2018 Graduates

Katherine Dezsofi:  “Learning through Experience:  Ethnographic Observation of Irish Farming Practices in Dublin”  Ireland has become an incredibly popular tourist attraction ever since the end of the second World War. Despite its tourist charms, Ireland is home to a complex culture that has been shaped and molded by the ancient practice of agriculture. Irish agriculture is extremely prevalent and can be seen in many forms including that of livestock, peat and grasslands farming. Grassland agriculture is a dominant force within present day Irish agriculture. This paper addresses my three-month internship in Dublin Ireland with the Smart Grassland Systems Project at University College Dublin. The internship focused on learning about how to create more ecological farming practices that will still result in high density yields for farmers. This paper also describes the other learning outcomes and volunteer opportunities I experienced as well as social and cultural aspects of living in Ireland.

Celia Johnson: “10 Weeks of Learning, a Lifetime of Knowledge: My Internship at the Independence Heritage Museum” During winter term 2017 I interned at the Independence Heritage Museum in Independence, Oregon. This internship was to fulfill the ANTH 413 Field Experience course required for Anthropology majors on the non-thesis track. Over the course of 10 weeks, I fulfilled this requirement, putting in over 200 hours in total. Many of the 120+ hours I spent actually at the museum were dedicated to assisting the museum employees with inputting artifact information into the computer catalog system. I also spent time training other volunteers to assist me in the cataloging of the photo artifacts. Because this museum has become special to me and desperately needs extra hands, I’ve decided to stay on as a volunteer for as long as possible to continue with the on-going projects.

Jody King:  “Women Mill Workers: An Examination of How Childhood and Career Shape our World and Cultural Views” I interned with the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem, Oregon. At the Willamette Heritage Center, I studied the oral narratives of five women woolen mill workers by transcribing audio recordings. In their narratives, I observed direct correlations between a work ethic instilled from a young age and those individuals ending up in a wage labor occupation. I specifically focused on the life of Dora Barnes (Lehman) whose parents emigrated from Germany where they were mill workers. In Salem, they continued a life of mill work and farming. This early exposure to hard work and factory labor influenced Dora into working at the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill, in Salem, Oregon, for 21 years.

Curran Kleen-Brown: “War Wounds: An Internship at an Ever-Growing Museum” As a requirement for graduation from Western Oregon Universities Anthropology Department, Students must complete either an internship, or a study abroad program. I chose to intern at the Museum of Mental Health, a museum dedicated to the history of the Salem Hospital and to mental health. This paper recounts my ten-week duration at the museum, noting the skills I learned, insights I gained, and my accomplishments while I was there, as well as connecting it to the learning outcomes of the Anthropology Department.

Mark Nicolaysen: “A Summer with the Brunks:  Museum Studies and Hands on Application” Over the course of ten weeks during the summer of 2017, I was given the opportunity to apply the tools I have acquired as a student of anthropology at WOU through hands on experience at The Polk County Museum, and its affiliate, The Brunk House Historical House. The Brunk House, where the majority of my internship took place, seeks to provide patrons with a glimpse of how life was lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries through the eyes of the agrarian Brunk family.  As an intern, my responsibilities included cataloging artifacts, participating in various fundraising events, and writing letters of support for grant proposals, all important aspects of a museum’s operation that students are taught in ANTH 360 Museum Studies. Through an anthropological perspective, I will analyze my encounters and experiences with The Polk County Historical Society, while simultaneously detailing the ways ANTH 360 has helped to prepare me for my internship. 

Cody Peak: “Indigenous Archaeology: Field Methods and Experiences at Grand Ronde”   Attending the University of Washington’s Field Methods in Indigenous Archaeology field school on the Grand Ronde Reservation, was an opportunity to learn and practice archaeology with an indigenous and collaborative framework. Working in partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and the Grand Ronde Tribal Historic Preservation Office the field school created a learning environment focused on partnership, minimizing archaeological impact, decolonializing archaeology, as well as the recognition of indigenous epistemologies and histories. The experiences I will discuss will highlight the advantages of working in this comprehensive setting and the many things I learned over the course of the school.

Zairet Solis:  “Semester Abroad in Puerto Rico:  The Enchanted Island”  Through the National Student Exchange Program here at Western Oregon University, I was presented with the incredible opportunity of attending the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras. From August 2016 to December 2016, I found myself living in Rio Piedras, a borough of San Juan, where I spent four months experiencing a new culture, meeting new people and creating countless memories that will stay with me for a lifetime. This paper is a reflection on the reality of what my time was like during my stay in The Enchanted Island, from the very good and exciting times, to the feelings of homesickness and frustrations from culture shock, all the while finding ways to cope and adapt to a new environment.


2017 Graduates

Teiel Allen: “Preservation through Modernization: An Internship at the Independence Heritage Museum” Confronting the ever-evolving world and its need for an adaptable museum is an arduous process. One must consider funding, audience, and preservation of artifacts. Bringing the museum to the digital forefront helps solve some of those issues but what is does it mean to bring a museum into this arena and how is it done? The Independence Heritage Museum is currently undergoing a transition into making artifacts and education more accessible. They are doing this by building a website that contains links to virtual tours, scanned artifacts, historical facts, newsletters, and eventually a virtual encyclopedia of the museum itself. The museum is also in the works of making a lift so that peoples with disabilities can access the museum easily. Online there currently is a book for purchase that will show a reader around the museum. I worked on the scanned artifacts, the encyclopedia of the museum and assisted briefly on the online book. I also assisted in building exhibits and restoring artifacts for continuing the physical care of the museum. My findings were that while transitioning the museum into a digital age is important it is also important to remember to keep the culture of the county in mind. People who come to the museum want to feel a connection to the artifacts and that will go for the online exhibits as well. If we bring stories to light that make a personal connection with the patrons, whether through familiarity or revelation, then we are doing something worthwhile.

