Recent Program Graduates
Class of '14
Kaitlyn Bower, MS '14
Prior education: Graduated in 2011 with a BS in Health Sciences, Pre-Professional from Lock Haven University, PA.
About: I entered the Biomedical Anthropology MS program in the fall of 2012 with intentions of pursuing a job in public health post-graduation. After becoming acquainted with the field of anthropology, I applied and was accepted into the Biological Anthropology PhD program in the spring of 2014. I am currently involved in research through the Tick Borne Disease Research Project as a member of the behavioral and field ecology teams. I am also involved in ongoing research with the Health Transition Project in Vanuatu, with which I became involved during my internship.
Internship: In the summer of 2013, I worked as a research assistant for a PhD student from the Biological Anthropology department who was working on her dissertation. The research took place in the South Pacific on the island of Efate, which is part of Vanuatu. We collected anthropometrics and conducted surveys that focused on diet, activity levels and medical history, all in an attempt to better understand health transitions and modernization. After the time in Vanuatu ended, I also participated in data entry and proofreading. I was able to use data collected during my internship to create a poster that I presented at the Binghamton University Research Days, and at the Human Biological Association annual scientific meeting that took place in Calgary, Canada (2014).
Goals: After recently being accepted into the PhD program here at Binghamton University, I plan to work on completing my remaining coursework, fieldwork and eventually dissertation over the next few years. As for long-term goals, I hope to conduct research that improves the health of the people that I work with as well as advances knowledge for both the fields of anthropology and public health.
Amanda Roome, MS '14
Prior education: Graduated with a BA in Anthropology from the University of Hawaii at Hilo.
About: I am interested in epidemiology and infectious disease. My time at Binghamton University has given me ample opportunities for both field and laboratory research. I have been involved with Dr. Garruto's Tick-borne Disease project since I started at Binghamton in August of 2012. This project has allowed me the opportunity to do work in both the field and in the molecular laboratory while learning how to implement a successful research design.
Internship: I interned as a research assistant for Katie Olszowy on her dissertation research on the health transition in Vanuatu. We obtained anthropometric data and administered surveys to adults and children on a household level, looking at possible connections between maternal and child obesity in the village of Erakor on the island of Efate. We gathered data from over 350 participants and also had 40 individuals (20 males and 20 females) wear accelerometers to assess activity patterns. Through this internship, I was able to implement a research design and learn to work through potential problems while doing fieldwork. I was able to work from a biocultural perspective and better understand the health transition in Vanuatu.
Goals: I will be staying at Binghamton to complete my PhD under Dr. Garrtuo. Ultimately, I would like to have a research-based career either within or outside of academia.
Celia Grace Murnock, MS '14
Prior education: BA in Psychology 2006, Montclair State University, Montclair NJ
About: I came to the Biomedical MS Program six years after graduating college because I missed learning and was hoping to develop laboratory and research skills that had been lacking in my undergraduate education. I used to joke that this was the only program that would let me wear a lab coat without ever having to take a chemistry class... which, while true as far as I can tell, is far from the whole story. This program is a well-rounded introduction to biological anthropology and its real-world applications to fields like medicine, public health, and scientific research. I knew coming in that I was fascinated by the interaction between genetics, environment, and culture. By the end of my two years here I've come to understand exactly what it is about this interplay that moves me to action- the desire to drill down into a particular problem so that I can truly understand it well enough to have a shot at solving it.
Internship: I spent my internship (May-July 2013) at the Morris County Office of Health Management in Morris Township NJ, gaining an understanding of both public health as a discipline and of the particular quirks of the public health system in New Jersey. Highlights included participation in a county-wide SARS tabletop exercise as well as several professional conferences and trainings, such as radiological/nuclear incident response, psychological first aid, and crisis risk communication.
Goals: I will be returning to the NY metro area after graduation to look for work at either a government public health agency or a health related non-profit, hopefully managing to keep a hand in both research and programming or advocacy work.
Leah Hill, MS '14
Prior Education: BS in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and BA in Biological Anthropology from SUNY Albany.
About: When I first came to Binghamton I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to pursue for a doctorate but the program was diverse enough that I hoped to narrow my interests. Through the program I was able to expand my theoretical knowledge while gaining hands on experience in both the lab and field. This was accomplished through the curriculum as well as the opportunity to join multiple research projects lead by professors in the program. During my time at the University I had the opportunity to work on multiple posters, papers, and grant applications, all of which I found invaluable for my internship, post-graduation career and possible pursuit of a doctorate in the future. I still have a diverse set of interests but I found that phamacogenetics, infectious disease and public health are areas that I would be happy in.
Internship: Over the summer and my final semester of my masters I interned at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in Rensselaer NY. While there I got to head several large laboratory and data mining projects. During the last few weeks the company requires interns to present their summer projects to the top executives. While this was a bit nerve-wracking at first, it was very rewarding to have substantially contributed to the company. Admittedly, I was initially attracted to the company due to the location but it lived up to Science magazine's ranking of #1 employer in the global biopharmaceutical industry. Through my experience over the summer I found I love the company and am pursuing a job upon graduation.
Goals: I am planning on pursuing an MBA and eventually a doctorate.
Sasha Pinto, MS '14
Prior Education: I received my B.S. in Anthropology from Binghamton University in 2012.
About: I'm interested in public health, non-communicable disease, infectious disease, sexual health, epidemiology, and women's health. I like learning a little bit about everything. I'm glad I entered this program simply for the diversity of classes I was able to take, if not for the range of people that I was able to meet.
Internship: I worked at the Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic clinic in Yonkers the summer of 2013. Planned Parenthood is a clinic that helps men and women take care of their sexual health and provides some help with prenatal care. At that particular location we provided emergency contraceptives, birth control, medical abortion, STD testing and treatment, prenatal care, and counseling.
Goals: I'm hoping to get a job studying human health and making changes to how we view and treat ourselves. I would like to see people take an active interest in learning about how their bodies work. I might go back to school for my PhD sometime in the future but I want to be out in the workforce for a while to get some firsthand experience.
Jessica Goodsell, MS '14
Prior education: BA in Anthropology from Arizona State University
About: When applying to graduate schools, I knew I wanted to improve the lives of individuals and populations as a whole through healthcare or public health measures, but I wasn't sure which of the numerous career ideas to pick. I chose Binghamton's program because it seemed perfect for exploring my wide variety of interests. I ended up gaining not only a fantastic foundation experience but also developing a specific set of skills that have gotten me through doors I might never have otherwise been able to open.
Internship: I interned with the Morbidity and Mortality Team in the Epidemiology Department at the Maricopa County Department of Public Health (Phoenix, Arizona). My project was to develop fact sheets for five projects, and I as able to use my anthropological training to approach the task in a new light and work with my supervisors to create a fantastic product.
Goals: I would like to pursue positions in public health and healthcare population management. I would love to be working with great individuals to improve population health whether it be in a hospital system, a city, county, state, etc. I may pursue a PhD after gaining some work experience and further identifying key areas of interest.
Yan Hao, MS '14
Prior education: I came from China, and my undergraduate studies were in clinical medicine.
About: I was very glad that I had a chance to join the Biomedical Anthropology MS program since it would be really useful and broaden my horizons for my future career. During my undergraduate education, I did my internship in a hospital with an associated clinic, so I am interested in lab work, especially genetics. My interests in genetics include the association with infectious and chronic diseases, especially for some western diseases.
Internship: I interned as a member of the Lyme Disease project, working on the clinic and behavioral teams. I was so glad and enjoyed my internship because I gained some expertise and skills, such as how to design a questionnaire and how to analyze a dataset. That will really be helpful in my future career.
Goals: My future goal is to complete a PhD program about clinical medicine, and then I want to become a doctor in hospital. I really was thankful for the professors in the Biomedical Anthropology program, who have great expertise and were so helpful for me.
Michelle Bongermino-Rose, MS '14
Prior education: B.A. Anthropology from SUNY Oneonta, 2006.
About: My background was mostly forensic in nature; however, my time in the Biomedical program served to broaden my interests and experiences. I mainly have interests in molecular anthropology, along with interests in forensic identification techniques.
Internship: I completed my internship with the Nassau County Medical Examiner's Office, in the department of forensic genetics. I was responsible for a validation study regarding a new investigative technique. My time in the ME's office provided not only hands-on experience in the lab but also administrative and technical support as well.
Goals: I will be starting the MA/PhD program in Molecular Anthropology under Dr. Andrew Merriwether, Fall 2014.
Gabriela Cerda, MS '14
Prior education: BA in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011
About: Broadly, my research interests are microbiology, genetics and bio-behavioral health. More specifically, my primary research interest is host-microbe interactions and their influence on human reproductive ecology. Although my research has been heavily laboratory based, I take a bio-cultural approach in assessing the data my work produces, incorporating aspects of evolutionary biology and considering the individual's cultural contexts.
Internship: Loyola University Chicago - Stritch School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology. I worked under Dr. Alan Wolfe and the rest of the Loyola Urinary Research and Education Collaboration in order to understand the biology and microbiology of the female bladder and its impact on women's health and disease.
Goals: Ultimately, I plan to obtain my PhD in Biological Anthropology to continue to research the impact of microbial communities on human health.
Mellie Riddle, MS '14
Prior education: I have a BA in anthropology and a BS in biology from the University of Memphis.
