Thanks for visiting our Alumni page! Our graduates have gone on to pursue careers in international development, nonprofit work, advocacy, Peace Corps, Teach for America, corporate work, education, and academia. Check out what some of your fellow alumni are doing today (page coming soon)!

We hope you’ll take a minute below to tell us what you’ve been up since graduating.

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Would you like to support the Anthropology Program at New Paltz? Contributions are used to strengthen our program and to provide scholarships for outstanding students in need of financial support. Tax deductible contributions can be made through the SUNY New Paltz Foundation. In the section of the form regarding where to direct your gift, be sure to select “Other” and then indicate that you would like your contribution to go to the Anthropology program.

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Anthropology News


Valerie Hauser

Anthropology Alumni Update: Valerie Hauser (Class of 1979)

I received my Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from S.U.N.Y. New Paltz in 1979. My passion for archeology was cemented in the first few weeks of the New Paltz Archeology Summer Field School and ultimately led me to pursue of a career in archeology. As an undergraduate, I had the privilege of working on several archeological surveys in Ulster and Sullivan Counties and even worked part-time for the Anthropology Department.

After graduating from SUNY New Paltz, I began my career as a contract archeologist working on numerous archeology projects in New York City while earning a Master of Arts in Anthropology from New York University. I then led a public archeology program at Wave Hill, a cultural center and public garden in the Bronx, before joining the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in 1989.

Shifting from the field to an office was challenging at first but the opportunity to work on and influence national historic preservation policy has been very exciting and rewarding. At the Advisory Council, I have had the opportunity to work with other federal agencies, state governments, preservation organizations, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiians and even served as a liaison to the U.S. Army. Being a staff member of the Advisory Council means lots of travel, meetings, and long hours, but the issues are always interesting and sometimes very controversial.

As the Director of the Office of Native American Affairs, I advise the agency’s presidential appointees on Native American policy issues and works with Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations to ensure they are accorded their rights to consult with the federal government and to protect their sacred places. Sacred sites protection efforts have also led to many exciting opportunities including serving on a panel to discuss protecting indigenous sacred sites at the United Nations and representing the U.S. government in hearings at the Organization of American States. Alongside the other Native American Affairs staff, we offer instruction to federal officials in tribal and Native Hawaiian consultation and are reaching out to Native youth to encourage them to pursue careers in historic preservation. I also serve on many government-wide initiatives involving indigenous peoples.

When I began my studies at SUNY New Paltz, I could not have envisioned where they would take me. The liberal arts course offerings allowed me to explore my interests and helped me find a career path that has been so fascinating and fulfilling.

Anthropology Alumni Update: JoAnn D'Alisera (Class of 1982)

JoAnn D’Alisera is Associate Professor of Anthropology, Vice Chair, and the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas.

She teaches courses on Africa, Africans in America, Religion, Material Culture, Transnational Communities, Islam, Cities, Commemoration and Memorialization. Dr. D’Alisera’s first book, An Imagined Geography: Sierra Leonean Muslims in America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), examines the way Sierra Leonean Muslims fashion a sense of community in an American urban context.  Her second project, funded by a Rockefeller Fellowship in the Humanities and Russell Sage Foundation grant explores the social experiences of Sierra Leonean Muslims, African foreign nationals, and US citizens of recent African origin living in Washington, D.C. in the aftermath of 9/11. She is currently completing a manuscript based on this work entitled, City Space and the Poetics of Pious Enactment: Making Muslim Selves in the Sierra Leonean Diaspora (Penn State University Press) in which she explores the way Sierra Leonean Muslims remake city space through acts of worship that disrupt the taken-for-granted spatial narratives that cast the city as the primary symbol of national belonging, civic dignity, and power in the American popular imagination. She has published journal articles in PoLar: The Political and Legal Anthropology Review, Journal of Material Culture, African Diaspora, Anthropology Today and Anthropology and Humanism.

Visit her website at

Anthropology Alumni Update: Daniel Albanese (Class of 2001)

Daniel is the New York City-based photographer behind the website TheDustyRebel. Shaped by his background in anthropology, he has built a worldwide following documenting the more marginal aspects of the urban landscape, as well as controversial artworks, political protests, and city living. (More details here:

Since 2006, Daniel has also been the Deputy Director for Administration at the Center for Justice & Democracy — a national consumer group which works to educate the public about the importance of the civil justice system and trial by jury in civil cases, and to expose the stealth corporate campaign behind so-called "tort reform."