Nicole Larsen: “Winter in the Canadian Maritimes: Study Abroad at Cape Breton University” The island of Cape Breton is rich in Celtic and Mi’kmaq culture, and is home to scenic wonders, such as the Cape Breton Highlands and the Cabot Trail, that attract visitors from all over the world. With support from the Killam Fellowships Program, a semester exchange was undertaken at Cape Breton University (CBU), located in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Despite being rurally located, one-third of the student population is international, and the campus continually buzzes with academic and extracurricular events. This capstone project expands on Cape Breton culture, and the experience of studying at a host university in Canada. Overall, it seeks to demonstrate how studying abroad enhanced my degree program, and how anthropological coursework offered preparation for a successful exchange experience.

Suyang Lei: “English Language and Cultural Institute” This paper examines the role that I did my internship and observation at English Language and Cultural Institute (ELCI) which is close to Western Oregon University (WOU). In this paper, I will tell how teacher and students communicate and interact with each other in classes. I will explain how students make their efforts on their study after school and also how students make a progress step by step.

Jeanne Kate McCaslin: “Resisting Language Shift in Polk County, Oregon: Bilingualism among Young Mexican-Americans” Since the 1960s, the primary model used in the United States to explain and predict language shift among immigrant populations has shown a three-generational shift from ethnic language monolingualism to English monolingualism. However, whether this model can be applied to some Latino populations, who show sustained bilingualism, has been contested in more recent studies. This ethnographic study investigated language use among young Oregonians with Mexican heritage in Polk County. Drawing on participant observation and on formal and informal interviews, I discuss the resilience of Spanish language use in this population. The results suggest that there may be decreased Spanish language use by young Mexican-Americans as compared to their parents and grandparents’ generations, but that they do communicate in both languages. Findings show personal identity and ideology, education, and family and community context as some of the key contributing factors influencing language use in this population. Further, that the demographic profile of the Monmouth-Independence community and the nature of the Western Oregon University campus contribute to an atmosphere that supports bilingualism.

Jessica A. Mylan: “Sustainable Tourism in Costa Rica: Aligning Tourists’ Interests with Local Development” Sustainability in small communities preserves the natural environment while benefiting the lifestyles of community members by promoting human welfare. One quarter of Costa Rica’s export income comes from tourism, with ecotourism being the most prominent form of tourism. The field research of this study was conducted in the regions of Tárcoles, Carara National Park, and Jacó along the Pacific Coast in Costa Rica where tourists who visit other local attractions often bypass Tárcoles. It explored which services interest tourists, what activities tourists travel to Costa Rica for, and the sustainable services they are willing to pay for. Multiple surveys, semi-structured interviews, and participant observation were the methods for data collection. The analysis of the data suggests that there are opportunities in Tárcoles for the community to take advantage of the tourists visiting nearby attractions and develop sustainable services that preserve the environment and create economic benefits for locals.

Stewart Patterson: “Remembering How to be a Veteran: Spring Internship 2016” This internship concludes my experience working for the Veterans Administration at the Salem Veterans Center in Salem Oregon. During the course of my internship I’ve highlighted both new and old skills vital to the workplace. These skills acquired will surely be invaluable in my efforts to successfully integrate into the federal workforce. Throughout this paper I also point out many different cultural aspects pertaining to the veteran community. Veterans tend to belong to a hidden community within plain sight and abide by a sense of honor and belonging regardless of heritage, affiliation, physiology, or age. For the readers of this paper I hope to share my thoughts and knowledge to better help you understand this community and what it is to be a veteran.

Roben Roemer: “Knitting in 21st Century America: The Culture and Ideology of Knitting Groups in Rural Oregon” Knitting has existed since the Middle Ages, and continues to thrive well into twenty-first century America. Why do people continue to knit, and why do knitters form themselves into social groups? This senior thesis investigates these and related questions in order to understand the culture of knitting and how knitters keep the practice alive. Drawing on participant observation and oral interviews, it further examines the identities knitters construct as members of knitting communities in rural Oregon, the differences in the craft based on the knitting practices employed, the materials and the patterns used, the gender ideologies of learning how to knit, and the role of online interactions.

Kathryn Sinor: “Life and Death at the Deepwood Estate: An Internship” Spanning the course of several months, I interned at Deepwood Museum and Gardens in Salem, Oregon. The historic home provided a unique opportunity to utilize anthropological methods in a real setting, and by the completion of my internship, I gained a better understanding of research and preservation.

Jingwen Tan: “The ‘real’ melting pot: Study Abroad in University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada” This study abroad paper will document the experience that I had while studying abroad in Vancouver, Canada at the University of British Columbia during the Fall Semester of 2014. It will expand upon the differences and similarities that I have observed from a place of comfort and understanding, such as my small town in the Northwestern United States, and the shocking and stimulating big city everyday learning adventure that is Vancouver, BC. The Killam fellowship makes such dreams achievable through their scholarships. Available to those with the opportunity to experience a dramatic change from rural to urban, impoverished to middle class and mono-cultural to multi cultural lifestyle.

Ana Trujillo: Fall in Independence: My Internship at the Heritage Museum”  Over the course of Fall Term I spend 121.5 hours interning at the Heritage Museum in Independence. I got firsthand experience in accessioning using a museum program called Past Perfect, handling artifacts with care, and witnessing the day to day operations of a museum. My experience here was valuable as an Anthropology major because I dealt with artifact preservation as well as gaining insight into a career in museum curation. I would recommend an internship at the Heritage Museum to any anthropology major interested in museums.


2016 Graduates

Aiden Fischer: “Internship at the Heritage Museum of Independence”  While working at the Heritage Museum of Independence, my eyes were opened to the wonderful world of museums. The prerequisite Anthropology 360 Museum Studies course had sparked my interest, but I did not yet understand the detailed and tedious work that was put into managing all aspects of museums. This internship fit the anthropology program because museums contribute to preserving the past. I started my volunteer experience during mid-March and finished in early June. In total, I have achieved near 180 hours of volunteer work experience. I learned several new skills because this internship included the management of exhibits and displays, use of museum specific software, the accession process, and artifact preservation. The knowledge gained from this work experience will foster success in future occupations. My final presentation for the Academic Excellence Showcase was designed to promote the museum and the wonderful stories it preserves, while providing future internship possibilities to anthropology students.

