Skip to main content

2005-2009 Alumni

Buck Benson - Class of 2005

Currently I am a Master’s student at Idaho State University working on the Sanak Island Project under the supervision of Dr. Herbert Maschner. The project is a segment of a large multi-disciplinary research venture studying long-term climate change and human interaction on the lower Alaska Peninsula. For my thesis I am experimenting with the applicability of photon activation to analyze trace element data from andesitic basalt materials recovered from sites across the peninsula. The goal of this analysis is to map the distribution and movement of materials (and people) across the peninsula, as well as to pinpoint the locations of each source through the use of GIS.


Leticia Neal - Class of 2005

I graduated from Utah State University in the summer of 2005 with a B.A. in History and a B.S. in Anthropology. During my time there, I took advantage of some of the great opportunities offered by the Anthropology Department, including serving as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant, and as a Lab Manager of Archaeological Collections, as well as field and laboratory work on archaeological projects around the state. In the fall of 2006, I began graduate study for a Masters of Anthropology at University of Nevada, Reno. My classes, projects and positions in graduate school keep me very busy. I received a graduate Teaching Assistantship for spring of 2007 and another for 2007-08. I also serve as the president of the graduate student anthropology club. I am developing many of my own projects including, research into a working ranch (1860-present) where I am conducting an ethnography and using archaeological documentation. I am also working with a team to create and design a museum exhibit. During the summer of 2007 I will be conducting fieldwork for my Masters thesis …..Wish Me Luck!


Update (2014): Leticia Neal is now employed as an archaeologist with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command’s Environmental Division at China Lake, CA.


Katie Harris - Class of 2005

Katie Harris is currently the GPSA Director of Legislative Affairs at Washington State University, where she is also ABD in Anthropology (


Andrea Severson - Class of 2007

I began my time at USU as a Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences major. After taking several really great Anthropology courses as electives, I changed my major to Anthropology. I discovered a love of physical anthropology, medical anthropology, international development, and human-environmental interactions. Anthropology allowed me to explore all of these subjects, and the major also allowed me to continue to build a solid science background in preparation for graduate school. The environment was stimulating, the faculty were wonderful, my classmates were great, and my opportunities were nearly endless. Some of these opportunities included being an Undergraduate Research Fellow (I pursued fisheries research at the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Fisheries Experiment Station), as well as an Undergraduate Teaching Fellow for Biological Anthropology. I graduated from USU in December 2007 with a BS in Anthropology. During my time at USU, my love for fisheries never diminished, which led me to pursue graduate studies in Fisheries Management. I graduated from Kansas State University with a MS in Biology with a Fisheries Management emphasis in May 2010. I am now working as a Natural Resource Specialist at the Bureau of Reclamation's Nebraska-Kansas Area Office. I have found that my combined background in natural and cultural resources is a perfect fit for this career path, and I love being able to combine aspects of both fields in my everyday work. So much of what I do involves knowing natural and cultural resource laws, evaluating human impacts on the environment, and balancing the needs of people with the well-being of resources. I have truly learned that anthropology is everywhere, and I know my time in the Anthropology Program at USU prepared me well for my federal career.

Update 2015: Andrea is now an Environmental Protection Specialist at Western Area Power Administration (WAPA).


Mary Sundblom - Class of 2008

After entering college as an art major, a chance encounter with an introductory cultural anthropology course changed my mind and direction.Having lived in Australia and traveled in Brazil during high school, anthropology provided a way to critically investigate the cultures I was so fascinated with. Since then, I've continued my pursuit of anthropology and international studies, with an interest in development studies, gender, and the environment. I've participated in several international programs including a summer language program in Peru, a semester in Holland, and ethnographic field school in Peru. Most recently, I did a six-month internship at the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) in the Washington DC area, where I served as the Corporate & Foundation Relations intern (learning a great deal about non-profit organizations and development/ fundraising processes as well as community-based conservation and environmental education.) My experience at JGI really formalized my interest in the interrelationships between humans and the environment, with a special interest in grassroots approaches to conservation and sustainable development. Approaching graduation, I'm now looking into graduate programs that apply anthropological theory and methods to the management of cultural and natural resources.

Update: Mary is now the Creative Director at Shaboomee Outdoor Recreation.


Rachael Kent - Class of 2005

After graduation, Rachael married. She worked first for the Schlumberger Oil Company and then for The Energy and Geoscience Institute at the University of Utah. In 2010 she decided to try her hand at being a stay-at-home mom to enjoy more time with her "two awesome children.” In the future, she would like to work at the Utah Natural History Museum, so she can apply the many skills she learned during her time with the Anthropology Program at USU.


Lara Petersen - Class of 2005

After graduating with her bachelors in Anthropology, Lara Petersen was interested in working for Indian Health Services somewhere in the West.


Julie Rowlett Taylor - Class of 2005

I took a biological anthropology course in my freshman year that really piqued my interest, eventually leading me to change my major to anthropology. Through various courses and opportunities such as ethnographic field school in Huanchaco, Peru, and serving as an undergraduate T.A., I shifted my focus to culture and the role of the environment within the human sphere. After graduation I worked in Washington D.C., learning about the energy sector and renewable technologies. I attended Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs where I received my MPA in Environmental Science and Policy in 2009. I now work as a Senior Program Officer National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners in London, UK.


Chris Kiahtipes - Class of 2006

Chris Kiahtipes is an ABD doctoral student at  Southern Methodist University.


Karina Baird - Class of 2007

I attended Utah State University from fall of 2005 until December 2007 when I graduated with a BS in anthropology and a minor in sociology. While at Utah State, I had the opportunity to work with wonderful professors and motivated fellow students. Shortly after graduation, I got married and moved to the gulf coast of Florida. I am now pursuing a master’s degree in anthropology at the University of West Florida and work for Prentice Thomas & Associates, a cultural resource management firm. I have been able to use everything I learned as an undergraduate anthropology student to become successful in doing field work, writing site reports, doing research, and so many other things that are included in a career in archaeology and anthropology. I feel that my experience at Utah State prepared me very well for grad school and a wonderful job!

Update: Karina is an Archaeologist at Prentice Thomas and Associates in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.