Anthropology Alumni

UNCW anthropology alumni have continued on to be successful in their concentration of choice. Check out some of our alumni updates!

  • Archaeology

    Didi el-Behaedi (Class of 2017)

    University of Chicago, PhD Anthropology (expected)
    UNCW, BA Anthropology 2017

    Is presently a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago. She’s just completed her first field season at Tell Edfu in Egypt. Didi shared, "I was able to excavate part of a large villa dating to the early New Kingdom period. In the villa, we found one of the earliest examples of a domestic sanctuary in ancient Egypt, in addition to very cool stelae, an offering table, and two complete statutes. During my time at Tell Edfu, my field directors were very happy with my excavation techniques and I told them it was all thanks to you [Dr. Reber]!" Didi was the recipient of the Society for American Archaeology's Historically underrepresented group scholarship (2016), as well as participating in two NASA internships, while at UNCW.






    luisa.jpgLuisa Aebersold (Class of 2012)

    The University of Texas at Austin, PhD Anthropology, 2018
    UNCW, BA Anthropology, 2012

    Luisa graduated from UNCW in December of 2012. She obtained her PhD from The University of Texas at Austin at the end of 2018. Her graduate research focused on the Ancient Maya cultural transition from the Archaic (8000 to 2000 BC) to the Preclassic Period (2000 BC – AD 250) in the Neotropics. Her field research primarily took place in Belize where she explored the magnitude and timing of impacts concerning early human-environmental dynamics. Specifically, evidence concerning the transition of subsistence strategies from semi-nomadic hunting and gathering into more intensive agriculture in the Maya Lowlands. Luisa employed a multi-proxy approach to address questions related to early anthropogenic change tied to the success of early sedentary villages in northern Belize. Fieldwork and geoarchaeological investigations provided insight concerning the long occupation of Colha and manipulation of the Blue Creek rejollada. Her research also included a botanical component which included a dental calculus study at Colha. Luisa’s modern ethnobotanical study also provided overlap in horticultural and agricultural practices in the region despite cultural and temporal distances between ancient and modern people. 

    Luisa now works as a Grant Program Coordinator in the Department of Behavioral Science at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Her primary role is to provide administrative support to the principal investigators, their research programs, and research administrative leadership in order to submit highly competitive proposals for cancer research. Luisa coordinates all support in administrative functions associated with the preparation and submission of grant proposals, including establishing and monitoring timelines, grant budget preparation, and formatting and completing documents. Luisa works closely with the Office of Sponsored Programs and maintains current and ongoing knowledge of policies, regulations, guidelines and procedures related to all types of proposal submissions.

  • Medical Anthropology

    David Dillon (Class of 2013)

    University of Florida PhD, Anthropology, 2020 (expected)
    University of Florida MA Anthropology, 2015
    University of Florida MPH Epidemiology, 2017
    UNCW, BA Anthropology, 2013

    David graduated from UNCW in December 2013. While in our program, he worked with Dr. Alexander on his immigration enforcement and migrant farmworker health project and presented a paper on this research at the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) annual meeting. He was also a research assistant in the bioarchaeology lab of biological anthropologist Dr. Dan Temple. For his Master of Arts in Anthropology at University of Florida he studied the health effects of pesticides exposure on commercial farms in Tanzania. For his Master of Public Health Epidemiology he worked at the Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology researching air pollution toxicants and morbidities associated with chronic exposure to emissions from incomplete combustion of biomass fuels. David is currently conducting PhD field research in Chipata, Zambia. The goal of this research is to investigate whether perceptions of risk and vulnerability act as mediators of human exposure to environmental toxicants associated with biomass fuel use. His work sits at the intersection of anthropology, toxicology, and public health. As such, it contributes to a range of contemporary global health and economic development efforts.


    Mary Brannock (Class of 2014)

    Duke, MSc Global Health, 2019
    UNCW, BA Anthropology, 2014

    Mary graduated from UNCW with a BA in Anthropology in December 2014. While in our program, Mary was a research assistant on Dr. Alexander's on-going migrant farmworker health project. Her contribution to this research took an in-depth look at social justice, morbidity, mortality and mobility issues experienced by undocumented farmworkers in eastern North Carolina. Their article (co-authored with Anthony Guevara) “Using Ethnographic Video to Casting Light in the Shadows of Checkpoints” appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of Practicing Anthropology. Since graduating from UNCW she worked in human services, social innovation and received a Master of Science in Global Health from Duke University. Her most current research is titled “Investigating Attitudes and Preferences of a Pregnancy Support Chatbot within Facebook’s Social Media Platform Amongst Pregnant Women in Kenya – a Feasibility Study.” This project focused on the idea of bringing free personalized pregnancy health information to women in Kenya. She built a chatbot using Human Centered Design (HCD), a very anthropological (and participatory) approach to innovation. Her team found that using this approach improved the acceptance of a chatbot guide for pregnancy and increased access. Other experiences include, Director of Operations at Duke Interdisciplinary Social Innovators where she leads teams of graduate students who provide pro-bono consulting to organizations with demonstrated need. Also, she’s served as a Global Innovation Ambassador for the company Tekmountain and as the Director of Program Development for the company Learning Perspectives. These combined experiences, along with UNCW training in medical anthropology, encouraged her to forge paths in which she can be innovative in her approach to serve vulnerable populations and their self-identified needs.