Joshua L. Henderson:  “Digital Technology and a New Era for Archaeology:  Cooper’s Ferry, Idaho”  The field of archaeology has a longstanding set of traditional research methods. I argue in favor of implementing a new series of digital and three dimensional methods that will not only change how archaeology is conducted, but will open the door to invaluable new information that was previously inaccessible. This project draws on my experience at the 2015 Cooper’s Ferry field school conducted by Oregon State University. OSU is on the cutting edge of these new digital technologies, as they aim to discover new information about Western Stemmed Tradition peoples that thrived in the Great Basin around 13,000 years ago. The responsibility of our discipline is to tell the whole story of these early Americans. I argue that this can only be done with the use of digital and three dimensional technologies, as this will expose new information and further preserve the integrity of the sites and collections we study.


2015 Graduates

Sarah Addington: “2014 Field Experience in London, United Kingdom”

Isamar Aguirre: “Study Abroad in Rosario, Argentina”  This essay will describe the steps I took in order to prepare for studying abroad, my study abroad experience, my reflections on the experience, regrets, and advice.  I will also discuss how this experience has impacted my understanding of anthropological fieldwork.

Joshua Lasky: “The Perfect Match: How Online Dating has Affected Courtship Rituals in the Willamette Valley of Oregon” The increased use of online dating has raised various questions regarding shifts in contemporary courtship rituals worldwide. To better understand the effects of online dating on courtship today, I conducted an ethnographic research project situated in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, a region characterized as a primarily rural, working-class and agricultural region surrounded by booming wine and craft beer industries and a range of small-scale academic institutions. In addition to informally discussing this topic with 30 adults in the valley, I worked directly with 10 adult participants over a 6-month period from July to December of 2014. Utilizing participant-observation, a demographic survey, an open-answer topic questionnaire, and a semi-structured ethnographic interview, I that online dating gives people new ways to practice courtship, but does not necessarily change why people court each other. In essence, while the motive for courtship remains the same, the means by which adults in Willamette Valley find potential relationships has changed via online technology. As a result, courtship rituals have changed via how they are played out, but the underlying purpose of courtship remains the same. In this thesis, I begin with a discussion of how the use of online dating has changed over the past 20+ years and how public perspectives towards the practice have shifted. I then present my research project, highlighting the methodology employed and my research findings. I conclude by delineating the role online services play in the courtship rituals of adults looking for relationship and love, and demonstrate the need for further research regarding virtual courtship practices in the United States.

Ashley Lowes: “The Big South: South Caicos, TCI 2014”

Devin Lowrey: “ANTH 413 Final Report”

Amber Pearson: “My Three Month Journey in Cape Town” This short essay covers the many different aspects of leaving for a long term stay in a foreign country and working in an orphanage with children affected by apartheid. South Africa is a country that is rich in history and culture but is still in the process of leaving behind the hard times of oppression and poverty due to the prior apartheid government system. During apartheid, racial segregation of the whites from the blacks, coloureds, and Indians cause catastrophic outcomes that South Africa is still trying to overcome. Although abolished over a decade ago in 1991, apartheid still continues to haunt South Africa with poverty and disparity. Decisions on the best actions to take for a multitude of situations pertaining to differences of culture and ancestry are discussed. Living in a new country also means that there are new things to see, hear, and taste, things you would have a hard time finding in your native homeland. This journey opened my eyes to a whole different way of living and surviving. This is my journey in Cape Town, South Africa and the internship that changed my views on poverty versus prosperity.


2014 Graduates

Jo A. Bruno:  “Service-Learning Trip From Western Oregon University To Arcahaie, Haiti, Winter Break 2013”

Meghan Day: “Methamphetamine in the Willamette Valley: Media & Cultural Influences on Individual Perceptions of “Meth” Addiction”  My senior research project investigated the social and cultural beliefs surrounding use of and addiction to methamphetamine (“meth”) in the Willamette Valley. The goal was to gain an understanding of public perceptions regarding the drug and those addicted to it. Research data for this project were gathered through a random sample survey of individuals, an analysis of film and television shows, and review of other secondary sources. Preliminary analysis suggests that, in addition to media representation, perceptions regarding meth and individuals addicted to the drug are often informed by multiple factors including class, gender and ethnicity.

Bethany Haight: “Willamette Heritage Center: A Museum Internship”  The Willamette Heritage Center at The Mill in Salem, Oregon is housed in a woolen textile mill that was in use for over seventy years, from the end of the nineteenth century until 1962. Shortly after the mill closed it was purchased with the intention of converting it into a museum. Today the location serves not only as a historic museum but as an event center as well, and provides a perspective and experience that is unique for this region of the United States. Over the course of three months in the spring of 2014 I interned at the museum. This opportunity provided me with the chance to obtain real-world experience in a museum stetting as well as gave me knowledge that will be useful in enhancing my life and future career. In addition, my work recataloging and rehousing the museum’s textile storage provided me with a source of invaluable background knowledge for my Honors Senior Thesis, completed simultaneously and entitled “The Impact of World War I on American Women’s Fashion.”

Megan Stinson: “Internship Review”  During the summer and early fall of 2013, from June 24th through September 23, I partnered with the cultural Exhibits and Archives Department of the Grande Ronde Museum under the direction of Dr. David Lewis, Julie Brown, and Veronica Montano. During the course of this internship, I performed many tasks related to the preservation and documentation of donated exhibit and cultural materials. Included in these tasks was the organization and setting up of a proper catalog that the museum could continue to use after my internship had ended. Through these activities, I learned the importance of analyzing and preserving visual and textual cultural materials, with particular emphasis on the anthropological importance.