Anthropology Alumni Update: Megan Krietsch Class of '09

After working various temporary jobs around California and Utah for the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and private archaeology companies, and obtaining her MA from CUNY Hunter College, Megan was hired on at Yosemite National Park as an archaeological technician. Her main duties are serving as the primary construction monitor, ensuring the protection of culturally sensitive artifacts and features during ground disturbing activities at construction sites. Other duties entail pedestrian survey (in both the front and back country) to locate and record items of archaeological significance, and writing project reports and monitoring plans. According to Megan, the most rewarding part of this job is being able hike out into the wilderness of Yosemite (both while working and while on personal time), and be surrounded by the high granite peaks of the Sierra Nevadas.

Anthropology Alumni Update: Crysbel Tejada (Class of 2011)

Crysbel has been accepted to the MA program in Latin American Studies at UT Austin on a full scholarship. She is planning on accepting and attending starting this upcoming 2016 Fall Semester.

Faculty Research: Ken Nystrom

On February 17th, Prof. Ken Nystrom gave a presentation at the newly renovated Sojourner Truth Library. He discussed his research on the structural violence of dissection and how the remains of socially marginalized groups such as the poor, criminals, and African Americans were used in medical education. You can read more about this research in an article Prof. Nystrom published in the American Anthropologist.

Faculty Research: Ben Junge (Anthropology) and Karl Bryant (Sociology)

Ben Junge (Anthropology) and Karl Bryant (Sociology) recently hosted a conference entitled "New Horizons for Social Reseach" on February 6, 2016. Pictured here is anthropologist Jennifer Hirsch (Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health) presenting her plenary paper entitled, "What it would take to make PrEP work for young Black Men in NYC: a multi-sectoral approach to combination prevention.”

Current Student Update: Jessica Mortensen (Anthropology and Biochemistry, Class of 2017)

Jessica was awarded money from the SUNY New Paltz Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Program and Campus Auxiliary Services for her project entitled "Dietary Reconstruction of the Impact of Romanization at the site of Nadin, Croatia". She received the money in order to travel to the University of Florida to prepare skeletal and dental samples for stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis. She will be presenting her results at the 30th Annual meeting of the National Conference on Undergradaute Research at the University of North Carolina in April.

Current Student Update: Brian O'Keefe (Anthropology and Political Science, Class of 2016)

Brian is currently interning at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Department of Egyptian Art. Brian will be working there throughout the spring semester digitizing photographs of excavation sites in Egypt, and of the features and artifacts that were uncovered at the sites.

Anthropology Alumni Update: Lindsay Jankovitz (Class of 2012)

Lindsay was accepted to the Library and Information Science program at St. John's University, focusing on public librarianship with a concentration in Youth Services. Currently, Lindsay is working at the Town of Ulster Public Library in Kingston, as a Youth and Young Adult Programmer.

Anthropology Alumni Update: Phillip Shnaider (Class of 2015)

Phillip recently completed an internship with the North American Archaeology Laboratory at the American Museum of Natural History. The internship was primarily lab based, but Phillip did spend three weeks on St. Catherine's Island working at a prehistoric archaeological site.

Current Student Update: Robyn Schaefer (Class of 2016)

In January, Robyn spent the winter session in Belize through a study abroad program offered through SUNY Cortland. Robyn worked 40 hours a week for three weeks at the Belize Botanic Garden (for more information on the garden follow this link). She spent the majority of her time in the nursery propagating and repotting plants, air-layered trees, and learning about Mayan medical plants. The gardens promote the preservation of the rainforest and Mayan practices. The gardens were originally farmland that the owners transformed into a botanical garden as a way to reintroduce wildlife back into that area as well as educate the people that came to visit.

Anthropology Alumni Update: Tisa Loewen (Class of 2015)

Tisa was awarded a Historic Huguenot Street Scholarship (follow this link for more information on the scholarship) in 2016. She is pursuing her Master of Arts in Anthropology and Bioarchaeology at New York University. Congratulations!

Anthropology Alumni Update: Jacob Yoder (Class of 2015)

For the last year, Jacob has been working as a City Year Americorps member helping students from a low income area in Manchester, new Hampshire. Here is how he describes his experience in his own words:

I work in a 5th grade classroom, coaching students on behavior, attendance, and class work. My school is an extremely diverse cultural smorgasbord because of Manchester's high population of refugees from Africa and the Middle East. Having a background in anthropology makes my immersion in such a diverse array of cultures extremely interesting, and easier to navigate. My work at school is incredibly fun and rewarding, but ultimately it is about fighting poverty. I tutor students who are struggling in math and english in order to give them a better shot at graduating from high school down the road, so they can achieve a brighter future.

