Student Research

Anthropology students have the opportunity to undertake field and lab research under the supervision of or in collaboration with anthropology faculty and staff. Student research may be conducted as part of an assignment for a regular course; as the basis for a senior project, a senior honors project, or a for-credit independent research project; as part of a student’s work study assignment in the anthropology lab; through a paid academic assistantship award; or in conjunction with a summer student/faculty collaborative research project supported by funding from the college. Student research may be conducted on campus, at off-campus sites in the US, or in locations abroad.

Senior Research Projects


Thompson, Sonja
2012 “Where Does One Draw the Line When Doing Participant Observation? Participant Observation as Anthropological Method.” Analysis of private letters of American anthropologist Tobias Schneebaum to explore the issues of research methods and ethics in her work.

Irish, Mark
2012 “Lithic Raw Material Sourcing and Exchange Patterns at the Late Prehistoric Hartley Fort Site”.  Analysis of lithic raw material sourcing to identify long distance trade interactions in the Upper Mississippi River Valley.

Bottem, Katelyn
2010-2011 Analysis of women’s access to socioeconomic freedom and better healthcare in developing countries through microfinance institutions. Project linked gender disparity and the degradation of women's healthcare and how microfinance could break that link.  

Summer Research


Maasai Medicine Project: An ongoing effort to document medicinal plants and plant-based medicines used by the Maasai people of northern Tanzania. This is a collaborative project in which Luther College students and faculty work alongside Maasai research partners, secondary school students, and local experts to preserve information about Maasai ethnomedicine and make it widely available to the Maasai community. The project addresses health, educational, and economic development issues.

  • Summer 2012: Jeffrey Emerson (‘12)
  • Summer 2011: Rachel Hodapp (‘13) and Georgianna Whiteley (‘13)
  • Summer 2010: Sylvie Hall (‘12) and Kia Johnson (‘12)

Presentations and Publications


Whiteley, Georgianna and Rachel Hodapp
2012 Maasai Medicinal Plants: Preserving and Applying Traditional Knowledge in Northern Tanzania. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, San Francisco, November 15.

Whiteley, Georgianna, Rachel Hodapp, and Lori Stanley
2012 Preserving Indigenous Knowledge: Documenting Maasai Medicinal Plants. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Baltimore, March 29.

Irish, Mark
2012 Lithic Raw Material Sourcing and Exchange Patterns at the Late Prehistoric Hartley Fort Site. Poster presented at the National Council for Undergraduate Research, Ogden, Utah, March 29-31.

Graffy, Peter
2011 The Effect of Masculinity on Sexual Health Practices among College-Age Students in the United States. Published in a peer reviewed journal Student Anthropologist 2(2):11-18.

Hall, Sylvie, and Kia Johnson
2011 Applied Anthropologists in the Making: Lessons Learned in Maasailand. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Seattle, March 30.

Johnson, Kia, and Sylvie Hall
2011 Pastoralists, Plants, and the Preservation of Traditional Knowledge: Striving for Reciprocity in Study Abroad. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Seattle, March 30.

Kruse, Andrea
2008 Beetle Bioturbation. Newsletter of the Iowa Archeological Society. 206 (58):1-2.

Academic Assistantship Positions

Collaboration with anthropology students employed by the anthropology lab on Spring 2011 special issue of Anthropology of East Europe Review journal “Health and Care Work in Postsocialist Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union.” http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/aeer

Julia Zaliznytska – Spring 2011. Data coding and analysis.
Amanda Schaeffer – Spring 2012. Literature review and analysis.
Marley Crossland – Spring 2013. Support of book-editing responsibilities for the Anthropology of East Europe Review journal.
Kaleb Van Gerpen - Spring 2013. Support for book manuscript research.