Where Are They Now?
We are proud of our anthropology alumni, who continue to impress us with how they apply what they learned at UNC to their careers. Here are a few updates from our graduates.
Are you an alumnus/a? Tell us your story!
- Kehaulani Lagunero '22
Kehaulani Lagunero graduated UNC in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a focus for Cultural Anthropology. During her time at UNC she was nominated for an internship to work with Cultural continuation and story-telling with Navajo, Apache, and Hawaiian Indigenous communities. Along with other internships and instances, this contributed toward her interest in Cultural Anthropology and Applied Anthropology.
Currently, Kehaulani is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology at Denver University, with a special focus on Indigenous sovereignty, burial practices, and post-colonial gender identities.
She believes that Anthropology contributed towards her passion for community engagement applied work through cross-cultural understanding, but also formed her passion of wanting to see her own cultural heritages being accurately documented within a historical record. Anthropology also continues to inspire her curiosity to learn about the past and how it impacts the living, and helped form her skills related to humanitarian-aid and cultural-sensitivity!
- Cydnie O’Brien '22
Cydnie graduated from UNC in 2022 with a bachelor's in Anthropology, minors in Chemistry and Criminal Justice & Criminology, and an academic certificate in Criminal Investigations. While at UNC, she took part in a cemetery excavation in Transylvania, Romania, studying the remains of a cultural group that used the cemetery 500 years ago. This, among other instances, solidified her interest in forensic anthropology.
Right now, Cydnie works with a 911 call and dispatch center, and looks to further her career with a coroner or medical examiner's office. She feels that anthropology has greatly assisted her with remaining objective in stressful situations, and allowing her to see other's perspectives on the great variety of situations that she handles. Anthropology also inspires her to learn more and ask deeper questions of the people around her. She loves wow-ing her coworkers with anthropological facts, too!
- Maddie Smoker '22
Howdy, I'm Maddie Smoker, this is a photo of me CRYING while seeing the Venus of Willendorf in real life. I graduated in 2022 with a double major in history and anthropology and I am currently finishing up my masters in Medieval Studies at Trinity College Dublin. I'm in the process of writing my dissertation which is on the Black Death and the changes that it caused in medieval culture.
In my research, I am taking an anthropological approach to studying an event that is usually left to historians by analyzing cultural change and adaptations during one of the worst catastrophes in human history. By analyzing art, poetry, as well as empirical scientific data such as plague burials and outbreaks, I am able to reason that the Black Death fundamentally changed the Western view of death and dying in a way that still permeates today. After this masters, I am going to apply to PhD programs in biological anthropology to study human evolutionary anatomy and hominin evolution and culture.
- Eduardo Maya '20
The COVID-19 Pandemic presented a set of challenges for everyone and changed the calculations of many students. It was during this time that Eduardo decided to attend the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver (DU), and pursue a Master of International Security in lieu of moving across the country to Boston and pursuing a master’s in forensic anthropology. Since his departure from UNCO, Eduardo has had many opportunities to use his understanding of Anthropology by collaborating with individuals from around the world while being considerate, understanding, and willing to learn of their societal and cultural differences. At DU, Eduardo developed a strong interest in China studies and was an assistant at the Center for China-U.S Cooperation which allowed him to work with scholars and experts from across the globe and heavily with those located in Asia. Through courses completed, Eduardo also developed a strong interest in the fields of Intelligence, Homeland Security, and Emergency Management. In September of 2022, Eduardo traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria to conduct an internship at the NATO Crisis Management and Disaster Response Centre of Excellence. It was here that he maneuvered a multinational and multicultural environment and worked alongside professionals from Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Poland, and Romania while living in a foreign country and immersing himself in its culture. Today, Eduardo works as an analyst at the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management where he seeks to promote an inclusive environment while working to ensure the safety of Colorado and its diverse population.
- Shalene Dickard '16
Shalene (2016) graduated from UNC with a major in anthropology and a minor in GIS. She’s the Chief of Integrated Resource and acting GIS Coordinator for the City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rocks State Park in Idaho.