2013 Graduates

Kathryn Bennett: ”  ”

Diedra K. Cates: “Family Reaffirmation and Dyadic Belonging: The Effects of Globalization and Transnational Adoption on Korean-American Adoptees in the Willamette Valley” Since 1953, over 150 million South Korean children have been adopted by American families. This ethnography will explore the experiences of those who were adopted through Holt International Children’s Services in the Willamette Valley and are a part of a transracial family. I intend to unravel the ways in which Korean-American adoptees are affected by globalization; the state of public/governmental discourse on international adoption; the way transracial families reaffirm the validity of their socially constructed families; and finally, how Korean-American adoptees address their dyadic identity. By examining these themes this project will illustrate the interdependency of all processes, institutions, and individuals.

Kathrine Gower: ”  “

Kelsey Hinton: “COSTA RICA: a study abroad experience”

Jonathon Lewis: “The Heritage of a City: Internship in Independence”  There are many tools that we can use to look through a window into history.  Museums are a great example of institutions that keep history alive using these tools.  The first is the oral and written histories, which can be things like newspaper clippings or a recording of a person recounting the days of childhood in 1850.  Another tool is objects that can be preserved to tell a story of function and reason for inception.  These tools combined give us a decent but small picture of what has passed in our history and who was around in those times. It has been said by people in history that we can’t understand the present without understanding the past.  This paper seeks to explain, reflect, and demonstrate how a historic community museum is made, maintained, and used in the public sphere in the present day.

Katie Selby: “My Study Abroad Experience in Athens, Greece”


2012 Graduates

Katy Ahlvin: “The Burden of the Kayayei:  Cultural and Socio-economic Difficulties Facing Female Porters in Agbogbloshie” This paper explores the experiences of Ghanaian migrant girl porters known as Kayayei who have been driven by economic and other hardships from their home region in the Northern part of the country to the capital city Accra.  I describe some of the specific circumstances that drive these teenage girls to the city, and the challenges they face in the urban informal Ghanaian economy. As participant-observer of one group of Kayeyei during my AHA internship, I discuss preliminary findings of my of observations of the cultural and social world inhabited by these marginalized girls, mainly from their personal narratives.

Raven Graham: “Constructing Identities: Native American Music in the 21st Century” Music is a cultural phenomenon. It has increased in popularity, number of genres, and range of distribution during the 20th and 21st centuries. Concurrently, Native American musicians have been incorporating these new genres into their culture and making contributions to the musical field. As modern music is integrated into their cultures, how do Native Americans perceive their musical identities and how are they constructed? Although Native American music is gradually becoming an entertainment art form on the media circuit, it still reminds current generations of their ancestors and heritage, and expresses Native pride.

Katherine Lankins:  “Glasnevin Museum:  International Internship in Dublin, Ireland.”


2011 Graduates

Susan Hicks: “‘Til Death Do Us Part: Examining Relationships among Oregon Department of Revenue Property Tax Retirees” Previous studies have examined what circumstances, qualities, and activities lead to a positive transition and adjustment to retirement, by focusing on the individual and not the preretirement work group. This research project examines the experiences of members of a social group of retirees of the Property Tax Division of the Oregon Department of Revenue, who appear to have transitioned from the work group to retirement quite well. Through surveys, participant-observation, and informal conversations, my research adds to the aspect of a collective identity from a shared work history to the body of work on what leads to a successful, fulfilling retirement.

Colin J. Dlugas: “Cap Stone Project in Collections Management at Oregon State Hospital Museum”


2010 Graduates

Lauren Bowden: “A Thriving Social Tradition: Modern American Consumerism and the Quilting Tradition in the Willamette Valley” According to the traditional household and gender divisions of labor, a major occupation for women in the United States for over two hundred years has been the craft of quiltmaking. Drawing on anthropological insights of the cultural perspective of commodities and interviews I will conduct with women quilters in the Willamette Valley, this study will explore the effects of mass production and consumerism on the contemporary quilting industry and its evolution over the past fifty years. It will examine the reasons lying behind the continuous survival of this tradition to understand what role quiltmaking plays in the larger U.S. society.

Lisa Catto: “Mortuary Archaeology: Studying Human Remains is Still Necessary in the 21st Century” This thesis argues that mortuary archaeology is still an important area of research to understand the past. We can learn a great deal from human remains, material remains associated with graves, funerary practices and cemetery organization, about nutrition, pathology, religious beliefs, ritual practices, kinship and social organization. This information could prove useful in modern circumstances, to understand how past societies dealt with challenges that continue to confront humanity. To gain direct evidence from human remains, it is vital that archaeologists act ethically, work with descendant populations, and limit excavations to graves endangered by erosion, construction, looting, or natural disaster.

Samantha Dunkel: “Religion versus Evolution: American Museum Representation of Two Ideologies.” Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species (1859) initiated heated debate over the scientific basis of evolutionary theory and the validity of Creationism. In the United States, the controversy has taken on ideological meaning, generating much literature and public discourse. This study examines two museums in the Pacific Northwest that play opposing roles, promoting either evolution or creationist ideologies in the public sphere. I draw insights from anthropological debates on representation and interviews I conducted with museum staff and patrons to show how the museum may serve as a site for ideological education of the public.

Laura Gage: “Born American, Becoming Irish: Imagined Dual Identities.” In the United States, much attention has been focused on the border-crossing experience of Latin American immigrants, to the neglect of immigrants such as the Irish and Italians who are assumed to be absorbed into the melting pot of U.S. culture. Drawing on fieldwork conducted among Irish Americans in the U.S., this study will demonstrate that the American Irish are also responding to globalization by reimagining and reclaiming their ethnic identity, culture and heritage. I draw on Anderson’s insights of imagined communities to explain why descendants of Irish immigrants are becoming dual citizens of the U.S. and Republic of Ireland.

