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Honor Students 2023

akridge_hunter_photo.jpegHunter Akridge

Thesis Title: Contesting the Cultural Politics of Care: How Equitable Digital Care Platforms Reimagine the Future of Work
Advisor: Carla Freeman (WGSS)
Future plans: I am taking a gap year to work as a researcher at Carnegie Mellon on projects in partnership with the AFL-CIO Technology Institute. After, I will be transitioning to a PhD in Anthropology at Princeton.
What was the most exciting thing you learned from your research?
My thesis are two digital ethnographies of digital care platforms. I was inspired by the resiliency and dignity of the home-based family care providers I spoke with. In the context of a frayed social safety net these, largely women, care for kids in their communities. I learned that by taking their experiences and voices seriously we can design a more just economy for all.

rachel_broun_photo.jpgRachel Broun

Thesis Title: Enacting Solidarity and Negotiating Fictive Kinship: The Legal Consciousness of Black Women Working in the Criminal Legal System
Advisor: Dr. Michael Peletz
Future plans: Attending Stanford to get my Ph.D. in Anthropology
What was the most exciting thing you learned from your research?
I learned about the complex and often contradicting nature of Black women’s experience working in the criminal legal system. I also learned about how the law is marketed as fixed but is full of areas that are easy to manipulate by lawyers.





Pamela Chopra Beniwal

Thesis Title: The Effect of Commercialization, Militarization, and Stigmatization of the Breast Cancer Awareness Movement on Breast Cancer Patients
Advisor: Dr. Melvin J. Konner
Future plans: I am applying to medical school in the upcoming application cycle, and I hope to matriculate in the fall of 2024. In the meantime, I will be tutoring students who are preparing for the MCAT and volunteering at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in my free time.
What was the most exciting thing you learned from your research?
Personally, as someone who wants to specialize in oncology, I believe that having extensive experience discussing complicated or sensitive subjects with patients is essential to being a good physician, as physicians must be good communicators as well as scientists to address both the physiological and psychological issues of their patients.







Lucia Buscemi

Thesis Title: Footprints of the Roof of the World: Navigating the Impacts of Anthropogenic Activities in the Everest Region
Advisor: Dr. Bruce Knauft
Future plans: I will be taking another year at Emory to complete my Environmental Science major. This upcoming summer I will be travelling to Nepal and working at Sagarmatha Next, an organization based in Kathmandu that facilitates waste management in the Everest region. I became involved with Sagarmatha Next while conducting research in Nepal last summer for my Anthropology thesis and will be joining them this summer to help develop a sustainability certification program for lodges and hotels in Kathmandu and the Everest region.
What was the most exciting thing you learned from your research?
The most exciting thing I learned was that there are many community-run, environmentally conscious, and participatory organizations have been working effectively on managing waste and tourism in the Everest region. These organizations provide an excellent model for contemporary development and sustainable tourism initiatives, and they are an example of how an individual or small group’s ideas can lead to something great and meaningful. The Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee is perhaps the finest example I have seen of a community-initiated organization, where locals came together to solve an issue that was directly and negatively affecting their environment.


Naomi Gonzalez-Garcia

Thesis Title: Constellations of Un-Matter(ing) & Matter(ing) through Atlanta’s Black Spaces: Anthropological Perspectives on Housing and Relationality
Advisor: Dr. Rodriguez & Dr. Phillips



Ruth Korder

Thesis Title: Detecting Human Adaptations in Populations of the Andean Highlands
Advisor: Dr. John Lindo
Future plans: I will be focusing on redirecting my research focuses before eventually pursuing a Master of Public Health. Next year, I will be a Global Sustainability Scholar conducting environmental science research. The research fellowship is a one-year RaMP-UP Fellows Program at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City, Panama.
What was the most exciting thing you learned from your research?
Although I discovered many new things during my honors project, the two most exciting things I learned were how to write a budget proposal (thrilling, I know) and how to plan and execute an international research project through the Undergraduate Global Research Fellows program.



Danielle Mangabat

Thesis Title: Confronting Colonial Legacies: Imagining a Decolonial Future in the Philippines through Reproductive Health
Advisor: Dr. Sameena Mulla
Future plans: I am either going to take the Fulbright Research/Independent Study award in the Philippines or work full-time on the Justice and Equity team of the Environmental Defense Fund.
What was the most exciting thing you learned from your research?
I loved hearing the lived experiences and anecdotes of Filipinos working in a reproductive healthcare setting, as well as their journeys to understanding their bodies, reproductive and sexual health rights, and unlearning heteronormativity and heteropatriarchy… I was able to develop the skills of learning and listening holistically while conducting fieldwork and solving issues in an equitable and ethical way.


Natalie McGrath

Thesis Title: Recentering the Voices of Pregnant-People and Birth Workers; Narratives of Childbirth
Advisor: Dr. Chikako Ozawa-de Silva and Dr. Robert Paul
Future plans: I will be moving back to Brooklyn, N.Y, which is where I am from, and will be pursuing regenerative and urban agriculture work after graduation. I will be teaching elementary school students about our food system and showing them how to grow and cook their own food. During the summer, before I start that job, I will be living and working in Pennsylvania at the Rodale Institute. There I will be tending to and harvesting fruit and vegetables for the partnering hospital and learning new and sustainable agricultural practices along the way.
What was the most exciting thing you learned from your research?
Many of the women I interviewed shared that they were thankful for the opportunity to share their childbirth experience and that being granted a space in which to share their experiences was rare. This was of course very exciting to hear as the researcher... It became incredibly clear to me throughout this research process that we must continue to prioritize the voices of birthing-people and facilitate conversations on even the most minute aspects of the childbirth experience, which can be essential in the making of a positive and “good” birth.




