Britney McIlvaine

Andy Creekmore

Britney McIlvaine

Department of Anthropology
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
University of Northern Colorado
Campus Box 90
Greeley, Colorado 80639
(970) 351-1745
(970) 351-2890 (Fax)
britney.mcilvaine@unco.edu

CV

Download CV for Britney McIlvaine (PDF)

Education

Teaching

My classroom is a very interactive environment, and I use a variety of teaching methods in order to accommodate diverse learning styles. I have two main learning goals: (1) students will be able to articulate the importance of anthropology as a discipline. Specifically, I want them to come away with an understanding of evolutionary theory and an appreciation of how human flexibility allows us to interact in a variety of environments; and (2) students will understand the ways anthropologists collect data and critically evaluate evidence to test hypotheses. In order to convey these overarching concepts, I must be flexible in order to adapt to various classroom environments. To accommodate student diversity within my classroom, including non-majors, international and minority students, I use a variety of class activities to produce a rich and varied learning environment.

I also bring my own research experience into my classroom in order to give students an understanding of how scientists conduct research. For example, when covering paleopathology I summarize my own research on human health and explain how I use bioarchaeology to answer questions about the lives of ancient peoples. I then give students a specific transition in history that has been investigated using bioarchaeology, e.g. humans develop agriculture. I ask them to hypothesize what they would expect to see in terms of changing health following this transition. They also must write out the types of paleopathological evidence they would need to support or refute their hypothesis. I then tell them what real bioarchaeologists have found. They use this real bioarchaeological evidence to either support or refute their hypothesis. Students tell me that this exercise helps them understand how scientists use hypothesis testing to investigate questions about the past. By integrating my own research into the classroom, my students appreciate the real-world applications of the materials I teach.

Additionally, I encourage students to learn by doing their own research. Many of my students have become anthropology majors and some engage in undergraduate research under my mentorship. Students interested in working with me on their own research project should come see me during my office hours.

Read more about my Forensic Anthropology course here!

Research

I am a biological anthropologist who seeks to understand human variation and evolution based on the study of populations from the last 10,000 years. In particular, I am interested in human adaptation in settings undergoing rapid change, often under social, cultural, and environmental disruption. My recent research has focused on the eastern Mediterranean basin, investigating the impact of Greek colonization of the Balkans from the 8th-6th centuries BC, by study of archaeological human remains from a series of sites in Albania.

In the past, I have studied human skeletal material from Albania, Nubia, Fiji, and Greece in order to answer questions about changing health, nutritional quality, and population structure. However, I am currently working on a Greek colonies project that uses bioarchaeological methods to document variation in local responses to colonization in the Balkans and Southern Italy.

McNair Faculty Mentor

Office of Undergraduate Research faculty highlight

  • Study Abroad