Ashley Sexton: “Teen Pregnancy on the Rise in Willamina: Seeking to Understand a Rural Oregon Town’s Predicament” About 7 percent of all pregnancies in the United States occur among teenage girls (15-19 years old), the highest teen pregnancy rate among industrialized countries worldwide. In Oregon, the rate is 5.7 percent, with rural areas hovering between 6 and 7 percent. This ethnographic study examines teen pregnancy in the rural town of Willamina, Oregon, where the number is startlingly high. I conducted participant-observation in the community for three months, asking individuals “what is influencing the high rate,” and “how it can be lowered?” This study also sheds light on the costs to society of teen pregnancy.

Katherine Tremont: “The Mycenaean Footprint: Environmental Impact in Late Bronze Age Greece” This research project examines the environmental impact of the Mycenaean culture in the Messenian region of Greece during the Late Bronze Age, focusing on four areas of impact: habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity, agriculture and removal of ground cover, expanding settlement and urbanization, and growth of administrative hierarchies and complex societies. Archaeological data from Messenia and other areas of Greece are used to reconstruct the environmental impact during that time. This project finds that even in the Late Bronze Age, there was significant human impact in all four areas used for assessment. With this project, I hope to encourage further research in environmental archaeology, especially within the context of classical cultures, and assist in providing insight about environmental changes in the present.


2009 Graduates

Joy Charron: “The Working Child: Industrialization and Child Labor at the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill” Using information gathered from the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill and archival sources, I designed and executed an exhibit on how child labor has changed throughout history in American textile factories and how American corporations are connected to the issue today. The exhibit itself is a means to present the issue of child labor to those who view it and also an example of how to give the issue exposure and educate the public. Views on child labor have shifted between the rise of the textile industry and industrialization and the present day.

Mat Davila: “Uncovering New Philadelphia: Communicating the Relevance of History through Archaeology.” An archaeological study of a blacksmith shop refuse pile uncovered in 2006 at the New Philadelphia, Illinois townsite. This study investigates the artifacts resulting from the preliminary excavation of the blacksmith shop at New Philadelphia through the use of documentary and ethnoarchaeological data. It is the goal of this project to illustrate with greater depth, the technology and behavior that created the artifacts in the refuse pile, as an effort to aid further excavation.

Mary Wright: “Rescuing 911: Adrift in a Sea of Stress, Staffing and Conflicting Identities” Across the United States, 911 emergency call centers are confronted with myriad problems including chronic understaffing and difficulty retaining qualified personnel. Stress from exposure to critical incidents or excessive overtime is often presumed as the cause for employee burnout. However, this paper argues that within routine calls are hidden conflict zones within which public safety communicators struggle with amorphous and conflicting identities. This paper examines the identity switches occurring during actual calls from the different groups using emergency dispatch services through sociolinguistic analysis of different language registers and patterns of thought.


2008 Graduates

Amy Franzen: “Colonias and Crayons: An Anthropological Study of Children’s Futures in Ladrillera, a colonia in a U.S.-Mexico Border Town.” An anthropological study of families and their children in the colonia of Ladrillera, located in the U.S.-Mexico border town of Agua Prieta, Sonora, based on field research conducted during the summer of 2007 while taking part in WOU’s first ever U.S.-Mexico border field school. This paper utilizes the theories of underdevelopment and dependency to help us understand the experiences of children and families and examines the cultural, economic, and systemic causes of their current plight in the poorer and underdeveloped neighborhoods of the city.

Jesus Zarate: “Sitting with a SMILE.” My research demonstrates that the continuous need for positive social environment is necessary for the treatment success of renal failure patients. This research proposes that the distinctive networks of each patient has an effect on the social atmosphere of the clinic itself and finally on the holistic health of the patients. The benefit of this paper is to address the importance of a positive social networking and to make this knowledge available.


2007 Graduates

Nicole Juergeson: “Making Homes Out of RVs: Alternative Housing in Rural Southern Oregon.” An exploratory ethnographic project will identify why low-income families in Grants Pass use RVs as a form of alternative housing and how they create a sense of home in those RVs.

Melissa Moch: “Starbucks and the Reimagination of Identity in a small-town.” It would be a difficult task to attempt to find some region of our country that Starbucks had not affected in some way.  The urban-culture it portrays and the universality of their high quality products has led this astoundingly successful coffee company to reach even into the societies of rural America.  The small town of Dallas, Oregon is no exception.  In this paper, I will explore what draws Dallas residents to Starbucks, why residents are so accepting of this new addition to the economy and why some prefer it to local businesses, and how residents are reacting to this global corporation by reimagining their identity.

Danny Sprinkle: “Enough Sand to Go Around?:A Political Ecology study Of the Imperial Sand Dunes.” This project investigates cultures of recreation in political ecology. It will explore the composition of Duners (recreationalists) economic and social interactions in the Imperial Valley Sand Dunes. It seeks to understand how the Duners use the land, how the government affects the Duners and the land itself, and how the government uses different tools to influence and control the Duners.These two groups have conceptualized the land in dissimilar ways, which has caused tension as a result. The goal of this project is to assess how this tension is caused and lay a possible framework of reconciliation between these two groups.

Christy Golden: “Marketing Culture: The Effects of Tourist Market Production on Nahua Identity.” During study at the Universidad Latina de America in Morelia, Mexico, Christy engaged in participant observation of the artisan market community to learn about the relationship between traditional and commodified material culture. Summer 2006.

Daniel Kuehnel: “Hometown Pride: A Community’s Cultural Identity Constructed through Publication.” My study examines how the community newspaper of Silverton, Oregon, helps to construct the cultural identity of the town’s residents as being a part of a small-town American community. The citizens of Silverton generally hold the Silverton Appeal-Tribune in high esteem, despite complaints about lack of coverage, improper grammar, and missed deliveries. Although the newspaper itself (as a product) may construct the identity of the Silvertonian culture, those who produce the newspaper are actors in the same community that is portrayed. Therefore, it is the actors behind the Appeal-Tribune that construct not only the cultural identity of other residents in the town, but also their own. Viewed through the lens of practice theory, the Silverton Appeal-Tribune becomes a channel of communication between the news reporters and the community. This study takes an actor-based approach, examining not only those who consume the product, but also those who construct it and perpetuate the town’s culture.

