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For the love of research and education

Anthropology professor and student work together

de Munck and Garry

The idea to use colorcoded cards and string to illustrate the courtship process was simple.

Yet, Victor de Munck (Anthropology) hadn't thought of it before in five years of research on the cultural perceptions of romantic love. The idea belonged to Meghan Garry '07 (Anthropology).

"Meghan's views really led to a whole new way of thinking about the project," said de Munck.

The two began working together last fall on the research, which was funded by the Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities program. They developed a working relationship that has been beneficial to de Munck's research and Garry's education.

"It's great when a student is excited about the same things you're excited about," he said.

de Munck said one-onone research projects like this can bring the study of biological and cultural aspects of human life alive for anthropology students.

Garry is interviewing subjects using the cards to see what people think about how courtship unfolds. In the exercise, subjects are asked to construct a time line of the process. A piece of string is then attached to cards with terms that are ongoing in the process of falling in love.

According to Garry and de Munck, the cards represent the emotions (green) and events (pink) associated with romantic love.

In March, Garry attended her first national anthropology conference.

Anxious at first about presenting her work to a large group of professors, Garry said with the support of de Munck she eventually relaxed.

"I don't think I would be thinking in this way if it weren't for Victor and this experience," said Garry.

The project will culminate with two papers written by de Munck and Garry - one covering the methods used and the other presenting their findings.