Updated: 19 July 2021
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I’m an anthropologist with expertise in human behavioural ecology, which in its very broadest sense is the study of human behaviour in evolutionary perspective. Although I have four-field training, my primary interests are in biological and cultural anthropology.
I studied at the MA level with primate morphologist Beth Strasser. For my PhD, I studied under one of the founders of human behavioural ecology, Eric Alden Smith. Donna Leonetti and Darryl Holman also served as apt mentors, especially with regards to the demographic and statistical dimensions of my project. In 2006, I was awarded a PhD in Biocultural Anthropology from the University of Washington, Seattle. My dissertation was based on 12 months of quantitative ethnographic research among the Karo people of North Sumatra, Indonesia, with a grant from the National Science Foundation.
After that, I was hired as faculty at the University of Washington. Over 6 years, I had more than 2500 students enrolled in my courses while working hard to keep an active research program. My career turned a corner when I was invited to join the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council’s “Culture and the Mind” Project (which stemmed from my collaborations with Dan Fessler from UCLA), and then I was awarded a Fulbright Scholars Grant (I blogged the experience).
In July 2014, I started my current job as a Lecturer in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at The Australian National University (ANU). It is an honour to work at the only Australian university offering degrees in biological anthropology.
During my time at ANU, I have continued to conduct field research in Indonesia, but have also begun to use existing cross-cultural datasets, and data collected at a series of new fieldsites in the Solomon Islands.
You can read more about my research here.
In January 2019, I was promoted to Senior Lecturer.