atlas_moss_photo.jpgAtlas Moss

Thesis Title: Vocal Recognition and Social Knowledge in captive Tufted Capuchin Monkeys (Sapajus apella)
Advisor: Marcela Benitez
Future plans: After graduation, I will be continuing my playback analysis with the captive tufted capuchins my thesis covered and working briefly on a playback study with wild white-faced capuchins at Capuchins de Taboga in Costa Rica this summer. I am planning to continue studying animal behavior broadly following this project, though I am still in the process of selecting a lab. I will be applying to continue to graduate school beginning in fall of 2024.
What did you learn personally or professionally from this experience?
The biggest thing I took away from this experience was how vast the field of animal behavior and vocal recognition is, with wonderful researchers eager to share their knowledge with others. So many people in and out of Emory University generously supported me, through their time, advice, and answers to my (many) questions throughout the project.




Alvaro Perez Daisson 

Thesis Title: Race-related Health Disparities in the Context of COVID-19

Advisor: Dr. Melvin J. Konner & Dr. Kristin Phillips



Tanvi Shah

Thesis Title: (Re)constructing Postpartum Depression (PPD) via Cross-Specialty Analysis and an Anthropological Lens of Subjectivity
Advisor: Dr. Chikako Ozawa-de Silva and Dr. Robert Paul
Future plans: I will be applying to medical school starting while spending the rest of the year exploring a lot of my interests outside the academic space for a while—potentially traveling to put my Spanish minor to use.
What was the most exciting thing you learned from your research?
My research on postpartum depression really gave me more empathy and awareness for mothers (and caregivers as a whole), including my own mom, in the awe of how resilient people truly are in this society and healthcare that puts so much burden and neglects them at the same time. The other exciting thing was that I was able to see from my interview responses just how subjective these states of mental health are and how they are so varying and on a spectrum of emotions and experiences.





Krithika Shrinivas

Thesis Title: Stone Tools and Sociality: Potential Effects of Conversation and Hobbies on Lithic Quality
Advisor: Dr. Dietrich Stout (Anthropology)
Future plans: I will be taking a gap year before hopefully starting medical school in the Fall of 2024. I will be working in a healthcare setting in order to gain more experience in the field, doing clinical research, and volunteering in my free time.
What was the most exciting thing you learned from your research?
I learned how to challenge myself intellectually and continuously seek out answers to explain theoretical patterns. This made me gain a newfound appreciation for the research process and anthropology as a discipline, as it strives to improve our understanding of human existence and evolution.


wagman_lizzy_photo.jpgLizzy Wagman

Thesis Title: Genome-wide patterns of selection in pre- and post-European contact Caribbean populations
Advisor: Dr. John Lindo
Future plans: Following graduation, I am going to medical school at Sidney Kimmel Medical College in Philadelphia, PA.
What did you learn personally or professionally from this experience?
I learned how to become a more independent researcher, and how to ask for help when I need it. I’ve become more confident in my ability to problem-solve and troubleshoot any issues that may arise as I’m moving through my research. I’ve also gained confidence in my writing abilities; I am now better able to express complex scientific topics in language that’s easy to digest for any reader.


wang_amy_photo.jpgAmy Wang

Thesis Title: The Impacts of Social Media on Young Adults’ Body Images in the United States
Advisor: Dr. Sa’ed Atshan
Future plans: After graduating, I will be taking a gap year as I apply to medical school in the 2023 cycle.
What was the most exciting thing you learned from your research?
The most fascinating part of my research was listening to people’s experiences with social media and their personal journeys with body image and how certain factors, social media-related or not, has shaped the way that they view their bodies.



Sam Weinstein

Thesis Title: Vocal Clues to Diabetes Mellitus: Exploring the Ethics and Tech of AI in Clinical Practice
Advisor: Dr. Melvin Konner & Dr. Kristin Phillips
Future plans: After graduation, I will spend 10 months in Bangkok, Thailand under a Fulbright Grant to continue my research on voice and diabetes before attending medical school the following year.
What was the most exciting thing you learned from your research?
The most exciting thing I learned from my research is that even the slightest variations in data can, and likely will, cause biases in AI algorithms. Therefore, it is essential that variations be accounted for in the system’s design and development, especially when deployed in clinical practice as biases may result in incorrect diagnoses.




wilson_gracie_photo.jpegGracie Wilson

Thesis Title: The Culture of College Mental Health: Narratives of Stress, Value, and Belonging
Advisor: Dr. Chikako Ozawa-de Silva
Future plans: I will attending the University of Chicago this fall to pursue a PhD in Comparative Human Development.
What was the most exciting thing you learned from your research?
My research looked at how college students talk about and make meaning of their mental health through narratives of achievement, productivity, stress, and value. The most exciting part of this research has been working collaboratively with fellow students to better understand our own interconnected experiences.



Christopher Zeuthen

Thesis Title: Qualitative Examination of Veteran Perspectives on Moral Injury
Advisor: Dr. Melvin J. Konner
Future plans: I am moving to Chicago, where I will take two gap years before enrolling in medical school. During my gap years, I plan on actively working and volunteering with the veteran community, especially on the policy/advocacy working to amplify the healthcare needs of veterans.
What was the most exciting thing you learned from your research?
“A moral injury to the nation” was one of the most impactful quotes from the entire thesis by a veteran who contextualized moral injury with respect to the Vietnam War. This was incredibly cathartic for me as I revisited my family’s military connections and what drove me to become passionate about helping veterans in the place. I have become inspired to amplify the voices of all veterans about their experiences and perspectives on the current state of veteran affairs.