About: I came to Binghamton University to get my MA/PhD in biological anthropology. While here, I realized that the BioMed MS program really prepares students for seeking a job straight from the master's level. I am graduating this semester with both the MS and the MA. My research is focused on the biological and social factors of HPV. Particularly, I am currently looking at the public health education material, which places the burden of oncogenic HPV solely on heterosexual females. My interest lies in the effects that these marketing strategies have for men and LBGTQ populations.
Internship: For my internship, I worked at CHOICES: Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, an independent health clinic in Memphis, TN. I performed administrative tasks, database management, and clinical assistance.
Goals: I plan to move back to Memphis to do my dissertation work, but I am still working through Binghamton University. I want to continue my research, and plan to finish the PhD. Ultimately, I would like to work in professional research setting, possibly at a research focused university, NGO, or governmental agency.
Class of '13
Cheng Sun, MS '13
Prior education: Graduated with a BS in Biology in Shandong Teachers University, China.
About: I originally came from China to Binghamton University as a graduate student in the doctoral program in anthropology. I was lucky enough to join the Biomedical Anthropology MS Program as I realized the expertise and knowledge would be helpful for my future career. My personal research interest is to understand the impact of consumer technology, especially use of the Internet on human lifestyle and health. Current projects involve collaboration with experts in biology, psychology and cultural anthropology on various topics such as the biological basis of Internet addiction, preferences among types of communication and study of emerging virtual communities. I'm also interested in the potential contribution of the overuse of consumer electronics to chronic health problems in the South Pacific. I currently serve as the president of Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) Graduate Student Organization.
Internship: In the summer of 2011, I volunteered on a multinational research project on modernization and health transitions in Vanuatu. We surveyed 5 islands and 1900 local participants. I personally performed anthropometric measurements of height, weight and blood pressure. I presented a poster using data collected from this survey at 37th Annual Meeting of Human Biology Association, Portland, Oregon (April 2012). This internship experience has also inspired the focus of my doctoral research.
Goals: I will finish the remaining years of my PhD work in next couple years. Ultimately I would like to teach biological anthropology at the collegiate level in the US or in China.
Sarah Hempstead, MS '13
Prior Education: BA in anthropology from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2011.
About: I have always been interested in health research; my time at Binghamton and my internship with the North Andover Health Department continued to develop this passion. My internship emphasized my interest in chronic disease prevention and management. The biomedical anthropology program has provided me with the opportunity to explore my interests while continuing to develop a well-rounded background in biological anthropology and human biology.
Internship: North Andover Health Department, North Andover, Massachusetts.
A study that came out just prior to the beginning of my internship had indicated that the county I would be working in had an increased rate of hospitalization due to diabetes, as compared to other counties in Massachusetts. This study provided me with an opportunity to develop an awareness campaign on Type 2 Diabetes. I created pamphlets and posters that were displayed at the local library and senior center, and presented information at a town-wide event. I also was able to document a cyanobacterial bloom at one of the town's ponds, and assist the health inspector on inspections.
Goals: Ultimately, I am looking to pursue a PhD in public health and conduct research in chronic disease prevention and management.
Martin Fernandez, MS '13
Prior Education: BA, Anthropology. Syracuse University
About: I am mostly interested in applying a biocultural and critical approach to questions of human health and nutrition, namely obesity and other chronic nutrition-based concerns. That being said, I am generally interested in human biology and am open to engaging in a variety of research topics.
Internship: Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, Healthy Eating and Active Living Team. I served under Dr. Enrique Jacoby in conducting various editorial, translation-based, and research activities on several topics. In regards to physical activity, we assisted in the editing and creation of promotional and informational materials for Open Streets (temporary closure of motorized roadways to promote physical activity). However, the majority of the tasks were concerned with investigating the prevalence of ultra-processed food consumption and potential responses to this manufacturing epidemic, specifically through school food programs.
Goals: For the time being, I plan on continuing my work at PAHO, as our research could very well yield publishing possibilities. I also plan on continuing to work with Dr. Garruto regarding the Broome County Childhood Obesity project. In regards to the bigger picture: I would like to explore more possibilities in nutrition-based health policy research and plan on continuing my graduate education in the form of a PhD, likely in nutritional anthropology.
Amy Radcliff, MS '13
Prior Education: I received my B.A in anthropology from Hartwick College in 2011. Internship: Lourdes Hospital: The Hope Dispensary of the Southern Tier
About: Through my work with the Hope Dispensary, I came to really appreciate the time and effort these individuals put in to reach out to the community and bring them access to quality health care. When I first came to Binghamton I was convinced that I wanted to work with lab research, particularly pertaining to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. However, after experiencing first hand the health gap in the Binghamton community I have found a new passion in community outreach and health education programs.
Internship: The Hope Dispensary is a non-profit organization and is part of Lourdes Hospital. The main aim of this organization is to provide individuals who do not have prescription medicine coverage with free medications. During my time with them, I conducted eligibility interviews to determine whether or not patients qualified for our program. I was also tasked with completing prescription assistance program applications for patients who did not qualify for Hope due to being over-income. This was an invaluable learning experience for me and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to reach out to the community in such an important way.
Future Plans: I will be returning to the Hope Dispensary to complete a year-long AmeriCorps position. I would like to continue on to either obtain my PhD or DrPH. Ultimately, I would like to use the skills I have developed here at Binghamton University to address the healthcare gap faced by many individuals today through community outreach and health education.
Allison Birnbaum, MS '13
Prior Education: Graduated with a BS in Biochemistry from Binghamton University
About: My interests are in Pharmacology, nutrition, and genetics. I had done research in two molecular anthropology laboratories as an undergraduate, and hoped to continue my research as a graduate student. I entered into the biomedical anthropology graduate program at Binghamton to gain something I felt was lacking in Biology and Chemistry, a global and cultural perspective of health.
Internship: I was fortunate enough to have two internships while in the biomed program. My first internship was at the Human Genetics Department at the University of Pittsburgh. I conducted laboratory work trying to identify genetic causes for primary lymphedema. My second internship was at the Feinstein Institute on Long Island, where I was to identify changes in gut microbiome profiles of neonates in the NICU for early diagnosis of necrotizing entercolitis. I also assisted in the Biorepository.
Goals: I am hoping to begin a career in pharmacogenetics or molecular biology, and potentially going on for a PhD in gene therapy. I would like to work in an environment where I not only get to do lab work, but also get the opportunity to interact with patients and the community.
Spencer Waldman, MS '13
Prior education: B.S. Anthropology concentration in Biological Anthropology, SUNY-Binghamton.
About: I am interested in community outreach and health program implementation. I believe in creating community appropriate health solutions. Through my time here at Binghamton University, I have learned how critical it is to ask the right questions and how difficult but exciting it can be to design health programs and conduct research. I have worked with the Broome County Health Department for the past 4 months and have learned not only how health operates within a government department but also about the realities of health access and living conditions. I like being able to see the difference I can make in people's lives where I live.
Internship: I worked for the Broome County Health Department in Environmental Health in the Lead Program. While it was not the internship I expected to have, it was one of the best experiences I will ever have. I assisted inspectors with housing inspections throughout the county, as well as helping to develop a new system of work plans for inspectors and contractors to use. I was given the opportunity to do outreach and education about the dangers of lead poisoning and the need to have children tested and keep houses clean. This internship led to a part time job during the Spring 2013 semester in which I was able work with WIC to increase child testing levels in Broome county.
Goals: I would love to be designing and implementing community health programs, whether it be coordinating for a non-profit, like the American Cancer Society, or working through a health department to improve the lives in my community.
Jacqueline Fritsch, MS '13
Prior Education: BS in Biology with Minors in French and Healthcare Ethics from St. Joseph's University
Internship: Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network Community and Professional Education Intern, Binghamton, NY
About: With a background in Biology and Healthcare Ethics, the Biomedical Anthropology MS program was an excellent fit for me. Through my courses and internship, I have had the opportunity to study the complex overlap of culture and health in more detail. My internship allowed me to observe firsthand the public health issues that women in the Greater Binghamton community face on a daily basis. I learned about the various prevention and intervention plans that M&BPN provide to assist their clients. In addition, I had the opportunity to help execute elements of a breastfeeding grant initiative, work on a research survey, present the findings of the survey at the New York State Perinatal Association Annual conference in Albany, and develop an educational tool for at risk high school students.
Goals: In June 2013 I will be assuming the position of research associate at the Adult Cystic Fibrosis and Bronchiectasis Center of the North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System in New Hyde Park, New York currently held by Bridget Condon, a Biomedical Anthropology Alumnus. In this position, I hope to make a difference in the lives of the patients I meet as well as gain skills in clinical research coordination.
Julianna Perez, MS '13
Prior Education: B.A. in Anthropology and B.S. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin
About: I entered Binghamton University because of the great faculty in the Biomedical Anthropology Program. Binghamton allowed me to explore many of my interests as well as find new, unexpected venues of research. I entered into the program with a fondness for infectious disease and found an unexpected, equal interest in chronic disease. While I found that specializing in academia has been the most difficult aspect of my graduate career, I was able to cheat and join the two specialties into one pursuit by studying how infectious disease causes a priming affect in humans that may keep chronic disease at bay. I am also interested in chronic inflammation and immune function.
Internship: I interned at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in the AT&T Genomics and Computing Center under the tutelage of Dr. Vincent Diego, an alumni of Binghamton University. The institute allowed me to conduct statistical genetic research on the role of infectious disease burden on trait variation for two research projects. The first project studied the effect of worm burden in the Jiri of Nepal. The second project analyzed the effect of infectious disease burden on metabolic syndrome traits in Alaska Natives who participated in the Genetics of Coronary Artery Disease in Alaska Natives (GOCADAN) Study. Overall, this internship inspired me to want to pursue my PhD while studying the implications of infectious disease on chronic inflammation and subsequent effects of immune function.