- Sean Field, '15
Sean Field’s interest in Anthropology grew out of his love of history when UNC Anthropology professor Sally McBeth, Ph.D., presented the field as a more human exploration of history. A highlight of his years at UNC was the 2014 group trip to Greece with Dr. Britney Kyle. In Karystos, Greece, the UNC group joined researchers analyzing the remains of 107 individuals unearthed in the excavations. Sean was largely involved in studying the oral health and dental pathologies of the individuals. The group also did a comparative study between Karystos and six colonies located throughout Albania and the Greek Islands. During the trip, Sean gained valuable knowledge on how to apply for grants, write for scholarly publications and present at conferences. Upon the group’s return to the United States, he was able to use his presentation skills to speak at a national conference.
After graduating from UNC Sean completed an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and he is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Anthropology at Notre Dame. His master’s thesis focused on a geospatial analysis of the Chacoan road system, clarifying potential use strategies of regional prehispanic roads.Sean is a geospatial archaeologist specializing in the American Southwest. He explores how patterns of settlement and interaction between cultural regions relate to periods of climatic stress. He is particularly interested in how cultural practices coming from Chaco Canyon, New Mexico made their way to Mesa Verde, Colorado during times when climatic conditions were deteriorating. To address these topics, Sean emphasizes ideas of connection, interaction, and landscape, while also employing an array of digital technologies including geospatial, computational, and aerial-based remote sensing methods. Sean is a Notre Dame Presidential Fellow.
- Holly Berg '13
As for my educational background, I graduated from William J. Palmer High School in Colorado Springs in the spring of 2010 with an International Baccalaureate Diploma. I was accepted into the UNC Anthropology program and started in the fall of 2010. During my time at UNC, I majored in Anthropology with an emphasis in Cultural Studies and an interdisciplinary focus. I was also one of the co-presidents of the Anthropology club. I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a GPA of 3.96 in the spring of 2013. In my second year, my advisor Sally McBeth urged me to pursue an internship at the Greeley History Museums and began a 3 credit internship in the Exhibits Department. I finished my internship hours very quickly, which led my supervisors at the museum to create a position for me within the Exhibits Department. In April of 2012, I was hired as the Exhibits Assistant. Circumstances within the museum allowed me to apply for the Assistant Curator position and I was formally hired as the Assistant Curator of Exhibits in March 2015. In my current position, I am responsible for researching, writing, designing, building, and maintaining all of the exhibits at the Greeley Museum’s four sites. I am very grateful to both Sally and the entire Anthropology Department for encouraging me to pursue a career related to Anthropology that I’m passionate about and for supporting me throughout my entire journey. My biggest and best piece of advice to UNC students is: Get involved in your surrounding community. Life beyond the university can be daunting, but beautiful.
- Caity Miller '13
Caity was a double major in Anthropology and Psychology. She was an Honors student whose thesis on Somali refugee's interpretations of mental illness won several awards including 2nd place in the 2013 Research Excellence Awards, and top 10 in the 2013 National Portz Scholar awards. While at UNC she was involved in 5 clubs, most importantly Anthropology Club as a Co-President and PSI CHI International Honors Society as the Vice President. Other than these she was an AmeriCorps Intern at The Global Refugee Center, Inc. and a lab assistant in the psychology department neuropsychology lab. Caity studied abroad in India in 2012, and continued her love of international exploration by traveling Europe after graduation, working in Amman, Jordan with Mercy Corps to provide supplies to the refugee camps from the Syrian war, and is currently in New Delhi, India working as a Media and Communications Intern with the Center for Social Research for Women's Empowerment.
