Sarah K. Campbell Memorial Scholarship, in honor of the late professor Emerita Sarah Campbell, the Anthropology Department is pleased to offer this opportunity to contribute to the newly created scholarship fund. Consider making a generous donation (text surrounded by purple flowers and a photo of Sarah)
drone POV students walking in red square, evening sun casting their shadows in silhouette on the ground

Anthropology Newsletter

Student Stories, Alumni Updates and Faculty News

Welcome New Professors!

Andrew Weitz, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Western Washington University. Dr. Weitz completed his PhD in Integrative Biology in 2018 at the University of California, Berkeley. He completed his BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 2011 at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Dr. Weitz also completed postdoctoral research appointments at ETH Zürich (2019) and at Western Washington University (2023) prior to joining the Department of Anthropology.

Picture of Andrew in abundant foliage and sunlight.

Dr. Marianne Brasil is a biological anthropologist who studies skeletal evolution and variation in humans and monkeys. Her research spans work in the field, museum, and lab to investigate human origins. She is thrilled to be joining the vibrant faculty in the Anthropology Department at Western in the fall of this year, and is excited to work with Western students and welcome them into her lab! 

Dr. Brasil holding a laptop that shows her congrats letter from WWU

Dr. Natalie Baloy is a cultural anthropologist and new faculty member in the WWU Department of Anthropology. Natalie earned her PhD at the University of British Columbia, where she studied urban settler colonialism in Vancouver, BC. Prior to joining the department, Natalie completed a postdoc at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and worked as the Associate Director of Canada House Programs at WWU (the Border Policy Research Institute, the Center for Canadian-American Studies, and the Salish Sea Institute). 

Natalie holding daughter Cleo on her hip

Dr. Mariangela Mihai is a sociocultural and visual anthropologist and filmmaker whose work builds on decolonial, intersectional feminists, and sensory ethnographic methods to understand Christian Indigenous resistance on the India-Bangladesh-Myanmar borderlands. She served as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Global Media and Film, in the Culture and Politics Program (CULP) at Georgetown, an interdisciplinary program that focuses on questions of power and inequality, globally. Her interdisciplinary and multimodal research, transnational teaching and activism, and  long-term commitment to engaged pedagogy and public scholarship have led her to this position, as an Assistant Professor in Anthropology at WWU.

black and white portrait with striking shadows


Dr. Jerald Ek Romero(Jerry) is an archaeologist with research interests in community-based participatory research, indigenizing archaeology, human-environmental interactions, and political economy. After spending most of his career focusing on the Maya Lowlands region of Mesoamerica, he has shifted focus to the Salish Sea region. 

In front of Mount Baker
Dr. Bocast headshot with a rustic mixed wood panel background

Visiting Professor

Dr. Brooke Bocast is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Anthropology for 2023-2024. While at Western Washington, Brooke will be developing her next book project about the politics of sentiment and semiotics of resistance among diaspora activists in Uganda’s National Unity Platform/People Power Freedom Movement.

DEPT Highlights

2024 Outstanding Student Research Award Recipients:

Students receive awards and recognition at the annual Anthropology Scholars Week Conference 

Jada Love  - The Fibers of Knowing: Coast Salish Weaving and Ontology:

Jada Love receiving award for "The Fibers of Knowing: Coast Salish Weaving and Ontology"
Dr. Judith Pine (left) bestowing the Outstanding Student Research Award on Undergrad Jada Love (center) alongside Dr. Jerald Ek Romero (right) who nominated their amazing work for the award at the Anthropology Department Scholars Week Conference of 2024. 

Marcelina Mendoza-Feliciano - Lesson Plan for Skin Color and Color in Mixteco

Kendall Welch - Social Media Warriors: The Use of Social Media as a Weapon in War

Kendall Welch receiving award from Dr. Judith Pine and Dr. Kathleen Young for Kendall's seminal work titled 'Social Media Warriors: The Use of Social Media as a Weapon in War'.
Dr. Judith Pine (left) bestowing the Outstanding Student Research Award on Undergrad Kendall Welch (center) with Dr. Kathleen Young (right) who nominated her brilliant work for the award at the Anthropology Department Scholars Week Conference of 2024. 

2024 Outstanding Graduate Award Recipients from the Anthropology Department

Ashelyn Holm representing excellence in the Anthropology with an Archaeology Focus track.  

Ashelyn Holm representing excellence in the Anthropology with an Archaeology Focus track.
Undergrad Ashelyn Holm and her lovely smile.

 Raven Borsey representing excellence in the Cultural Anthropology track.

A young person wearing a multicolored bandana teaching his less than one-year-old daughter how to clean cedar bark and make stuff.
Undergrad Raven Borsey and his daughter, Demithia,  at her first cedar harvest. They have harvested the cedar rolls behind them and Raven is using a little piece of cedar to teach Demithia how to help clean the bark, while telling some stories about the old cedar trees, and teaching her to give thanks.

 Denny Boettcher representing excellence in the Biological Anthropology track. 

Denny getting a tongue bath to the face from his pooch.
Undergrad Denny Boettcher and their adorable dog Opal!

The WWU Anthropology Department was proudly represented by our students, faculty, and emeritus at the 77th Annual Northwest Archaeological Conference in Portland, OR this year with high conference attendance by our Archaeology Focus Undergrads and a multitude of presentations.

