Introducing Our 2019-2020 CAP Graduate Fellows

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Benjamin Akey: Benjamin (they/them/theirs) is a first-year doctoral student and graduate research assistant studying historical archaeology. They received their BA in Anthropology from University of California Santa Cruz in 2018, where they focused on the performance and negotiation of class and ethnic identities through patterns of alcohol consumption in the Santa Cruz lime industry. They currently focus on issues of identity and subject formation among diasporic communities at late-19th and early-20th century sites of industrial labor. Benjamin joined CAP as a fellow in Fall 2019, and is looking forward to opportunities for public outreach/education and collections management. 

Man wearing orange safety vest and hard hat looking at a historic flag pole base in construction site

Jeff Burnett: Jeff is a second year Anthropology PhD. student. His past studies have focused on the archaeology of the African Diaspora in North America, with an interest in the process of freedom and how social constructs affect lived experiences. He is also interested in the production of historical knowledge and the utility of collaborative archaeology to challenge this production. Jeff is excited to start his second year in the Campus Archaeology Program and plans on working with the artifacts recovered in CAP’s 2018 and 2019 excavations of the Toolan house. Jeff joined CAP as a fellow in Fall 2018.

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Rhian Dunn: Rhian is a first year biological anthropology doctoral student, focusing in forensic anthropology. Her research interests include human variation and aspects of the biological profile, particularly ancestry estimation. This year, Rhian has joined CAP and hopes to get more experience in archaeological surveying and with identifying historical artifacts. She is also interested in using ArcGIS to explore spatial distributions of artifacts found at MSU. 

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Grace Shu Gerloff: Grace (She/her/hers) is a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology. As a sociocultural anthropologist, Grace’s doctoral research focuses on identify formation for Asian American adoptees in the Midwest. This is Grace’s first year as a half-time CAP fellow. She is looking forward to engaging in community outreach and using her experience in education to make connections with the mid-Michigan community and bring awareness to the history of the space that Michigan State University occupies. 

Woman using total station to map artifacts.

Amber Plemons: Amber is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology, focusing in Biological Anthropology, and a returning CAP fellow. Her research focuses on understanding the causative forces of human variation in craniofacial morphology, specifically the impacts of climate and genetics. This year, Amber will be helping to build a database for CAP artifacts recovered and housed at Michigan State University. Additionally, she will continue her work with the Girl Scouts organization to teach the future women of archaeology and help them earn their archaeology badge!

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