- Gena Sturgon '13
Gena was a double major in Anthropology and Sport & Exercise Science with a minor in Nutrition and was a scholar in the President's Leadership Program (PLP). While at UNC she worked for a year as PLP's Community Service Coordinator and three years as a Peer Study Abroad advisor at UNC's Office of Global Engagement. Also, Gena assisted in the redevelopment of UNC's International Ambassadors Program for incoming international students and quickly developed a deep passion for the world. Gena studied abroad four times (Ireland, Austria, Germany, Botswana) during her undergraduate career and gained credit towards LACs, electives, and her anthropology compliment. Currently, she is a Physical Education intern at Universidad Andrés Bello in Santiago, Chile and teaches English on the side.
- Michaela Holdridge '12
Michaela graduated from UNC in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a minor in Psychology. While she attended UNC, she worked as the assistant to the Director of Honors, Scholars and Leadership which pushed her to become a better student. She also studied abroad with the Expedition Yucatan offered by the Anthropology Department at UNC in 2011 and later went on to be the Teacher's Assistant for the Expedition Yucatan 2012 trip. After graduating from UNC, Michaela went on to complete a Master of Arts in Cultural Anthropology at CSU in 2014. She has since become the full-time Executive Director (ED) of OneMorgan County (OMC) a 501(c)3 nonprofit where the mission is to foster relationships among diverse people and organizations to strengthen the well-being, safety and cohesive nature of the community. Relying on the passion fostered at UNC and the research she completed at CSU, OMC’s programs are centered on the idea of interculturalism where cultural diversity is celebrated and shared within the community, creating a sense of belonging for all. Within her role as ED, she provides cross-cultural communication training to organizations throughout Morgan County, Colorado. Finally, Michaela also teaches Introduction to Cultural Anthropology for Ashford University, an accredited online university based in SanDiego, CA.
- Elizabeth Lembo '12
Elizabeth Lembo graduated from UNC in December 2012 with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in Women's Studies. Post- graduation, she has been working as the Community Outreach Advocate for Weld County’s domestic violence safe house, A Woman’s Place. During her senior year, Liz fulfilled her internship by venturing to Haiti with local NGO, Aid in Action. She continues to assist AIA in fundraising and has participated in two additional trips of relief work which include: sustainable practices of community development, elementary art, and education of midwives. Liz volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children, as well as at Atlas Church in Greeley. Her long term goals include opening her own organization dedicated to assisting restavecs (enslaved children) in Haiti by providing opportunities and healing through education, employment, and art therapy. In her spare time, she enjoys friendship, family, painting, underground hip-hop, and day dreaming about living under palm trees.
- Jennifer Watson '12
Picture: Roman Forum
Jenny graduated from UNC in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and minor in History. During both her junior and senior years, she interned and volunteered at the Greeley History Museum in Archives, Collections, and Registrar. Her senior year she studied abroad at the University of Chester in the UK, where she studied Archaeology. She is currently working towards a master’s in Museum Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and intends to graduate spring of 2015. With this degree she would like to become a Collections Manager for a museum.
- Chris Schmidt '11
Upon completion of my B.A. in Anthropology at UNC, I moved to Durango, CO where I worked for Ska Brewing as the regional warehouse manager. I also went to Kiochi Yamaguchi's bicycle frame-building school in Rifle, CO where I was taught how to construct bicycle frames from scratch.
Currently I am a Masters student in Sociology at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, studying Visual Sociology under Professor Jeffery Montez de Oca. I work in the Seyhan curation lab in the department of anthropology as a curation technician. During the summer I work for the United States Olympics Committee at the Olympic velodrome where I do operations for the USA team as well as for athletes from around the world.
My future endeavors are to finish my Masters at UCCS and attend the 2016 Olympic games in Rio De Janeiro, as well as complete my Ph.D in Socio-cultural Anthropology with an emphasis in visual studies.
- Kellsie Endres '11
Kellsie graduated with a bachelor's degree in Anthropology and Minor in Art History and President’s Leadership Program. She currently works for Community Education Outreach (CEO), which she joined during her Senior year at UNC. Kellsie started as a volunteer at the Greeley CEO facility where she worked with low level readers to improve their reading skills, and GED students to prepare them for official test sections. During this time, Kellsie discovered her passion for teaching adult offenders residing in a community correctional facility.