Goals: While a difficult decision, I have decided to leave Binghamton University to pursue my PhD in Biological Anthropology at Northwestern University. My advisor at Northwestern is Dr. Thomas McDade, and I will be studying the interactions of infectious disease, chronic disease, and general immune function. From there, my future plans depend on where the research and adventure takes me! In general, I plan on conducting research either in academia or full time in an institute research environment.
Class of '12
Kristen Rachfal, MS '12
Prior education: BS in Biology from Syracuse University; 2009 Internship: Infection Control, Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y.
About: Working with Crouse Hospital's Infection Control Dept helped me to understand the measures that Infection Control Practitioners take to prevent the spread of resistant and hospital acquired infections (HAIs). I created and organized my own surveillance project of the patient floors for Contact Precautions and hand hygiene compliance by the visitors and staff. I was able to highlight some reoccurring issues that could be modified in order to increase the effectiveness of precautions and reduce transmission of HAIs. I was also able to do some data collection for a point prevalence study coordinated by the Emerging Infections Program of the Centers for Disease Control. As the first large scale prevalence study in 30 years, the CDC had our team collect information on antimicrobial use, medical device risk factors, and causative microorganisms. This information will be used to identify the most prevalent HAIs and overused antibiotics, and create new guidelines that address the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance. I enjoyed being able to see the active role that is undertaken directly within the hospital to prevent infection resistance. This complements the more passive learning from classes. I also found it beneficial to see the time and planning that it takes to organize your own research project, the patience of data collection, and working around any bumps in the road of planning.
Goals: With my degree in biology, I've always had a broad interest in infectious microbial diseases, but the biomedical anthropology program helped me gain a perspective in human health that a biology degree is somewhat lacking; instead of the knowledge of the mechanisms of health problems, the program highlights why they got to be that way and how we can apply the knowledge of the mechanisms to initiate change. I hope to use this perspective to work in a research oriented laboratory relating to infectious microbial diseases or whatever interest comes my way.
Caleb Judy, MS '12
Prior education: Graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2009 with a BA in anthropology; Internship: HOPE – Pre-release Program in the Allegheny County Jail and Rimbach Publishing
About: I worked with the HOPE program in the Allegheny County Jail. HOPE stands for, Helping Open People's Eyes. This pre-release program focused on equipping inmates with the tools needed for their release to reduce the rate of recidivism.
Internship: I was given the opportunity to teach classes on addiction and mental health. On top of teaching I was responsible for database management and planning the graduation ceremony for those who were graduating. I also worked with the Rimbach Publishing Company. Here I worked on two magazines: Pollution Equipment News and Industrial Hygiene News. I was responsible for distribution management, article editing and fact checking. These magazines dealt with the health of the employee in the work place, whether environmental or industrial.
Goals: Ultimately, I would like to teach anthropology at the collegiate level, so I would like to obtain my PhD. Currently I am applying for jobs that will that will further my experience in public health, where I can apply the tools and knowledge that I have gained from the MS program.
Jen Lavelle, MS '12
Prior education: BA in anthropology, minor in Spanish from Montclair State University; Internship: Mount Sinai School of Medicine's Orthopaedics Research Lab
About: My main interests are in economic inequalities, immunology and stress and their relation to health status. The biomedical anthropology program was a great fit for my interests because the program is very well-rounded and does a good job integrating culture with issues in human biology and biomedicine.
Internship: Before entering the program, I had a general interest in health, but was able to develop my laboratory, applied and research skills in this program and during my internship.
Goals: I hope to have a desk-free career in public health or healthcare research.
Harold Silverman, MS '12
Prior education: Graduated with a BS in anthropology and an EVOS certificate from Binghamton University.
About: I originally went into college expecting to apply to medical schools. Little did I know that I would find my true passion, biological anthropology. Through this I realized that I could do more with research than I could as an MD. While at Binghamton, I was lucky enough to find the Biomedical Anthropology MS program, which gave me the opportunity to discover my passion and path in research.
Internship: Field research in the Republic of Vanuatu: I spent seven weeks in the Republic of Vanuatu with a team from Binghamton University. We surveyed 1914 Ni-Vanuatu people on five different islands of varying modernization. I personally performed anthropometric measurements of height, weight and percent body fat using bioelectric impedance. I also become functionally fluent in one of the national languages, Bislama, and helped with surveying. The survey consisted of six pages with various questions on family, diet, physical activity and technology. Our goal was to discover a link between modernization and noncommunicable diseases. Overall, this internship was a life changing experience; it helped shape my life perspective and gave me an amazing life experience.
Goals: Upon graduating with my MS this spring, I will begin preparing for a job at the Feinstein Institute affiliated with the North Shore-LIJ Healthcare system. After working in this lab, I hope to gain further knowledge and experience to then go on and get my PhD. I would eventually like to take both my love of anthropology and medicine and merge them to put the anthropology back in medical research.
Bridget Condon, MS '12
Prior education: I graduated in 2011 from Binghamton University with a BS in anthropology.
About: I have always had interests in healthcare, particularly personalized medicine so the Biomedical Anthropology Program was an excellent fit for me. I have personal as well as profession interests in both cystic fibrosis and crisis intervention. I currently volunteer nationally for RAINN and locally for the Crime Victims Assistance Center as a rape crisis counselor. I really enjoy volunteering with both of these organizations and plan to continue into the future.
Internship: I completed my internship at the Adult Cystic Fibrosis and Bronchiectasis Center of the North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System in New Hyde Park, New York. This was an invaluable experience working with an incredible team of health care professionals as well as an amazing patient population. My work focused on advanced care planning for cystic fibrosis and resulted in a presentation at the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference in November of 2011.
Goals: My desire to change the standard of care for patients with cystic fibrosis has only increased throughout the course of this program and has led me to pursue a degree in nursing. I have always wanted to work in healthcare but wasn't sure of how until completing my internship. I will be returning to the Adult Cystic Fibrosis and Bronchiectasis Center for one year as a research associate and will also be applying to nursing programs. I look forward to one day being a nurse practitioner focusing on cystic fibrosis and palliative care.
Class of '11
Kaitlin Drouin, MS '11
Prior education: In May 2009, I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Bridgewater State University and graduated magna cum laude. The Anthropology Department bestowed upon me its highest honor, the George B. Horner Award for Excellence in Anthropology. While my interests then were human evolution and diversity, I wouldn't have developed a keen interest in health research until I began earning my master's degree here at Binghamton University.
About: Although I admit to having many different interests, my main focus lies within bio-behavioral health research and community health education and outreach. I have a specific interest in Hispanic populations both nationally and internationally and hope to use my knowledge of the Spanish language and Latin American cultures to help those who are disadvantaged. I am also firm in my belief that health research should precipitate change within healthcare systems and facilities.
Internship: Although I spent a significant portion of internship hours creating the outline for the Anthropology Department's Forensic Laboratory, most of my time was spent at the Broome County Health Department. My time there was divided between two departments: Environmental Health and the Clinic. While working with the Lead Poisoning Program in Environmental Health, I performed community outreach for education and inspections and developed educational media such as flyers, fact-sheets and posters. I also compiled data into a GIS map in order to demonstrate which areas of our target area had been reached and which had been neglected. While working with the Tuberculosis Clinic, I would perform secretarial duties while also educating patients on their diagnosis during appointments. During this time, I learned many things about TB including how to read a PPD skin test or a chest x-ray and about cultural barriers that exist between patients and medical professionals. Lastly, my duties in the Flu Clinic mainly concerned educating patients and dealing with Medicare and other insurances.
Future plans: In the future, I hope to use my keen skill set in research methodology to work within a clinical or laboratory setting on health-related issues, while also being active in a community or international context.
Emily Ehrlich, MS '11
Prior education: Graduated from the University of Delaware in May 2009 with a BA in biology and minor in anthropology
About: I have always been interested in health and bio-related topics, but my minor in anthropology taught me the importance of looking at the role that human culture plays on health and disease. I applied to a number of graduate schools that focused on biological anthropology, but I decided to attend Binghamton University because of its unique MS Biomedical Anthropology Program. Unsure of what I exactly wanted to do, the program was beneficial to me because it covered a broad number of topics, from which I was able to decide where I wanted to direct my focus.
Internship: I completed my internship at the Connecticut Department of Public Health working in the survey and research section. I worked on a number of projects, including the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The work I most enjoyed was reviewing biomedical grant contracts the state held with different research groups. This allowed me to learn more about current research areas and then develop my writing skills as I wrote research summaries for people who do not have a science background. I was also able to shadow other areas of the department, including school environmental health, infectious diseases and the state laboratory. Overall, I feel like my internship gave me a well-rounded perspective of the public health field and gave a stronger idea of the career I wish to pursue.
Goals: Even though I have graduated, the Department of Public Health has allowed me to extend my internship and continue working for them. I am hoping to start a career in the public health/biomedical research realm.
Maura Maloney, MS '11
Prior education: Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology and East Asian Languages and Cultures from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.
Internship: Epidemiology department of the Akron City Department of Health.
About: This internship helped me understand the finer workings of a public health department and all the services that are offered. I assisted the health department in its consolidation with the larger health department of Summit County and worked on small projects in which I used my statistics background. Also, I was able to sit in on a variety of meetings such as one related to quarantine and isolation, grant writing seminars, current patterns in communicable diseases and disaster preparedness activities.
