and direction in my early studies. I would be happy to speak with students and share my experiences about bioarchaeology, field schools, or graduate studies. I would especially be interested in sharing my insight about field work opportunities and graduate schools in the United States.


Becky Gilmour, PhD Candidate 


ASK Key words: grad school applications, field schools and international field work, apply to graduate school in the UK, bioarchaeology, palaeopathology, archaeology, finding funding

I completed my M.Sc. on Roman trauma at Aquincum, Budapest, at Durham University under the supervision of Drs. Rebecca Gowland and Charlotte Roberts. My B.A. (Hons) research at Simon Fraser University (Dr. Mark Skinner) investigated the forensic relevance of carnivore-digested bone fragmentation. For my Ph.D. at McMaster, I am working with Drs. Megan Brickley and Tracy Prowse to explore the long-term consequences of healed limb fractures in ancient Roman civilian contexts from the UK, Austria, Hungary, and Italy. Using morphological and radiographic analyses, I hope to find evidence for functional loss and impairment as it occurs after an arm or leg fracture. I aim to use this information to better understand the injury risks, longevity of trauma, and lived experiences of the northern Roman frontier and Italian core residents.




Priscilla Medeiros, PhD Candidate
MedeirosBA Anthropology (McMaster University), MA Medical Anthropology (University of New Brunswick)

ASK Key words: Volunteering, graduate school applications, conferences, applying for scholarships (OGS, CIHR).

My research interests within Medical Anthropology include globalization, gender and sexuality, global health systems, cross-cultural assessment, illness narratives, and the social/political dimensions of HIV/AIDS. My PhD dissertation will examine the recent changing paradigm of HIV/AIDS policy through the perspective of community-based HIV agencies and women living with HIV-AIDS in Atlantic Canada. Specifically, my work will document the needs of women to evaluate how policy changes are affecting their well-being. I have experience volunteering with a number of community-based organizations, actively participating in conferences, and working as a TA. As an undergraduate student, I benefited from peer mentoring programs and look forward to sharing my knowledge on the topics outlined in the preceding ASK list.


Murchie 2Tyler Murchie, PhD Student  

BSc (hons) in Archaeology (University of Calgary), MA in Archaeology (University of Calgary)

ASK Key Words: grad school applications, preparing a CV, scholarships/grants (SSHRC), conferences, publishing, basic arcGIS, archaeological method (microtraces, zooarky, lithics, morphometrics, etc.), North American archaeology (specifically plains, Mesoamerican, subarctic, and arctic), Ancient Greece, ancient DNA, and cultural resource management

My current research interests concern ancient DNA and its application to zooarchaeological datasets to understand paleodemography in archaeological hunter gatherers in Beringia. I’ve conducted research previously in zooarchaeology, lithic analysis, morphometric statistics, and paleogenetics. My undergraduate degree focussed on cross-disciplinary archaeological methods, while my masters was concerned with specializing in paleogenetics and taking course work in stable isotopes, physical geography, and archaeological theory. I worked for Stantec Inc. for four years in Alberta and Saskatchewan as an archaeological field worker, conducting site mitigations and archaeological survey for oil and gas development. I frequently present at conferences, have a peer-reviewed publication (with 3 manuscripts in prep for future publications), have received SSHRC funding, and consistently apply to a variety of small funding sources (with high success rates). I initially found grad school applications and scholarship/grant writing to be a stressful and enigmatic process; I would certainly wish to help anyone navigate those seemingly challenging obstacles in order to avoid the pitfalls that I myself encountered.




Daina Stanley, PhD Candidate  
Hons. BA (Anthropology & Criminology), MA (Anthropology) Daina Stanley picUniversity of Ottawa

ASK Key words: Graduate school applications, conferences, preparing a CV, funding applications, reviewer and editorial experience

My research interests, broadly speaking, include medical anthropology, public health, community-based research, prison ethnography, health and illness, care and caregiving, morality and prisoners. My PhD dissertation will centre on prisoners' engagement with caregiving in a maximum-security hospice in California. I will draw on ethnographic methods to explore the connection between discipline and care, the formation of moral personhood in prison, and the kinds of moral prisoners within prison walls. I have worked as a community-based researcher, a clinical research assistant and a teacher's assistant. I also have experience working as both an editor and a reviewer for peer-reviewed journals and have presented at several conferences. I would be happy to share my insights and experiences and to answer any questions.


Peter Wallace, MA Student   Wallace P

BA Archaeology (Simon Fraser University), Certificate in Cultural Resource Management (Simon Fraser University)

ASK Keywords: Archaeology, Osteology, FTIR, Soil Micromorphology, Jobs in Anthropology, Volunteering, Field School, Human Evolution, Letter's of reference, Graduate applications

Hello everyone. Feel free to ask me any questions and I will do my best to answer them! I am an archaeologist working on a Late Bronze Age (LBA) site in Cyprus. I have exhumed 13th century AD human remains and worked in a roman house in Navarre, Spain; TA'd a course on human remains (osteology) in Changchun, China; researched site formation processes and material composition in Kalavasos, Cyprus (11-16th century BC); and dug in an Upper Palaeolithic (30-50kya) cave in Manot, Israel. My interests are very varied (as hopefully yours are) but currently they are simmering around geological processes in relation to archaeological sites and how optical/chemical signatures can help identify said processes. I also have an interest in taphonomy, preservation, zooarcaheology and soil formation. And yes, I do enjoy watching the Indiana Jones Trilogy.


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