- Jill Sanford '10
It’s never easy moving from being a full time college student into the world of job hunting and facing student loans. But when I graduated into the worst employment climate in years, and at the age of sixty one, I knew there were difficult times ahead.
After spending months applying for paid positions, with little or no results, I turned to what I knew best, volunteering. I was already a volunteer at Hospice and I soon added being an advocate for AARP. In 2010 some elections were starting to brew and I had some political experience so I was soon working as office manager for Andrew Romanoff in Fort Collins. Later, I moved on to Volunteer Coordinator for John Kefalas’ campaign, but jobs in the political realm are short lived and after elections I was again out of work. So, back to volunteering. I applied to Planned Parenthood for a volunteer position, and after a few months, I received a part-time position there. I’ve worked there now for two years and recently became Volunteer Coordinator for the Fort Collins clinic.
My life now reflects exactly what I want and love the most. I am so proud to be a graduate from UNC’s Anthropology department, have a meaningful job I love, still able to volunteer regularly while enjoying the life of mother of four and grandmother of five.
- Cody Dalpra '10
I graduated from UNC in 2010 with a bachelors in Anthropology and a minor in Geography focused on GIS. At UNC I had the privilege to work on archaeological projects in Rocky Mountain National Park and North Park, Colorado. This great field experience only furthered my education, making it possible to attend Utah State University for a M.S. degree in Archaeology and Cultural Resource Management under Dr. Bonnie Pitblado. My Master's thesis is on the Petrographic Analysis of Gunnison Basin, Colorado Quartzites as part of an interdisciplinary team working to accurately source prehistoric quartzite toolstone. In the last two years, I have worked academic and contract Cultural Resource Management projects in Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming while presenting my research at conferences across the country. Currently, I am working at the University of Oklahoma with materials from the Late Paleoindian Chance Gulch site, and in January 2014 I will start a new job as an analyst using FTIR and petrography at the PaleoResearch Institute in Golden, Colorado. Through my classes and field experience at UNC I realized that I could combine my passions for the outdoors and history to a job that I enjoy.
- Kristen Sweet-McFarling '09
Kristen graduated from UNC in May 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology. After graduation, Kristen worked as a Labor and Employment Specialist for the Division of Unemployment Insurance in the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment in Denver, Colorado. In August 2011, Kristen began her graduate studies at Colorado State University and graduated with a Master of Arts degree in cultural anthropology and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies in August 2014. For her Master’s thesis, Kristen conducted ethnographic research with the members of an interactive website dedicated to the support and practice of polygyny in the U.S. Her study concludes that the naturalization of monogamous heterosexual marriage and the nuclear family has occurred in the U.S., due to a number of historical, social, cultural, political, and economic factors. Kristen recently accepted a Lecturer position with the Department of Anthropology at the University of Colorado Denver. She is eager to connect with students and share her passion for anthropology and the discipline’s relevancy and importance in today’s world.
- Christy Ross '08
- Christy (Chady) Montgomery '06
After graduation, Christy worked in UNC’s Archaeology Laboratory before starting graduate school. In 2007, she married another UNC alumnus (in Geography and Mathematics Education) and they are raising their two children in Thornton, CO. In 2012, she completed her Master’s degree in Anthropology with a focus in Archaeology at the University of Wyoming. She continues to work with Dr. Robert Brunswig on archaeological projects in the Rocky Mountains.
- Jeff Schiel '03
After graduation Jeff worked in construction in the Greeley and Fort Collins area before moving to Missoula, Montana where he attended the University of Montana and studied forensic anthropology. While in Missoula he worked with the Montana State Crime Lab on active forensic cases as well as the Missoula County Sheriff's Department. Jeff now teaches anthropology at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, CO. He enjoys hiking and backpacking. In the image below he is excavating a pig burial as part of a forensics exercise.