Goals: Coming to this program, my focus of interest was in forensic anthropology, but through the variety of classes that were taught at Binghamton I realized I was more interested in infectious diseases and epidemiology than I was in forensics. Due to the flexibility of the biomedical program, the coursework at Binghamton was able to easily accommodate my new interests. After spending a year working, I plan to apply for doctorate programs in epidemiology where I can study the emergence and reemergence of infectious diseases.
Kristin McCarthy, MS '11
Prior education: Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from Binghamton University (May 2009)
Internship: Research Assistant at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y.
About: During this internship, I worked with the head of the Surgical Pathology Unit predominantly doing data analysis for a project involving the expedition of excised tissue samples to the lab. This analysis plus the write up of the methods ultimately led to my inclusion as an author in a paper. Additionally, I had the opportunity to attend a conference on biological staining, shadowed pathology assistants, pulled slides for an assay, was taught how to differentiate normal tissue from cancerous tissue and attended several rounds for medical students. I plan to work there again this summer.
Goals: Coming into this program I knew that I had an appreciation for the health-related aspects of anthropology, but the coursework here at Binghamton helped to tailor that down to epidemiology specifically. I am planning to pursue a doctorate in public health with a focus in epidemiology at Ohio State beginning in the fall of 2011. From there I hope to work in the public sector participating in surveillance, prevention and analysis programs pertaining to infectious diseases.
Alysa Pomer, MS '11
Prior education: BA in anthropology from American University (Washington, D.C.), 2008.
Internship: Identity Youth Center (Prevention Department, Southern Tier AIDS Program). In this internship, I served as a mentor to a pretty awesome group of teenagers and young adults from the Binghamton area. We discussed topics ranging from health to navigating the various cultures we are surrounded by, from avoiding the Freshman 15 to Pokemon. (Ah, the flexibility of anthropology!)
About: I pretty much am going to be interested in anything you place in front of me. (Unless it's football. That I just don't get.) My academic interests are generally in the public health field, specifically diseases, anthropometrics and genetics. I am interested in working with rural, developing and otherwise underprivileged populations (like teenagers). Also, I love the Red Sox.
Plans: Taking over the world. But completing my PhD first.
Christine Wheat, MS '11
Prior education: BA in cultural anthropology – SUNY Cortland, 2007
Internship: Ithaca Health Alliance, Ithaca N.Y. Feb.-Dec. 2010. The Ithaca Health Alliance (IHA) is a non-profit community organization in Ithaca focused on providing access to healthcare for the uninsured and underinsured. I was involved with all three programs of the IHA; the free clinic, the Health Fund and the outreach/education program. At the clinic, I assisted the Clinic Coordinator by scheduling appointments, answering phones, returning messages, preparing for open clinic hours, making reminder phone calls and copying, mailing and faxing medical records when needed. I also got to administer the patient discharge questionnaire, assist patients in locating affordable medications and review patient charts, using ICD9 coding to determine specific diagnoses to enter into the patient database. By interacting with patients, reviewing charts and helping during open clinic hours, I was able to gain an overall sense of the community's health needs.
My work with the Health Fund, which is a grant program that provides financial assistance to IHA members for medical and dental bills, was especially rewarding. Under the office manager's supervision, I reviewed members' medical bills, determined their grant eligibility and completed the necessary paperwork for grants awarded/denied. I also sent out monthly member renewal notices and updated the grant statistics on the IHA website. Being involved with this program and seeing people receive much needed financial assistance to help cover healthcare expenses was so fulfilling and inspiring that I continue my work there as a volunteer.
I was also involved with the education and outreach program. I accompanied the Outreach Coordinator to business meetings and outreach events in and out of Tompkins County, created and maintained a business and donor outreach database, and a Chamber of Commerce database, and frequently prepared mailings.
Goals: My focus in this program has been on epidemiology and public health. I hope to find work in a public health department, hospital or non-profit organization, doing applied anthropological work or research. My time at the IHA has given me the insight to know that I would thrive in such areas.
Class of '10
Katie A. Brown, MS ’10
Prior education: BA from DePauw University in 2008 focusing on Anthropology and Biochemistry
Internship: Southern Tier AIDS Program, Binghamton, N.Y. I worked with the agency’s medical advocate. The internship consisted of two parts. I attended home visits to HIV+ client’s homes where I assisted with education and medication and medication side effect management. I also created a series of education modules which focused on various HIV issues to be used to train and educate clients and peer educators.
About: My field experience in Ghana and Central America, coupled with my internship with the Southern Tier AIDS program, has steered me toward a focus in HIV/AIDS. Specifically I have chosen to focus on the epidemiology of the virus, secondary prevention, and medication and medication side effects.
Goals: Upon graduation with my MS in the spring, I am planning on getting my MA in biological anthropology. I will then go on to obtain my MD, with which I will continue to work with HIV/AIDS in Africa and the United States.
Vanessa R. Davis, MS ’10
Prior education: Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology with a concentration in Physical Anthropology from SUNY Buffalo, 2007
Internship: Southern Tier AIDS Program (STAP), Binghamton, N.Y. intern at Identity Youth Center.
About: This internship was under the Prevention Department working with a Harm Reduction Model of Behavioral Change in a high-risk group of teenagers. Over the course of the internship I gained valuable knowledge about the unique health risks of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth. I was able to use my anthropology background in assessing the vastly different culture these teens live in from the one that I grew up in just 15 years ago. Being open to the many new things that they experience allowed me to build relationships with them and in turn share my experiences and help show them ways in which to build healthy lifestyles. I also designed new ways of assessing the effectiveness of the youth center to help determine its future course.
Goals: I was hired as the Youth Center Educator in September after finishing my internship. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here thus far. In addition to the responsibilities I had as an intern, I am working closely with the Peer Youth Educators in their individual development as well as continuing to educate the youth and now the community at large. I am looking forward to finishing my last year in Binghamton with STAP and will then be leaving the area to pursue LGBTQ health issues in other areas of the country.
Ludmila Keller, MS '10, MA ’10
Prior education: BA, 2008, archaeology and anthropology, University of Bristol, United Kingdom
Internship: Molecular Epidemiology Laboratory, School of Public Health at the University of Michigan
About: I became interested in medical anthropology and the relationship between culture and health during my undergraduate years. I found the Biomedical Anthropology Program to be a perfect fit for my interests because of its interdisciplinary approach to health and disease. During the last year, I have developed strong interests in evolutionary medicine and the relationship between health and nutrition. I completed my internship at the School of Public Health of the University of Michigan. I was trained in molecular laboratory techniques and assisted with various ongoing projects in the Molecular Epidemiology Laboratory, including studies of Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus aureus and of the microorganisms found in the mouth and human breast milk. Through this internship, I gained a much deeper understanding of the (human) host-parasite interaction and evolution.
Goals: I plan to complete my PhD in Biological Anthropology at Binghamton University, as this academic setting will allow me to include both social and biological/evolutionary aspects in my future research on human health.
Paul Meddaugh, MS ’10
Prior education: BS in anthropology with minor in chemistry from Binghamton University
Internship: Infection Control, Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris, N.Y. I worked alongside the hospital’s infection control practitioner participating in all aspects of the job. In addition I was given several independent projects, mainly dealing with staff education of certain common infectious organisms. I also occasionally assisted the disaster preparedness coordinator with a few projects.
About: My interest in anthropology began during my sophomore year after taking a few anthropology classes. I was so intrigued with it I decided to make it my major. Epidemiology began to interest me during my studies and is part of the reason I decided to remain at Binghamton to pursue the Biomedical Anthropology MS. The use of anthropological thought in the approach to disease surveillance, transmission, prevention and control I found to be very useful. This program was very beneficial in helping me with my future goals and what I have learned here will be of great benefit to me in whichever profession I end up in.
Goals: It is my plan to attend veterinary school and apply all I’ve learned with the MS in Biomedical Anthropology to veterinary medicine. It is my long-term goal to have my veterinary degree and work in a public health setting as a veterinary epidemiologist or as a practicing veterinarian.
Class of '09
Risana Nizam Chowdhury, MS '09
Prior education: Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with areas of concentration in Biology, Chemistry and Spanish from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Internship: Bench research studying mutations in mitochondrial DNA in patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinsonium Dementia (PD) of Guam, Binghamton University.
About: The Biomedical Anthropology program was a perfect fit, because of its interdisciplinary nature and vast scope of disease research. I have learned so much from the variety of core subjects including anthropology, genetics/biology, epidemiology and pathology/forensics, not to mention laboratory procedures that I will use probably for the rest of my life. I have a personal interest in disease research, but would also like to pursue a career in dentistry. I hope to bridge these two areas by partaking in oral cancer research focusing on environmental and genetic triggers. The public health aspects of the program will also be useful as I hope to at least be involved part time in community and international health in the future.
Bonny Covey, MS '09
Prior education: BA in archaeology and a minor in Spanish from Appalachian State University.
Internship: Office of the Chief Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill, N.C.
About: During the summer of 2008, I spent two months as an intern at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. While there, I had the opportunity to observe numerous medico-legal autopsies as well as help out with several forensic cases. Over the course of my internship, I gained valuable hands-on experience in the field of forensic anthropology as well as important knowledge about human anatomy and pathology. Currently, I am enrolled in the post-baccalaureate pre-medical program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I will be done with my pre-requisites by May 2010, at which time I will be able to take the MCAT and begin applying to medical schools.
Goals: My internship with the ME's office and my time here at Binghamton has made me realize that my ultimate goal is to work in forensic pathology. I hope to begin medical school in the fall of 2011.