City Year is an education based non-profit powered by Americorps, with a mission of reducing the rate of high school drop-outs nationwide. In high poverty zones across the country students struggle in the classroom because of issues at home, and lack of resources in schools. As such, drop out rates are much higher in low income school districts. In America, 50% of drop-outs come from only 12% of schools... one's in high poverty zones. This causes the cycle of poverty to continue, because students who don't graduate from high school are 6 times more likely to go to prison, 3 times more likely to be unemployed, and will earn an average of $1 million less in their lifetimes. Corps members like myself serve all over the country, tutoring and mentoring students who are falling behind in order to fight poverty through education.

Anthropology Alumni Update: Cheryl Moran (Class of 2011)

Cheryl completed a 1 year Taught MA degree at University of Sussex in Brighton, England and graduated with Merit in 2013. The program was called Anthropology of Development and Social Transformation. Her coursework examined poverty, migration, health, politics and all things related to international development and social change. Her degree work focused on medical anthropology and her thesis was titled 'Living with a Chronic Illness: Coping Strategies for Inflammatory Bowel Disease.' Cheryl’s fieldwork involved collecting date from informants attending Crohn's and Colitis support groups around East Sussex and West Sussex counties.

Cheryl describes her experience this way: “I found the work to be quite challenging simply because the course load and the grading system is very different in the UK. Overall, the anthropology department at Sussex is one of the best in the UK and I had an amazing experience during my time there.”

Current Student Update: DeYan McCarthy (Class of 2017, Anthropology and Deaf Studies)

In the summer of 2015, DeYan traveled to Ethiopia in a course led by Rebecca Swenson (Communication Disorders, coordinator of the Deaf Studies minor). While there, DeYan worked closely with students at the Kal Center for Special Needs and help produce a short film. Read more about her experience here: … practices/

These types of experiences are considered 'impact-high' opportunities as they provide the chance to work and learn outside of the classroom environment. As the study of culture is one of the core principles of the Anthropology, study abroad courses represent a significant opportunity for majors to experience new environments, meet new people, and to truly engage in anthropology.

This is how DeYan's describes her experience in her own words:

"There is a really big difference in learning about a culture and being immersed in a culture. In my minor, Deaf Studies, we learn a lot about the Deaf culture and it's history, which was something new to me. We talked about what it meant to be deaf and the Deaf community. However, you can not fully understand a culture like this until you experience it yourself. Getting the opportunity to go to Ethiopia, to spread Deaf awareness and empower the Deaf community was incredible. The deaf adults and children were so welcoming and the other students I went to Ethiopia with were like my Ethiopian family. When we were not doing site visits or filming, we engaged ourselves in the Ethiopian culture. We went shopping in the markets, went cultural dancing, visited historical castles and monasteries and saw a wild life preserve. We also went to the Ethiopian National Museum where I saw the original bones of Lucy. This was really cool because I learned about this in General and Biological Anthropology, but to see it in person was something else. Being an Anthropology major, it was interesting to look at a culture from a different lens and apply what I learned in class to things i was seeing and experiencing. I was able to understand and appreciate the culture even more. Even though, there were mostly Communication Disorder students in this study abroad, I was able to bring new perspectives and share that with my peers. This is an experience I will never forget and I encourage people to embrace other cultures that are not familiar to you."

Current Student Update: Jillian Heller (Class of 2016)

Jillian Heller has been interning at Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz since June 2015. In her position, Jillian has been writing a series of blogs focusing on some of the material contained in the Huguenot Street collections, highlighting not only to their connection to Huguenot Street, but also its broader historical context. Here are some of Jillian's posts:

Post-mortem photography … ance-fade/

Opera glasses … the-opera/

Spices … y-history/

1800s woman's etiquette book … rian-lady/

A mechanical engineer's set of tools … gineering/

1890s American Flag … llegiance/

Anthropology Alumni Update: Fran Mascia-Lees (Class of 1976)

Fran Mascia-Lees was recently highlighted in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Newsletter. Professor Mascia-Lees recounts some of the key influences on her education at New Paltz and what how this laid the foundation for her career in Anthropology. You can read the full article at: … hropology/

Anthropology Alumni Update: Jessica Schoonmaker (Class of 2013): From September 9th 2014 until September 11th 2015, Jessica attended the University of Bradford in Bradford, England for a Masters of Science in Human Osteology and Palaeopathology. Jessica took courses in Analysis of Human Remains, Musculo-skeletal anatomy, Archaeozoology, Funerary Archaeology, and her favourite, Palaeopathology. For the final degree requirement, Jessica examined skeletal collections from the Bronze, Iron, and Roman occupation periods of England for evidence of gout.