Laura Soules: “Rock Walls and Rusted Dreams: An Archaeological Examination of Homesteading On the Crooked River National Grassland, Oregon.” An archaeological survey of homesteads on the Crooked River National Grassland in Jefferson County, Ore., based on archival and field research conducted during the summer of 2006. Combining anthropological, historical, and geographic perspectives, this paper focuses on Central Oregon’s place in the process of westward expansion in the United States. It examines the cultural, economic, and ecological causes for collapse in the 1930s and the ways in which those events have contributed to modern conditions on the Grassland. Also included is a discussion of cognized environments and the ways in which they shape human understanding of the world through culture and individual interaction with the landscape.

Beth A. Shute Fleisher: “Converting the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde: Exploring Factors Influencing Persistence of Tribal Religious Lifeways.” Survey and interview research among members of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde investigated effects of coercive conversion strategies employed by missionaries in the period before Termination. Summer 2005, 2006.


2006 Graduates

Megin Ellis: “Inclusion or Exclusion: A Museum’s Search for Balance Between Social Classes.” Megin’s internship at the Jekyll Island Museum provided an opportunity to explore the relationship between the elite, exclusive club culture commemorated by the museum and the community that visits the present day, publically-owned recreation area. Summer 2006.

Rachel Freel: “Ancient Pompeii: A City of Continuous Change. ” While working as an excavation team member with the University of Bradford’s Anglo-American Project in Pompeii, Rachel investigated how the city’s economic and social life changed over the centuries before its destruction. Summer 2006.

Nini Callan: “Mt. Angel Monastery and the Ecology of Migration.”

Christopher S. Harker: “Battle Scars: Pain and Ritual in Contemporary American Tattooing.” Ethnographic research among tattoo artists and wearers in Salem and Portland focuses on aspects of the tattooing ritual that create a sense of community. Summer 2005.

Heather Maxwell: “Identity Creation in Skateboarders.” Ethnographic research among frequenters of the Newberg Skate Park explores the creation of identity in members of the skater community with a focus on dimensions of leisure time, space, gender, and consumption. Summer and fall 2005.

Erica Meyer: “Art Harvest and the Creation of Community.” Participant observation and interviews with artists during the Yamhill County Art Harvest Studio Tour exploring the impact of the tour on the lives and reputations of the artists and on the bonds among members of the community. Summer and fall 2005.

William Tornquist: “An Exploratory Study of Retirement: A Transition into Retirement.” Explores the ritual and process of moving from work to retirement as a new social phenomenon. Why do people stop working and how well do they adjust to this new phase of life? Based on six months of participant observation on communities of retirees in three different states. Spring and summer 2004.


2005 Graduates

Melissa Boettcher: “The Expansion of the genus Homo into the Southern Iberian Peninsula during the Plio-Pleistocene: Interpretations Supporting an Early European Occupation.” Dr. Joseph Gibert Clols has been excavating two areas in the southeast region of Spain since 1979 with his son Dr. Luis Gibert Beotas. The first location is Orce where there are several sites that the Gibert’s have been excavating for signs of early human occupation. They have found four human bone fragments, cut marks on fossils, and Oldowan tool assemblages. The second site, Cueva Victoria, has been excavated since 1984. It has yielded a rich record of the fauna during the early Pleistocene period 1.2 mya. The Gibert’s are proposing an early expansion of the species Homo occurred from Africa into the southeast region of Spain around 1.8- 1.2 mya.

Peter LaDuke: “Tools of the Bering Straight Region: Enhancing the Value of a Museum Collection.” I conducted this research to increase my knowledge of the Bering Strait Region and to enhance the collection of tools at the Jensen Arctic Museum. I studied a tool collection at the Jensen Arctic Museum consisting of 243 tools: ulus, adzes, awls, and drills. I worked with each tool individually taking down object name, identification number, tool location, material, condition, description, weight, measurements, sketch, and photograph. I did hands on work at the museum to accomplish this task. I have done outside research on the four types of tools that I have worked with consisting of Ulus, Adzes, Awls, and Drills. In my paper I have analyzed each of the tools starting with the ulu using the size of the object to show the use. I showed the difference in the traditional adze to the adze after the introduction of metal. With the awl I have showed the how the size correlates to the use. I showed the difference in the material used in the fire starting drill compared to the drill used to bore holes in material.

Julia Bell Parks: “Urban Symbolism: An underground community visited.” The underground hip hop community in Portland, Oregon uses symbols everyday to resist the mainstream or commercial society. This study views them by looking at the history of hip hop. Members of the underground hip hop community are also viewed as they identify themselves as underground, through opposition to commercialism, opposition to “selling out,” social action as resistance to the mainstream or commercial society, the idea of ritual as resistance, and the issue of race. I have conducted fieldwork during the summer of 2004 in Portland, Oregon in effort to answer the question of symbolic resistance in the underground hip hop community.


2004 Graduates

Jamy Beecher: “What is the Role of the Interpreter? Exploring how Interpreters Function in a Local Community.” Explores the role of formal academic training influences behaviors towards the Deaf community and how interpreters balance personal and professional relationships with Deaf clients. Based on 3 months of fieldwork with members of the interpreting community at Western Oregon University, winter 2004.

Leslie Dooney: “Ghosts, Angry Gods, and the Scottish Play: Ritual and Superstition in the Theatre.” An examination of rituals and superstitions in three college theatres in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Based on participant-observation and interviews with both students and faculty members during fall 2003.

Stacy Hopkins: “The lifestyles of the Christian college student.” An examination of a specific Christian faith held by college students in Portland, Oregon. Based on participant-observation at meetings and services with church members over the summer of 2003.