Sean Fiore, MS '09
Prior education: BA, 2006, anthropology, Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
(1) Madison County Department of Health, Wampsville, N.Y. I worked with the Public Health Educator (who is also an MS graduate) to develop a pandemic influenza vaccination strategy. The plan outlines how vaccine resources will be handled and allocated by county officials and healthcare personnel in the event of a pandemic flu. This plan required independent research and demographic analysis to evaluate the vaccination needs of a largely rural county in central New York. I also participated in weekly disease surveillance and risk communication meetings to discuss local outbreaks, assess seasonal flu status and evaluate control options.
(2) Southern Tier AIDS Program, Johnson City, N.Y. I designed a database to track medical outcomes to be used as a tool to measure success of the case management system. I assisted the medical advocate with developing a treatment readiness and treatment literacy program for HIV+ clients starting or changing an antiretroviral regimen. I was also active in client services such as client intake, case management and service plan evaluation, and home visits.
About: As an undergraduate, I was intrigued by the diversity of the disease burden amongst human populations. I became particularly interested in the application of anthropology to understand epidemiological factors and other health-related issues. The MS program in Biomedical Anthropology allowed me to expand these interests, and helped me develop a new set of skills to tackle many health challenges.
Goals: I hope to take on a leadership role in the public health arena. I am prepared for a position in disease control and healthcare management. I would also like to participate in epidemiological research studies. Ultimately, I hope to obtain a PhD in epidemiology, conduct research, teach students, contribute to biomedical knowledge and improve the health and lives of others.
Justin R. Garcia, MS '09; PhD Track
Prior education: BA in neuroscience and behavioral development, Certificate in Evolutionary Studies, Binghamton University, 2007
Internship: Brain-Body Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). I worked under the auspices of Professor C. Sue Carter, PhD.
About: My primary research interests are in the evolutionary and biological foundations of human love, sexual behavior and reproductive health. A second but overlapping area of interest is the behavioral neurogenetics and behavioral endocrinology of individual differences in reproductive and sensation-seeking behaviors in humans and other animals.
Goals: I am a SUNY Doctoral Fellow in the Laboratory of Evolutionary Anthropology and Health, departments of Biological Sciences and Anthropology at Binghamton University. I also hold an appointment as adjunct lecturer in the Department of Health and Wellness Studies and am affiliated with the Institute for Evolutionary Studies (EvoS program). My research stream has expanded, but I continue to focus on the evolutionary and biological foundations of reproductive behavior. A recent list of my research projects and publications can be found at http://evolution.binghamton.edu/evos/people/jgarcia/.
Kito Nzingha, MS '09, MA '09
Prior education: BA in anthropology in 2004 from Howard University, Washington, D.C.
Internship: Observing autopsies as well as attending pathology and tumor board meetings at Wilson Regional Memorial Hospital, Johnson City, N.Y. Also, training to become an eye recovery technician for Central New York Eye and Tissue Bank which is a division of Upstate New York Transplant Services.
About: My interests lie within the human body. I gained interest in the human skeleton while working with the New York African Burial Ground Project as an undergraduate and gravitated toward human osteology, forensic anthropology and bioarchaeology. I plan on working on projects with Dawnie Wolfe-Steadman where human remains are recovered at archaeological sites, trying to gather information from those remains.
Goals: I plan to go on to pursue either a PhD in forensic anthropology or a MD to work in a variety of areas ranging from assisting law enforcement agencies, to teaching and even excavating a mass burial.
Rebecca Polmateer, MS '09
Prior education: BA in archaeological studies and anthropology with minors in biological anthropology and medical anthropology from SUNY Potsdam
Internship: Washington County Public Health Department
About: I completed my internship during the summer of 2008. While there I worked with the health educator. I learned how to plan and teach health education programs, specifically to school-aged children and those in the prison system. By the end of the summer, I had planned and taught my own health education program.
Goals: The MS program in Biomedical Anthropology has helped me realize my interest in public health and epidemiology. When I finish in May of 2009, I intend to find employment in the public health field, specifically at the county level. I am confident that this program will have given me the tools I need to obtain my goals.
Eric Shattuck, MS '09
Prior education: BA in anthropology from University of Georgia, 2005
Internship: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne & Enteric Diseases (NCZVBED), Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases
About: Though my undergraduate focus was in cultural anthropology, I became interested in certain aspects of biological anthropology toward the end of my program at Georgia. Specifically, I was interested in the broad topics of evolutionary medicine, health and human migration, and the co-evolution of humans and pathogens. At Binghamton, I studied under Chris Reiber, focusing on the immune system, its genetic basis and the ecologies of immune function as a means of understanding the evolution of disease resistance.
During my internship in the summer of 2008, I assisted in extracting and sequencing human DNA from fatal influenza cases to search for cytokine polymorphisms which might contribute to influenza deaths. I also had the opportunity to be involved in differential diagnoses of pathological histology samples, learn immunochemistry techniques, and scanning electron and light microscopy. Perhaps most unique, I necropsied fruit bats captured in Uganda to examine their livers for evidence of Marburg infection. This side project was part of a larger effort to establish the wild animal reservoir of this hemorrhagic fever. My internship added considerably to my laboratory skills and enabled me to make many contacts within the CDC.
I am currently pursuing a doctoral degree in biological anthropology at Indiana University, Bloomington. My research has lately focused on the interplay between infection and behavior in humans; more information and publications can be found at our laboratory webpage: www.biologicalanthropology.org
Pauline Alperin (van Goozen), MS '09
Prior education: BA in anthropology with minor in psychology from the University of Rochester, 2005
Internship: University of South Alabama Department of Medical Genetics. I completed my internship in Mobile, Alabama during the summer of 2008. There were two major components to my internship. I worked with birth defect data from Alabama and from Europe. I also had the opportunity to shadow the clinical geneticist on patient care days. At the completion of my internship I had an understanding of the interaction between environmental toxins and birth defects. I also gained a much greater understanding of medical genetics and the current understanding of genetic disorders.
About: I am now employed at Yale University Gynecologic Oncology as the data manager for clinical trials. We pursue numerous clinical trials focused on chemotherapy and radiation regimens for treating women’s reproductive cancers. We maintain both pharmaceutical industry sponsored trails and investigator initiated trials. In this job I make use of research skills I learned in the MS program to maintain patient enrollment and outcome data, and communicate with pharmaceutical representatives from our sponsors.
Goals: The MS Program in Biomedical Anthropology has helped me focus my interest in maternal/child health and epidemiology. While I have not yet decided if I wish to pursue further education in patient care, or to continue in public health, I am confident that the skills I have earned in this program will serve me well.
Class of '08
Christa DeHuff, MS '08
Prior education: BS in Psychobiology, Minor in Spanish, SUNY Binghamton
Health Transition Fieldwork in Vanuatu - Our research group examined the health transition that is currently taking place due to modernization on this South Pacific archipelago. While in Vanuatu, I experienced hands-on data collection fieldwork in a completely foreign setting. This internship provided me with an invaluable experience; the opportunity to interact and live and work with individuals from another culture.
Broome County Health Department - At the local health department, I worked with the Healthy Living Partnership to assess the need for improvements in cancer-patient case management and gained experience in questionnaire development and participant recruitment and interviewing. My work discovered a need among patients for additional financial and emotional support services.
About: I currently work as a research coordinator for a small company in Manhattan that develops innovative resources to bridge the language gap in healthcare. I devote most of my time to the development and evaluation of an e-learning program designed to teach medical Spanish and cultural competency to healthcare workers. At my current position, I am able to apply research skills that I refined during the MS program and am confident that my training in anthropology provides a unique and valuable perspective.
Goals: After gaining experience in the workforce I hope to pursue a PhD, focusing my work on health disparities, disease prevention and nutrition.
Angie DeLuca, MS '08
Prior education: BS in anthropology, a minor in art history from Mansfield University, Mansfield PA.
Internship: Disorders of Function Clinic in Vestal, N.Y.
About: While in college I focused on archaeology until I was stricken with Crohn’s Disease. This life-altering event led me here to the MS program to advance my knowledge in the health sector. This program allows me to continue being an anthropologist while enabling me to focus on the biomedical sciences. My health led me to complete an internship at the Disorders of Function Clinic which is run by a gastroenterologist. While here, I gained knowledge on Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and became an assistant to the attending physician and office secretary.
Goals: I am currently finishing up with the MS program and plan to go to nursing school after graduation. With the combination of the MS program and my internship, I feel that I can use my knowledge best by becoming a nurse and going on to work in the public-health sphere.
Leah Robinowitz, MS '08
Prior education: BS in psychobiology from Binghamton University, minor in studio art, painting concentration
Internship: The first half of my internship was volunteering as a pharmacy technician at the Garabed A. Fatal Community Free Clinic, in downtown Binghamton. Gaining exposure to a different aspect of the continuum of health care was a wonderful experience, as was seeing how a free clinic is run and the benefits to its patients.
The second half of my internship was spent in D. Andrew Merriwether's laboratory, researching the agouti signaling protein. With his guidance, I designed primers, and began to sequence the PCR product with the goal of finding mutations coding for certain coat colors in alpacas.
Goals: I have always been fascinated with health and human behavior. As an osteopathic medical student at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, we are taught to look at and treat the patient as a whole, including their emotional, mental and cultural state of well-being. Often I am able to apply knowledge I gained from the Biomedical Anthropology Program, and I know I will be a better physician for it. I also participate in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer research in the Neuroscience Department at NYCOM, working under Joerg Leheste. I strongly feel that the excellent lab techniques I learned in the biomedical program gave me a leg up with both securing a research position, as well as making my transition into a new lab very easy.