Anthropology Alumni Update: Chris Manoharan (Class of 2012 )

Chris Manoharan and Victor DeMunck recently had an article published in the Journal of Mixed Methods Research. The article, titled The Conceptual Relationship Between Love, Romantic Love, and Sex: A Free List and Prototype Study of Semantic Association, examines how love, romantic love, and sex are intertwined using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Manoharan is now a graduate student at Queen's University Belfast at the Institute of Cognition and Culture.

Faculty Research: Some of the recent work by Ken Nystrom is featured in this blog post (

It highlights his research on structural violence: harm experienced by certain groups stemming from fundamental social inequalities. Nystrom discusses how the passage of anatomy laws during the 19th century that legalized the dissection of unclaimed bodies from poorhouses reflects an underlying social inequality. By examining skeletal remains of poeole buried in poorhouse cemeteries that exhibited evidence of dissection, Nystrom demonstrates how this inequality actually manifested.

Faculty Research: Joseph Diamond's field school project on Huguenot Street was recently featured on SUNY New Paltz News.

The field school has dug at this site for twenty years, shedding light on both the prehistoric and historic occupation of the area, and is an excellent example of the close connection our department and university has with the local community. You can read the article here ( … new-paltz/) and get more information on the fieldschool here.

Alumni Update: Hannah Rose Van Wely (double major in Anthropology and Art History, 2009)

Hannah Rose Van Wely has been accepted at and has received two fellowships to attend the University of Oxford as a DPhil student in the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography. The fellowships are the Rausing Studentship in association with Linacre College, and a bursary from the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography. Her area of interest is in material culture studies and in particular Pacific featherwork. Van Wely graduated summa cum laude, with honors in both majors)

Anthropology Alumni Update: Jeremy Borrelli (Class of 2012)

Jeremy Borrelli, a graduate student in Maritime Studies Program at East Caroline University, was recently featured in the College of Liberal Arts and Science Newsletter. You can read about Jeremy's background and current research at this site: ( … hropology/)

Anthropology Alumni Update: Jacqueline Masseo (Class of 2012)

"While attending New York University's Museum Studies program I was taught a combination of museum theory and applied practice. I concentrated on Museum Education where I chose specialized courses that focused on both anthropological museums and historic houses. The Museum Studies program at NYU has left me with a well-rounded education and first hand approach in which I learned about Museum Management, Exhibition Design, and Collections care. I completed my Master's Thesis on the use of authenticity within historic house museums entitled, Historic House Museums: Patriotism and Preservation in the Age of Industrialization. In the Spring of 2015 I began working in the Education Department at the National September 11th Memorial Museum" (

Anthropology Alumni Update: Tisa Loewen

Tisa Loewen (Class of 2015, pictured here excavating on Huguenot Street) has been accepted into the Master of Arts program in Anthropology in the Human Skeletal Biology track at New York University.

Anthropology Alumni Update: Emily Brackett
Emily Brackett (Class of 2014) was accepted into the forensic anthropology program at the University of Montana

Anthropology Alumni Update: Brenna McCaffrey
Brenna McCaffrey (Class of 2014) was accepted into the PhD Program in the Department of Anthropology at CUNY/Graduate Center. Her acceptance comes with five years of full funding, and she will be studying in one of the most prestigious, cosmopolitan graduate programs in the country. She begins her studies this fall.

Anthropology Alumni Update: Aaron Leo (Anthropology Major, 2009), currently working on his PhD at the University of Albany, wrote an article for a recent issue of Anthropology News (published by the American Anthropology Association) in which he discusses some of his experiences interning with Workers United. You can read the full article at this link:

FACULTY RESEARCH: Ben Junge recently publishing some of his research in a special issue of the Latin American Research Review. Professor Junge had several roles including (1) co-editor; (2) co-author of the introductory essay ("Lived Religion and Lived Citizenship in Latin America’s Zones of Crisis: Introduction”); and then finally (3) he was the author on original research article (““The Energy of Others”: Narratives of Envy and Purification among Former Grassroots Community Leaders in Porto Alegre, Brazil”).

Brenna McCaffrey (class of 2014, double Anthropology / Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major) gave an oral presentation based on original research in November at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Washington, D.C. In her talk, she presented ethnographic research conducted with activists affiliated with a reproductive health clinic in the mid-Hudson Valley, focusing on how suggestions for activism coming from feminist scholarship are integrated into activist practice and how activists working in abortion care and clinic defense struggle with representing the realities of their work while reflecting the acceptable discourses of mainstream feminist activism. Among her major findings was that as activists grapple with controversial topics such as fetal life, ethics, and repeat abortion patients, their thinking is influenced by norms of “acceptable discourse” within the public face of activism. While at the conference, Brenna also received the 2014 Sylvia Forman Prize for an undergraduate essay from the Association for Feminist Anthropology.