    Ann Vitous (Class of 2013)

    University of South Florida, MA Biocultural Medical Anthropology, MPH Global Health, 2017
    UNCW, BA Anthropology, 2013

    Ann Vitous graduated from our program in Fall 2013. While at UNCW she worked with Dr. Alexander, who directed her Honors thesis “Sustainable Health in Rural Panama: An Ethnographic Approach.” This research was based on her fieldwork conducted during the Summer of 2013. The following Fall she began graduate studies at the University of South Florida where she received a dual degree in Biocultural Medical Anthropology (MA) and Global Health (MPH) in 2017. During her time as a graduate student, Ann was funded under a NSF- research project conducted by an interdisciplinary team of anthropologists and engineers exploring how local village councils, environmental NGOs, tourism organizations, and other community members experienced change in livelihoods, water resources, and the coastal environment as large-scale tourism rapidly expanded. In addition to the work in Belize, Ann was also part of a team evaluating food insecurity and healthcare decision making among mobile food pantry clients in Tampa Bay.

    After graduating, Ann accepted a position as a research analyst for the Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy (CHOP) at the University of Michigan. In this position, Ann has provided qualitative research consultation and expertise on a range of surgical and clinical topics including but not limited to: variation in surgical practice, utilization of palliative care services, evaluation of leadership development programs, and an exploration of the role that gender inequities and implicit bias play in both institutional culture and patient-outcomes. In addition to her work at the University of Michigan, Ann also works as a part-time consultant for the Pacific Institute of Research and Evaluation (PIRE). Her focus in this position has been evaluations, including a program aimed at Reducing LGBTQI Adolescent Suicide and a comparative effectiveness trial to reduce child maltreatment, improve client outcomes and examine client burden in the state of New Mexico.

    Kiliany.pngRachel Kiliany (Class of 2012)

    Georgia Southern Univeristy, MPH Community Health, 2015
    UNCW, BA Anthropology, 2012

    While in the Anthropology program, Rachel Kiliany completed the Honors Project “Cultural Influences on Natural Birthing in the Modern Age,” under the direction of Dr. Alexander.  For her thesis, she conducted ethnographic interviews and researched the birth doula and midwife movements in North Carolina. After graduating from UNCW in 2012, Rachel earned a Master of Public Health, with a concentration in community health, from the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University. As a graduate assistant, she worked for the University Wellness Program, creating, implementing, and evaluating health and wellbeing interventions for students, faculty, and staff. This included writing a proposal that resulted in the creation of an 8-week wellness development program that allowed staff to take time out of the workday to participate in a holistic wellbeing curriculum that Rachel created and led. After graduating, she assumed the position of Health Promotion Specialist in the Office of Health Promotion at the University of Virginia. In this role, Rachel leads UVA’s sexual harm prevention work by creating, implementing, and evaluating both universal and targeted interventions around the prevention of sexual harm, specifically through bystander intervention. She has also co-taught Psychology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality courses on culture change and the prevention of gender-based violence. Her research has focused on measuring students’ attitudes, confidence, and intention to act in situations where they are bystanders to sexual harm.

  • Biological Anthropology

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  • Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology

    thumbnail_Juliet-Wiebe-King-pic.jpgJuliet Wiebe-King (Class of 2013)

    University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce, MS, 2015 

    UNCW, BA in Anthropology/International Studies, 2013

    While in our program, Juliet worked with Dr. Alexander on his migrant farmworker health and immigrant policing project. Her ethnographic interviews and research contributions to that project formed the basis of her Honors thesis “Migrant Health Issues Relating to Pesticides in North Carolina,” which he directed. Juliet’s thesis received “Honors Global Citizen Recognition” from the Honors College and she presented information from it at the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) annual meeting in Denver in 2013.  After graduating from UNCW with a dual degree in Anthropology and International Studies, she attended the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce, from which she received a Masters of Science in Commerce (Marketing and Management emphasis) in August 2015.

     Juliet is currently VP of Business Development for Red River Foods, a U.S. supplier of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and specialty snacks. The company’s mission is to source quality foods, provide expert market insight, and develop sustainable supply chains from around the world. Red River works on vertical integration of local producers. They also train farmers on best agricultural practices and assist in the creation of farmer cooperatives to ensure quality and fair pricing.  Juliet is also President of their 501c3 nonprofit that she created called the Red River Foods Foundation. In her work, she travels constantly to visit farmers, factories and teams on the ground, in places such as Bolivia, Brazil, Vietnam, China, and various countries in West Africa.

    thumbnail_RMcCauley-Headshot.jpgRachel McCauley (Class of 2017)

    Columbia University, Teachers College, Communication Sciences and Disorders, MS 2021 (expected)  
    UNCW, BA Anthropology, 2017

    Rachel graduated from UNCW in December 2017 with a BA in Anthropology and a minor in Biology.  After surveying the fields of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology in a Directed Individual Study with Dr. Alexander, she designed and completed the Honors project “Examining the Significance of African American English Vernacular to Speech-Language Pathology” under his direction. In this research, she conducted ethnographic interviews with speech language pathologists on their perceptions of and training in African American English dialects. She is currently pursuing a MS in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City.  This degree, combined with a clinical fellowship and licensing exam, will allow her to become a practicing speech-language pathologist.  Rachel’s expected graduation date is in May 2021. This program is dedicated to providing their graduate students with immense clinical and academic knowledge, while also developing their ethical awareness and related skills.  This ethical awareness is meant to help students serve increasingly diverse local and worldwide communities. The program offers opportunities to participate in ongoing faculty research, as well as opportunities to partake in international programs in either Ghana or Latin America. She plans to participate in the month-long Ghana program next year. She will be working with doctors in teaching hospitals, as well as with special education teachers in schools.

  • Forensic Science

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