Although I love research and work in a neuroscience laboratory, my primary goal is to be a clinical osteopathic physician. Infectious disease, cardiology and emergency medicine are three fields that I am considering for my future career.
Sarah Walker, MA '08, MS '08
Prior education: BA in psychology, minor in dance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2003
Thesis: "Evaluating physical fitness trends and outcomes in children using FitnessGram standardized test scores,″ a pilot surveillance study conducted in partnership with a local middle school and the Broome County Health Department.
Internship: My internship experience involved a series of community health projects and initiatives through the Broome County Health Department and Binghamton University, including a local school-based child health surveillance study led by PhD student Marc Lichtenfeld, the Oneida County Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Surveillance Project led by Ralph Garruto, and Steps to a HealthierNY with the BCHD. The CWD Project was a particularly valuable learning experience for me, as our group monitored (and continues to monitor) the health of a group of people from upstate New York who were accidentally exposed to infected venison in 2005.
About: After becoming interested in social psychology, neurobiology, nutritional anthropology and evolutionary studies in college, I spent some time as a social worker, providing behavioral therapy for children with autism and ADHD. I started to develop interests in childhood nutrition, obesity and the etiology of neurological disorders. However, my experience in the Biological and Biomedical Anthropology Programs at Binghamton helped me discover that what I enjoyed the most was applied work, particularly in epidemiology and public health.
The program led me directly to an interesting and challenging position as a public health educator for the Broome County Health Department within a few months of graduation. I started out in obesity and chronic-disease prevention (Steps to a HealthierNY), launching a county-wide child health surveillance project and working on a new grant-funded chronic disease initiative. Now I am working full-time in environmental health, serving as the coordinator for a new Childhood Lead Poisoning Primary Prevention project. I will be a certified lead inspector/risk assessor, collaborating with numerous local government agencies (including Broome County GIS and DSS) and a variety of community partners. I am also serving on the BMTS Advisory Board, an organization concerned with bike and pedestrian issues in the city of Binghamton. I am learning a ton, doing something different every day and gaining valuable experience that will help me establish an enjoyable career in public health.
Class of '07
John Darcy, MS '07
Prior education: 1996 BS earth sciences-geosciences concentration, minor in geography, The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University; 2007 MS biomedical anthropology and 2010 MA anthropology, Binghamton University (SUNY).
Occupation: Pharmaceutical sales and marketing, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Cardiovascular Division 2000-2010; full-time doctoral student 2010-present.
Internship: Garabed Fattal Community Free Clinic Pharmacy of SUNY Upstate Medical University Binghamton Campus; United Health Services Hospitals Wilson Regional Medical Center Pathology Department, Morgue
About: I earned the MS in biomedical anthropology in 2007, on a part-time basis while working full time for UK based AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Through professional experience and extensive volunteer work at the Garabed Fattal Community Free Clinic of Upstate Medical University's Binghamton Clinical Campus and UHS' Wilson Hospital Department of Pathology, I have developed a keen interest in biomedical sciences. In 2010, I received the MA in anthropology. My thesis was titled “The Biomedical Evolutionary History of Lyme Disease in North America and Europe.” I continue to develop my interest in Lyme disease at the doctoral level. In the spring of 2011, I began field work in Lyme disease vaccine research with the Brisson Lab of the University of Pennsylvania.
Goals: I plan on completing the PhD in biological anthropology with a focus on infectious disease (Lyme disease) ecology and evolution. My future plans are to engage in research and teaching at an academic or government institution.
Heidi Gastrich, MA '07, MS '07
Prior education: BA in anthropology, The Ohio State University.
Internship: Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
About: The MS degree in biomedical anthropology offers a curriculum that is interesting, applicable and allows for the exploration of a variety of topic areas through courses, laboratory work, internship possibilities and various projects. The first year of study made my internship possible, which led into my MA thesis topic and allowed me opportunities to participate in various symposia. In addition to course work, I was also able to participate and collaborate on other on-going group projects. I learned a great deal about working in a group and the details of completing a research study from the beginning. After graduating, I took a position working in clinical trials in the field of oncology. In this current career I continue to build on skills and concepts examined in anthropology, at the forefront of which is both problem solving and critical thinking.
Melissa Gates, MS '07
Nicole Navratil, MS '07
Prior education: BA in anthropology with a minor in women’s studies from SUNY Oswego.
Internship: Laboratory of Interpersonal Violence and Victimization, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y.
About: While working at the Laboratory of Interpersonal Violence and Victimization (LIVV), I was able to explore issues of homicide, domestic violence and sexual assault from both a legal and public health perspective. I was also able to learn more about the field of forensic science and the prevention of infectious disease specifically pertaining to issues of sexual assault, as I observed the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) training course and spent time shadowing the director of the SANE program. While in Binghamton, I have been able to continue research for LIVV on the epidemiology of murder-suicide, while also working as a lab assistant for Ralph Garruto in the Serum Archive Laboratory.
The Biomedical Anthropology Program has given me the tools and training I need to approach public-health issues in an integrated and culturally sensitive way. I find the staff and students to be incredibly supportive and I have constantly felt challenged and motivated by the individuals I have had the privilege of working with in this program.
Amanda Tavares, MS '07
Prior education: BS (Honors) in forensic biology from Laurentian University, Ontario, Canada.
Internship: Broome County Public Health Department
About: The Biomedical Anthropology Program offers a variety of opportunities for learning both in and out of the classroom. In addition to my internship, I had the chance to participate in a prion research project, children's health study and worked in the Serum Archive Laboratory. These experiences allowed me to develop a variety of research and field epidemiology skills. The program itself is very flexible in accommodating individual interests. Besides the required courses, I was able to take a GIS independent study and two nursing courses which focused on emergency preparedness.
Goals: After graduation I wanted to gain more hands-on experience and accepted an international internship funded by the Canadian International Development Agency. I spent six months in Cape Town, South Africa, conducting surveillance on harmful energy-related incidents with the Paraffin Safety Association of Southern Africa. Upon my return to Canada, I accepted a health data analyst position with a local health unit. This position will enable me to pursue my interests in epidemiology, specifically relating to communicable diseases.
Class of '06
Carolyn Arber, MS '06
Prior education: BA in cultural anthropology, University of New Hampshire (1996), MS in biomedical anthropology, Binghamton University (2006), MS in medical pathology, University of Maryland - Baltimore (2008)
Internship: Wilson Memorial Hospital, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Binghamton, N.Y.
About: While studying at Binghamton, I worked as an employee of the Research Foundation of the State University of New York, in the Serum Archive Laboratory for Ralph Garruto. Some of the responsibilities included aliquoting sera and developing and maintaining the records, protocols and database information. In addition to being an excellent learning experience in laboratory life, the position was challenging and entertaining.
The biomedical program more than met my expectations for unique and stimulating course work and provided a venue in which to explore my varied interests. Additionally, there were outstanding opportunities for independent and collaborative lab and field research and the faculty were encouraging and supportive (and patient) of any endeavor in which you may choose to participate.
While interning at Wilson Memorial Hospital, I was able to observe and participate in aspects of pathology including autopsy, surgical and gross pathology, microbiology and histology. Thanks to my experience in this program and my internship, I have since completed further training at the University of Maryland Baltimore, Pathologists' Assistant Program where I studied gross anatomy, histology, embryology and pathology among others. My second year at UMB involved training in autopsy and surgical pathology with rotations at local hospitals and research institutions. I am a member of AAPA (American Association of Pathologist's Assistants), am employed by Clinical Laboratory Partners as a pathologists' assistant and work at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn. While I have diverged, somewhat, from the field of biomedical anthropology, I constantly use laboratory skills and techniques I acquired at Binghamton University.
I am thrilled, as I follow along with biomed news from Binghamton University, to know that the work I did in the Serum Archive Laboratory helped facilitate ongoing and future research projects.
Chim Chan, MS '06, PhD Track
Prior education: BS in biochemistry, Binghamton University.
Internship: Emergency Department, Lourdes Hospital, Binghamton, N.Y.
About: As an undergraduate, I was interested in the application of molecular biology in understanding of demographic history and health conditions of human populations. One of my first projects as a graduate biomedical anthropology student was to explore the possibility of extracting Plasmodium falciparum (malaria parasite) DNA from archived human serum specimens. Expanding from the preliminary study, my current research focuses on the evolution of chloroquine resistance in P. falciparum from the southwestern Pacific.
The interdisciplinary nature of the Biomedical Anthropology Program at Binghamton University greatly expanded my research interests. In addition to the study on chloroquine resistance, I am also involved in a variety of ongoing projects, including neurodegeneration on Guam, peopling of the Pacific, origins of the Sea Gypsies in Thailand, and obesity in children. These additional interests have taken me to fieldworks in (1) Vanuatu during the summer of 2007, where we collected baseline data on the prevalence of non-communicable diseases in a population undergoing rapid modernization, and (2) Puerto Rico in January of 2008, where we collected biological specimens from roosters to examine the association between dopamine receptor polymorphisms and aggressive behavior. Diverse interests and guidance from experienced faculty, combined with state-of-the-art laboratory facilities provide a stimulating environment for both research and training for future careers.
Deanne Gebo, MS '06 (MA expected '09)
Prior education: LA/AS, Broome Community College. BS in biology, SUNY College at Oneonta.
Internship: Binghamton University Laboratory of Evolutionary Anthropology and Health/Ancient DNA and Forensic Laboratory.