Traisten Hansen a bearded student stands in front of a poster display as they gesture with their hands.
Grad Student Tristen Hansen presenting part of his graduate thesis work "An Example not Guidance: Navigating Graduate Research in Collaboration with Descendent Communities" at the 77th Annual Northwest Archaeological Conference in Portland, OR. Hansen was awarded the Graduate Research and Creative Oppurtunites Grant for his work!
Adrena Hamilton presents behind the lectern in a classroom. A presentation titled "Non-Destructive Ceramics Micro Analysis in a Digital World" is on the screen behind them.
Undergrad Senior Adrena Hamilton presenting her undergrad research "Non-Destructive Ceramics Micro Analysis in a Digital World" as part of the General Session: Methods in Archaeology at the 77th Annual Northwest Archaeological Conference in Portland, OR. Hamilton was the runner up in the JONA Student Paper Competiton for Undergrad Research and was awarded the AOA Student Travel Grant for her efforts!

Professor Monson traveled to multiple conferences in 2023, including the recent American Association of Biological Anthropology meetings in Reno, NV to present her paper:

2022. Tesla MonsonTeeth, prenatal growth rates, and the evolution of human-like pregnancy in later HomoAnthropology

Tesla holding a cast of a hominid jaw with teeth between racks of archived specimens

ANTH 476 Borderlands

In this experiential bioregional course that includes local field trips, students examine histories, politics, and lived experiences of the land and marine borders of the Salish Sea and across the continent. Students compare and contrast our region's border stories with borderlands around the world. Professor Natalie Baloy

U.S. and Canadian Border marker/monument


Museology Internship ANTH 470

ANTH 470 is designed to expose students to the workings and issues of museums through "hands-on" experience, readings, and written work. 


ANTH 312 Field Course in Archaeology

The x̌ʷiq̓ʷix̌ʷalqʷuʔ (Blue Water) Archaeological Project is a community-based participatory research program designed to reorient archaeological practice to address the concerns of indigenous communities and promote greater inclusiveness in perspectives, accessibility, and representation in our field. Professor Jerry Ek serves as a co-director with three colleagues from the Stillaguamish Tribe's Cultural Department. The formation of this project involved the reorientation of the WWU Archaeological Field School as an Indigenous-led program centered on local knowledge, tribal research priorities, capacity building, and promotion of unmitigated Indigenous sovereignty over intellectual property. The first season of this new partnership was an unmitigated success, and we will build on the foundation created this summer in 2023 and beyond. 

student participating in canoe journey 2022 summer field school
Canoe Journey from Camano Island, 2022 Field Season
of the x̌ʷiq̓ʷix̌ʷalqʷuʔ (Blue Water) Archaeological Project


2022 Peter Miterko & Sean BrunaReframing sense of community with photovoice: perspectives from residents of a permanent supportive housing program who have experienced chronic homelessness, Journal of Community Practice

torso of a person in sweatpants that read "the struggle is real"
Figure 1. “The struggle is real.” Photo by Samantha.

2022 Tesla MonsonTeeth, prenatal growth rates, and the evolution of human-like pregnancy in later HomoAnthropology

4 different skull casts
A series of hominid craniums (clockwise from the left): juvenile Australopithecus, juvenile chimpanzee, adult chimpanzee, adult Australopithecus, adult Homo erectus. Photo by Tesla Monson

Articles featuring Monson's research:

NewScientistOur ancestors’ prenatal growth sped up after we split from chimps

Phys.org: Hominid prenatal growth rates found to have increased after lineage split from chimps

ScienceWe evolved to grow in the womb rapidly—even before we were human: Finding opens up a new way to study ancient human pregnancy

Riff Reporter. Evolution: Wie der Mensch zu seinem großen Gehirn kam und was die Schwangerschaft damit zu tun hat 

Science Alert. There's a Weird Link Between Teeth And The Evolution of Pregnancy

Western Today. Our ancestors’ prenatal growth sped up after we split from chimps

2022 Jerald EkThe inflection points in formative Maya history: the view from the Champotón, Campeche, MexicoAncient Mesoamerica

Cartography: Early Middle Formative ceramic spheres in the Maya area.

2022 Sobocinski, KL, CD Harvell, NJK Baloy, G Broadhurst, MN Dethier, A Flower, and J Delaney. Urban Seas as Hotspots of Stress in the Anthropocene Ocean: The Salish Sea Example. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene 10(1). 

elementa logo, a graphic that resembles flower pedals
Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene

2014 Judith PineAuthenticity of the Sign: Travels of a Lahu Song. Erudit 

highlighted quote from the article "polyvocality that facilitates complex, fluid indexical connections."

About Anthropology

students working on a dig

The discipline of anthropology studies humans in all the cultures of the world, both past and present. This includes humanity's evolution, physical development, and the wide diversity of lifestyles people have created.

Anthropology has three main goals: first, providing a deep understanding of humans, both past and present; second, analyzing and organizing the knowledge gained and making it accessible; and third, engaging in the practical application of anthropology to various areas of contemporary human behavior.

Read more about anthropology and its subdisciplines- cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology and medical and genetic anthropology.