Michael Hicks: “Reconstructing the Self: A Look at Anonymity and Identity in the Online Game of Counter-Strike.” Virtual and face-to-face interviews with participants in a squad-based shooter game to determine the effects of new technology role-playing in the online community.

Rebecca Lee: “In the American Shadow: Expressions by the French in Relation to the War in Iraq.” An in depth look at underlying feelings towards America and its actions during the recent conflict in Iraq. Perspectives will be taken from interviews with people of different genders, age groups, and social and ethnic backgrounds. Based on a semester study abroad in Angers, France fall term 2003. Where is Rebecca now?

Jared D. Orosco: “Turkish University Students: Working on Success.” Interviewed Turkish students and others at the University of Kassel, Germany, during study abroad spring-summer 2003, focusing on how they are able to “beat the odds” and obtain access to higher education.

Meagan Palmateer: “The Dirt on Soils and Sediments: What they Tell Us About Life in the Deserted Village, Achill Island.” Participated as a member of the National University of Ireland at Galway research team exploring a pastoral village occupied during the medieval and post medieval time period during July and August 2003. Project will focus on understanding the landscape from an environmental archaeology perspective with particular attention to interpretation of soils.

Charity Yonker: “Consumer Tactics: Local Participants’ Attitudes toward an International NGO in the Arusha Area.” Participation and interviews with local farmers in Tanzania designed to learn local peoples’ tactics in responding to Global Service Corps’ Bio-Intensive Agriculture program. Based on six weeks of ethnographic field work during winter 2004.


2003 Graduates

Ardyth DeBruyn: “Culture in a Structure of Transition and Uncertainty: Liminality and Communitas among Modern Pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago.” The Camino de Santiago is a modern pilgrimage trail that traverses the path medieval pilgrims followed to Santiago de Compostela. In modern times pilgrims from many diverse countries come together on this trail, traveling slowly by the traditional methods of hiking, horse riding, or biking (the modern equivalent of the horse). This paper examines pilgrim culture along the Camino using the idea of pilgrimage as a form of liminality as explained in the theories of Victor Turner. Turner adapts tribal liminality in rites of initiation to describe the experience of modern pilgrims in Western culture. Thus, between pilgrims, a culture of liminality and communitas forms, in which people of diverse backgrounds come together in rituals of shared faith and commonness of belief. The Camino de Santiago is an unusual pilgrimage in that pilgrims form a group of equals, facing the ordeals of travel together, separated from society, similar to that of the pilgrims of the Middle Ages. Thus, the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage follows a pattern of liminiality more similar to liminality in tribal societies than the variations of liminiality described by Turner and Turner in other modern pilgrimages. The Camino pilgrimage also differs from Turner and Turner’s model in that pilgrims shelve their religious and ideological differences. This allows Christian pilgrims, New Age Pagan pilgrims, and pilgrims of undefined religious beliefs to bond together in a communitas environment rather than the communitas based on shared belief in Turner and Turner’s work on pilgrimage. It is the ideas of who a pilgrim should be and how a pilgrim should behave that define pilgrims rather than shared religious belief or other factors such as nationality or social standing.

Adrienne McKeehan: “The Changing Practice of Traditional Thai Festivals: Songkran and Loy Krathong Today.” Examines contemporary Buddhism in Thailand and explains how two major traditional celebrations have been adapted to fit modern needs. Based on a year abroad program.

Amanda Meuwsen: “Domestic Violence Webs and the Strands of Society: Women Working to Build Self-Sufficiency.” Research into the motives and work of women who assist other women in escaping domestic violence. Based on volunteer service and ethnographic research at a shelter in a small Oregon town.

Elizabeth Lutgens: “Terrorism Decades Before 9/11: A case study of the Rajneesh attack in Wasco County, Oregon.” Ethnohistorical and ethnographic investigation of the Rajneesh salmonella contamination of restaurants in the Dalles in 1984 and how it has affected individuals and the community.


2002 Graduates

Thomas W. Bahde: ” ‘Everyone is German’: Revitalizing Ethnicity in Mount Angel, Oregon, 1966-2001.” The resurgence of ethnic expression in the form of heritage and folk-culture celebrations among descendents of European immigrants has been interpreted by social scientists in two primary ways: either as white resistance to African-American, Latin@, and Native American ethnic movements or as a cultural fantasy enacted by people desperate for a unique sense of identity. I argue for a new interpretation by examining the rural community of Mount Angel, Oregon and conclude that expressing German ethnicity reinforces long standing community norms of solidarity and mutual support, which are also expressed through the agrarian and Catholic identities of the community. This tripartite agrarian-German-Catholic identity is flexible enough to incorporate the sizeable Hispanic and Russian ethnic populations into the community. A new interpretation of the white ethnic revival must be adopted which takes into account historical, economic, demographic, and religious factors in communities that have undergone such ethnic revivals. The form and function of the so-called white ethnic revival movement can only be understood through ethnographic fieldwork in specific communities.

John Harr: “I Once Was Lost but Now I Am Found.” Examines how Lakota history has been excluded from the textbooks used in a Montana high school. Will then examine local white misperceptions of Lakota history and their views of the Lakota people.

Tom Henderson: “Every End Marks a New Beginning: A study of the coping methods of hospice caregivers.” Examines hospice workers, conceived as a “community of healers,” who work in a local Oregon hospice and offer alternative care to dying people. Attempts to identity and explain the stresses of caring for the terminally ill on a continual basis and the role (if any) of ritual in assisting caregivers in coping with such stress.