About: During my internship, I performed mitochondrial DNA extractions from human and animal bone and teeth and subsequent PCR amplification and sequencing of regions of interest. I was also able to extract and sequence DNA from samples with potential forensic relevance, such as cigarette filters, hair, envelopes, toothbrush bristles and blood stained clothing.
The aspect of the Biomedical Anthropology Program that has been most beneficial to my studies has been collaboration among the various state-of-the-art laboratories, the tremendous support of faculty members and research opportunities. Beyond my laboratory experience, I have been fortunate to be able to assist in forensic cases under the direction of forensic anthropologist Dawnie Steadman.
Kristin Loos, MS '06
Prior education: BA in anthropology and biology from the University of Rochester.
Internship: New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health
About: I had been teaching high school biology before coming here last fall, and I am currently interning at the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH). Part of my internship at NYCAMH includes working on final revisions for the Migrant Clinician's Occupational Health Reference Manual which I will be pilot testing this summer. Additionally, I will also present the manual at the North American Agromedicine Consortium in Virginia.
Goals: My interests lie primarily with rural health in the United States, specifically women's health and other underrepresented groups. Thus, after graduation, I hope to return to NYCAMH.
For me the most positive aspects of the program have been the exceptional teaching by the faculty, and the collaboration among them, meaning that as students we are able to apply things learned in one course, to all of our other courses. The opportunities available for us in terms of research projects are also numerous. I find that all the faculty and students are supportive and friendly.
Daniel Lynch, MS '06, MA '07
Prior education: BA in anthropology with a minor in biology, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
Internship: National Institutes of Health, working in the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stoke (NIH, NINDS).
About: The Biomedical Anthropology Program has given me the tools needed to become a professional researcher, which is one of my future goals. I learned many laboratory techniques for scientific study. The classes I have taken at Binghamton have given me a terrific foundation of information and knowledge to have the ability to attain my goals as a researcher. The most distinguished aspect I learned from my classes has undoubtedly been problem-solving skills. As an anthropologist, I am learning to work through the many levels of inquiry, from the cell and molecular level, to the human population level as a whole. This is what I found most interesting and motivating about our program.
I thoroughly enjoyed the relationship between professor and student. The classroom attention is up front and professional, while at other times personal, all of which I find important to generate my enthusiasm as a graduate student. In short, the program teaches students to think about hypotheses, the ways to go about solving them (problem solving skills),and the many ways one can interpret their data.
Post-graduation (2008): Since leaving Binghamton, I have moved out of the academic environment and into the non-profit biomedical research field. I am a part of a laboratory research team that is pioneering the personalized medicine arena. The goal of our research project is to better understand the impact of genome-informed medicine and to guide its ethical, legal and responsible implementation. This research study is a forward-thinking, collaborative effort involving volunteer study participants, physicians, scientists, ethicists, genetic counselors and information technology experts. This project will take an evidence-based approach to determine what genome information is clinically useful. Participants may benefit from this research study by utilizing potentially medically actionable information about their personal genomes in their medical care. Participants may share their genome profile with their physician(s) in order to use this information to help determine appropriate recommended lifestyle changes and/or medical interventions.
It was in Binghamton's Biomedical Anthropology Program that I acquired the tools and problem-solving skills that have allowed me to adequately perform as a scientific researcher. During my time at Binghamton, while in an open and professional atmosphere, I have especially and importantly obtained the necessary social skills to communicate scientific data orally at meetings and conferences, which is required of me to perform as part of a research team at the internationally renowned Coriell Institute for Biomedical Research.
As of November 2009, the Coriell Institute has established a research collaboration with Operation Smile, where I will be involved both the collection and processing of DNA samples from countries where Operation Smile volunteers perform surgeries for cleft lip and cleft palate children. This is in an effort to discover gene(s) that may be involved both within and across populations. This is an arena of research where I need use both of my cultural and biomedical training received at Binghamton to perform more than adequately in both a fieldwork and laboratory atmosphere.
Della Stumbaugh, MS '06
Prior education: BA in biology and anthropology from Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Wa.
Internship: Ancient/Forensic Laboratory, Binghamton University, Wa.
I had the unique opportunity to establish the Ancient DNA/Forensic Laboratory at Binghamton University. This included researching the requirements of such a facility, equipping it to meet a specific budget and training students in the techniques employed there in extraction of DNA from ancient remains. While this laboratory is an ongoing part of the department, it was my privilege to help establish it.
Goals: After being granted my MS in biomedical anthropology, I moved back to the state of Washingto,. I am employed by Bio-Rad Laboratories. This company developed one of the first commercial tests available for Spongiform Encephalopathies, as well as employed one of the researchers who first identified the pathogen responsible for AIDS. I work in is the Clinical Diagnostics Department, which field-tests many of the products Bio-Rad develops for diagnosing diseases, including rapid tests for diagnosing HIV1/HIV2, Hepatitis B and several groups of autoimmune diseases. My job role as clinical data specialist is in preparing the data coming in from the current projects in the field for inclusion in reports to the FDA, as well as assisting in the establishment and organization of future projects. I am constantly drawing on the education I received at Binghamton University to help fulfill and understand the process and tasks that I perform. I am proud to be a part of this ground-breaking company, knowing that my participation helps the development of products that save lives. I am also grateful to Binghamton University for helping get me here. My interests, as well as my eventual career path, lie in forensic genetics, but I also remain interested in neurodegenerative diseases, international health, stress-effects and the consequences of modernization.
Miguel Vilar, MS '06, MA '07, PhD Track
Prior education: BA in anthropology, Haverford College. MS in journalism, Columbia University
Internship: Malaria Research in Vanuatu
Goals: I am currently writing up my dissertation work on population genetics in the Pacific. The focus of my research is inferring population origins and gene flow among three Pacific populations: Papua New Guinea, Western Micronesia and Vanuatu; through the analysis of mitochondrial DNA, Y-chromosome single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and autosomal microsatellites.
Goals: After earning my PhD, I hope to continue my anthropological research and incorporate that acquired knowledge with my science writing experience to produce more educational evolutionary and biomedical writing for a wider audience.
Jenn Weeks, MS '06
Prior education: BS in biological anthropology from Binghamton University, 2002.
(1) Broome County Health Department - I worked with the Bioterrorism Coordinator on the planning and development of the first Anthrax Biological Disaster System (BDS) Drill in cooperation with the Binghamton Post Office. I also worked with the Environment Health and Safety Department developing a mock database of foodborne illnesses using Epi Info and GIS (ArcView) to aid in surveillance and detection of potential bioterrorism related outbreaks that might originally appear to be food illnesses.
(2) Onondaga County Division of Emergency Management - I worked with the department commissioner to develop training presentations, guidelines and procedures for emergency response professionals for the county’s Emergency Operation Center (EOC) which is activated for all kinds of emergency events. I also received training on the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS), both of which are used during emergencies by many county and federal agencies.
Goals: As a biomedical anthropologist, my individualized training has provided me with unique perspectives and skills to apply towards problem solving among different issues concerning public health, bioterrorism and preparedness, epidemiology and methods in fieldwork and research. After graduating in December of 2005, I hope to work at the federal level, specializing in public health in emergency preparedness.
Heather Worne, MS '06, MA '06, PhD '11
Prior education: BS in anthropology, University of Kentucky
Internship: Kentucky State Medical Examiner's Office, Frankfurt. During my internship, I was able to observe and participate in numerous postmortem examinations of victims of natural disease, accidents, suicide, homicides and deaths of undetermined manner. I became better acquainted with a number of disciplines including forensic anthropology, death investigation, forensic pathology, law enforcement, criminalistics and jurisprudence. I also spent time with the Lexington Police Division of Robbery/Homicide and Patrol as well as observed the testimony of expert witnesses in murder trials in central Kentucky.
About: My interests include skeletal biology, bioarchaeology, paleopathology, and forensic anthropology. I completed my M.S. in Biomedical Anthropology and M.A. in Biological Anthropology here at Binghamton University-SUNY in January '06. The title of my M.A. thesis was "Lower-Limb Biomechanics and Behavior in a Middle Mississippian Skeletal Sample from West-Central Illinois."
Goals: I will graduate this May (2011) with my PhD in biological anthropology, also from Binghamton University. My dissertation is titled "Conflicting Spaces: Bioarcheological and Geophysical Perspectives on Warfare in the Middle Cumberland Region of Tennessee." I have recently accepted a tenure-track position as an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Kentucky.
Class of '05
Tiffany M. Bauer, MS '05
Prior education: BS in Athletic Training, Stetson University, Deland, FL.
Internship: Neuropathology Laboratory, The University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.
About: I recently graduated (spring 2005) from the MS Graduate Program in Biomedical Anthropology. The aspect of the MS program that I have enjoyed the most is its versatility. As the program requires elective coursework, it is structured so that students have the ability to tailor their education around their personal academic goals, allowing for both growth and specialization. Another positive aspect of the program is that it is very well suited for individuals who may not know exactly what area of biological anthropology they would like to focus upon. I entered the program with a strong interest in forensic anthropology and have been able to work under the direction of our forensic anthropologist, Dawnie Steadman, who has given me the opportunity to assist her with several forensic cases. Also while at Binghamton, I became interested in population-based perspectives of neurodegenerative disease and had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience while completing a summer internship.
Kathryn Lahn, MS '05
Natalie Ochs, MS '05, MA '05
Prior education: BA in neuroscience and behavior from Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Mass.
Internship: Broome County Public Health Department.
