Sarah Whitaker

Cohort: 2013


  • BS, Biology & History, Duke University


My research interests lie at the intersection of anthropology and engineering. My goals are to understand how human behavior influences the spread of illness and to learn how to engineer environments that promote better health outcomes. I am particularly interested in water-borne diseases such as cholera and dysentery and how water use, control, and access differ across cultures, differentially determine health outcomes, and affect the virulence of infectious organisms.

With a combined training in anthropology and engineering, I hope to be able to assess and design engineering solutions in terms of their efficacy and necessity in specific cultural contexts. This might mean designing and implementing water purification or drug delivery systems, efficient healthcare delivery mechanisms, or safer living and working environments. I am also interested in teaching scientific ideas and understanding their role in the evolution of cultural beliefs about health and human behavior.

Advisor: Dr. Hadley