Jessica Jarrett: “O’bon: Collectivist Culture, Personal Agency and Historical Oppression within a Japanese Tradition.” Every year in Japan the ancestors are invited home for the four days of O ‘ban— the Buddhist festival of the dead. In Kyoto, Japan during the first half of August many rituals and festivities take place, including the invitation dance (Bon Odori) grave cleaning, altar maintenance and the final Daimonji fires. Individuals and businesses both participate in this tradition which is of great collective importance. The endurance and augmentation ofO’bon, and has been influenced by the historical course of religion, primarily Buddhism and Shinto in Japan. While in Japan from July 24th to the 28th of August I observed, participated in and interviewed people on the topic ofO’bon. On my return home I conducted a survey of Japanese students going to school at Western Oregon University. As a result of this fieldwork and research it can be said that the collective culture of Japan, the personal agency of the Japanese people and the historical oppression of Japan’s religions has created, and today perpetuates the practice of O ‘bon.

Adrian C. Johanson: “Excavations at Tell Qarqur: Exploring the Meanings of Context in Archaeology.” This paper explores context and its meanings in archaeology. Three different levels are discussed. First I will examine context within a site, using Tell Qarqur as the model. The second level is context at a more regional level, or context between sites. The examples here are Ugarit, Ebla, and Qarqur. The third and final level of context I explore in this paper is the context of learning about archaeology by working in the field, specifically examining my experiences in Syria during the 2001 season.

Liz Kalhar: ” Personal Space: The Interaction of Cultural Expectation and Reality on the MAX Light-rail in Portland, Oregon.” Examines social interactions on public transportation in Portland, Oregon. What kinds of people tend to rely on public transportation? Do these individuals form relationships with one another or do their interactions fit with the standard prototype for urban interactions: impersonal, superficial, and self interested? Are there differences in how men and women interact on public transportation? Involves participant observation, survey, and interviews.

Cheyenne Byers Lemmon: “Gender Dynamics in an Institutional Setting: How Different Worlds Lead to Different Interpretations and Misunderstandings.” Examines gender, communication, and power in the institutional setting of the university. Observations took place in WOU classrooms. Observation was complemented by open-ended interviews with male and female undergraduates on their perceptions of gender difference and communication. Where is Cheyenne now?

Patricia L. Schmauder: “One Quest to Develop Tribal Sovereignty: The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon.” Examines the efforts of the Siletz Confederated Tribes to reestablish their identity as a cohesive group through a variety of programs that control resources and offer services. Based on library, Internet, and newspaper research.

Sean Vigil: “Curandero Consultation by Mexican-Americans within the Oregon Willamette Valley.” Examines the ways in which Mexican-Americans value and utilize traditional healing methods in addition to or as a replacement for standard medical treatment.


2001 Graduates

Annmarie Hein: “An Analysis of Flaked Stone Tools and Debitage from Siuslaw Dune 35LA25: A Prehistoric Site on the Central Oregon Coast.” The Siuslaw Dune site 35LA25 is located on the central Oregon coast near the city of Florence. Excavations were conducted at the site in 1999 and 2000 by Western Oregon University in partnership with the Siuslaw National Forest. Robin Smith, Department of Anthropology and Phyllis Steeves, forest archaeologist served as coprincipal investigators. When analyzing the flaked lithic assemblage at Siuslaw Dune I conclude that this site was used for lithic reduction into finished tools, with the raw material gathered elsewhere. Also, that the most frequently used material was chalcedony or cryptocrystalline silicate and in the 2000 expedition a chipping activity area, or lithic scatter, was excavated.

Kyle A. Locke: “Beyond Putnam: Golf as a Medium to the New American Community.” Examines work and leisure in middle-class America and the way that golf has emerged a critical new associational activity among middle-class Oregonians. Involved ethnographic research at a local golf course, including interviews with owners, workers, and members. Also included archival research.

Kari Spencer: “Teenage Mothers: Breaking Through the Stereotypes.” Examines American stereotypes of unwed mothers and the sociological interpretation that teens have babies to achieve “intergenerational closure.” Research involved interviews with unwed mothers.

Roger Sundberg: “The Effects of the Law on Communities of Drinkers.” Examines Oregonians’ attitudes about new alcohol laws; research involved interviews with local bar owners and servers as well as bar customers.

Allison Wilson: “Looking for Water and Finding a Wife: Marriage Among the Tonga.” The focus of this paper is to look at traditional marriage in the Tonga society of Siachilaba, Zimbabwe. This does not represent the entire Tonga population’s beliefs as the information is taken only from one village. As well as looking at traditional marriage, this paper will also examine the gender roles in Tonga society, and the ways that outside influences have begun to effect the younger generations ideas of marriage, sex roles, and family responsibility.


2000 Graduates

Tori Fornaciari: “La Jara de Oro: A Study of Upper/Middle Women in Mexico City.” La Jar a de Oro is a perspective of contemporary gender dynamics among a minute population of Mexico City. Mexicans from tropical, desert, rural, and urban regions migrate steadily into a city that is saturated with cultural diversity. In a metropolitan locality the contrast of economic and social position becomes painfully apparent: The upper/ middle class comprise a small sector of the twenty-five million people living in Mexico City, but they have an extraordinary amount of power. Opportunities rare to the majority of Mexico’s men and women are available to Mexicans of a higher social and economic standing. Cultural ideals are also variable among the different social strata and are closely linked to available opportunities. Living with a financially privileged family I became familiar with the ideal and the real expressions of gender dynamics among the young adult generation. Traditional values have been appropriated into the contemporary values of modern Mexican culture.

Krista Gullickson: “Researching Arctic Belief Systems and Reinstalling the Spirit World Case at the Paul Jensen Arctic Museum.” During the summer of 19991 served as an intern at the Paul Jensen Arctic Museum. My goals were to research Arctic cultures and rework the Spirit World display case. This study provides background on the Paul Jensen Arctic Museum and the Eskimos, primarily the Inuit. This was used to design and install a new exhibit that represents what shamanism is and how it uses dancing and masks. A finished display case is described and recommendations for future work are made.

Anthropology students are free to consult these theses. Please ask an anthropology faculty member if you wish to borrow a copy of any of the works listed above.






Department of Anthropology

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