About: During the time between receiving my BA and starting the MS program at Binghamton, I worked as a reporter for a biomedical research and health policy journal. The work I was engaged in at the journal, combined with my growing interests in medical anthropology, led me to Binghamton University's Biomedical Anthropology Program.
The biomed program provides many opportunities for students to develop their research interests ranging from lab-based to field-based research. This program encouraged and enabled me to become involved in lab research, and was highly supportive of my interests in developing education and prevention strategies for infectious and chronic disease, with a focus on increasing public health communication with minority populations. For example, my master's thesis - "An Assessment of Communication Barriers that Impede Deaf Women in the U.S. from Access to and Inclusion in HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention Strategies" - involved an assessment of the types of communication barriers that exist among young deaf women to potentially impede their access to HIV/AIDS education, prevention, and treatment in the U.S. My thesis topic was inspired to a large extent by my internship experience with the county health department, which involved developing outreach strategies for special needs populations during natural and human-caused disasters. Prior to the completion of my thesis, I served as a research assistant for Laura Soloway's doctoral research on the effects of modernization on hypertension and obesity among the Saban population. Working with Laura on the island of Saba was a fantastic learning experience, not only from a scientific perspective, but also from a public health perspective, this research holds tremendous value and should be used by Sabans to design and implement effective health improvement strategies on Saba.
In June 2007, I began work as a scientific review specialist with the Scientific Review Program, Division of Extramural Activities, at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is recognized as the second largest institute at the National Institutes of Health. My work involves assisting with the administrative review of grant and contract applications in preparation for the scientific peer review phase. My current career goal is to move into policy-related work at the NIAID.
Kristen Saari, MS '05
Prior education: BS in biological anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Internship: Ingham County Health Department, Lansing, Mi.
About: After graduating from Binghamton University, I found a job at the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan as a research technician. I have been working on a prostate cancer metastasis mouse model, which involves making a knockout mouse and looking for differences at the DNA, RNA and protein levels in regards to the spread of prostate cancer. I have learned a lot on the job and thoroughly enjoy what I am doing. The biggest lesson I take with me from the Biomedical Anthropology Program is how important an interdisciplinary background is to understand the differences within and between populations and these lessons learned are essential to apply to any field.
Class of '04
Maggie DiVita, MS '04
Prior education: BA in anthropology from SUNY-Geneseo
Internship: Broome County Public Health Department
About: During my internship, I primarily worked within the clinics that the BCHD offers. With the STD clinic I helped with patient interviews and spinning and sending out blood samples for testing. I also worked on the Seroprevalence study designed to discover real incidences of HIV. I worked with the communicable disease nurse on the Smallpox Emergency Plan, an action plan to vaccinate all of Broome County should there ever be a smallpox outbreak. Other activities included working within the TB clinic, and learning how to use the program EpiInfo for foodborne outbreaks.
Goals: The MS program has allowed me to realize my career goals in applied epidemiology. I have developed an anthropological mind which allows me to look at the bigger picture in disease. I have been accepted to the Public Health School at the University of Buffalo in a PhD program in epidemiology. The MS has given me the background to begin this degree with confidence, knowing that I will always have the perspective of an anthropologist.
Liz Forshay, MS '04
Laura Soloway, MS '04, MA '04, PhD '07
Prior education: BA in anthropology, University of Massachusetts, Boston; MS in biomedical anthropology, Binghamton University; MA in anthropology, Binghamton University, PhD in anthropology, Binghamton University; post-doctoral fellow, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota.
Internship: New York Center for Agricultural Management and Health
About: My master's thesis is titled "Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Parkinsonism Dementia among the Chamorro People of Guam: Development of an experimental clinical rabbit model". My doctoral work is entitled "Hypertension and Obesity: Health Effects of Modernization on Saba, Netherlands Antilles". This island has undergone rapid modernization during the past 40 years and is a perfect natural experimental model for these diseases. This study began in fall 2005, and was completed in the summer 2006. After graduating with my PhD, I was part of a research team (through Binghamton University) studying health effects of modernization in Vanuatu. I recently returned to Saba to collect more data through a grant from the University of Minnesota. Through my post-doctoral position at the University of Minnesota on the Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention training grant, I have broadened my knowledge and skill set pertaining to epidemiology and have been able to continue my work with cardiovascular disease prevention and intervention. I was able to enroll in the Master of Public Health Program at University of Minnesota and should complete the program in 2010. Because of my experiences and skills, I was able to return to the Northeast to work at the New York State Cancer Registry as a research scientist.
The MS in biomedical anthropology is a wonderful program. It is designed to educate the student in various aspects of biomedical, biological, public health and forensic areas of study in anthropology. One of the best parts of the program, I feel, is the internship. With the internship, one can choose any area of interests and work for a semester or summer in that field. This allows for students to branch out of strictly academic work and learn what happens in the real world. The other amazing part of this program is the professors. They are all top in their fields and willing to work closely with students at all stages of academic advancement. Being a student in the MS program in biomedical anthropology allowed me to travel the world and gave me the opportunity to settle in a position that I love here in New York.
Elizabeth Stummer, MS '04
Prior education: BS in psychobiology from Binghamton University.
Internship: Bamburgh Research Project, England.
About: The MS program has allowed me to develop my role in the medical field while giving me an anthropological perspective to health-related problems. As I completed the MS degree, my interests in health and medicine shifted from forensics to environmental health. I currently see my role as a biomedical anthropologist in the environmental health and health education sector. After completing the MS program, I joined Teach For America where I committed two years to the fight for educational equity. I taught two years on the Navajo reservation, one teaching math and science at a small middle school in Tohatchi, N.M., and my second year at a large high school teaching AP Biology in Shiprock, N.M. The experience, although somewhat astray from my career goals in public health, allowed me to draw on my anthropological perspective to understand the factors contributing to social inequities many communities face. What remains after my two years in the classroom is a strong connection to the communities in which I taught and a motivation to work within for positive change. I currently work as a growth strategy associate for Teach For America – New Mexico. My role is to develop our program as well as work to expand our impact in New Mexico. I also serve as a board member for the New Mexico Child Abuse and Neglect Citizen Review Board, reviewing monthly cases and advocating for the welfare of children in my community. Lastly, I am an adjunct instructor at the University of New Mexico Gallup Campus, where I teach introductory biological anthropology courses.
Heather A. Junkins (Tulloch), MS ’04
Prior education: BS in biological science, SUNY-Oswego. AAS in Veterinary Science Technology, SUNY-Delhi. Licensed New York State Veterinary Technician.
Internship: Center City Coordination Project (C-3), Binghamton.
About: After graduating from Binghamton, I moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue a career in public health. I am a scientific program analyst in the Office of Population Genomics at the National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health. With my background rooted in biomedical anthropology and biology, I am able to work on a variety of interdisciplinary projects that facilitate the application of genomic research to public health. With an epidemiological focus, our office develops programs that provide research resources for the scientific community; the NHGRI Genome-Wide Association Study Catalog is an example. Other programs incorporate existing genomic technologies and apply these to large scale population-based studies with the goal of developing novel research approaches, harmonizing phenotypes, and examining the genetic and environmental effects on complex disease outcomes. My work at NHGRI is very rewarding as we are on the bleeding edge of research and making significant inroads in the field of public health genomics.
Rita Warner MS '04, MA '04, PhD Track
Prior education: BA in anthropology 1998, Bloomsburg University, Penn.
Internships: Assistant to pathologist, Lourdes Hospital Morgue, Binghamton, N.Y. 2002-2003; assistant to coroner at death scene investigation and ballistics training, Broome County Coroners Office, Binghamton, N.Y. 2004-2006.
About: At the start of my academic career, I was interested mainly in the sub-field of archaeology. As a new graduate student, Ralph Garruto's Methods in Biological Anthropology inspired me to study human biological variation and epidemiology. In keeping with the requirements of the MS program, I later enrolled in Forensic Anthropology with Dawnie Steadman, and subsequently became very involved with medico legal death investigation and forensic identification of human remains. In 2005, while teaching at Utica College I became interested in evolutionary psychology and medical anthropology. My current doctoral work deals with the biology of psychiatric disorders from an evolutionary perspective. The Binghamton University Anthropology Department effectively yields broadly competent anthropologists in the four traditional sub-fields. However, burgeoning scientists and academics of biomedicine, molecular genetics or any other cross-disciplinary anthropological interests are well served by this department's diverse faculty expertise and the hands-on experience gained in their laboratories.
Class of '03
Helene Van Berge-Landry, RN '88, MS '03, MA '03, PhD '07
Prior education: Registered Nurse. MS in biomedical anthropology, MA in anthropology, PhD in anthropology, Binghamton University.
Internship: Ruttenberg Breast Cancer Research Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NYC, N.Y. Migrant farm workers project. Bassett Healthcare, Cooperstown, N.Y.
About: My research interests include understanding the relationships between ecological factors, cultural determinates, immunity and chronic disease in human populations, particularly among different ethnic groups. My dissertation project, “Ethnic differences in diurnal blood pressure variation and regulation: The effects of catecholamines, cortisol, and IL-6 examined the differences in the dynamic relationships between neuroendocrine and inflammatory markers with cardiovascular response among African American and European American women living and working in the metropolitan area of New York City.”
I am interested in multidisciplinary approaches that integrate culture, ethnicity and epidemiological methods to further study risk factors for chronic disease conditions. The Biomedical Anthropology Program helped to prepare me for a research-oriented career by providing a broad-based foundation in the fundamentals of human population variability, culture and behavior, epidemiology and statistical methodology both qualitative and quantitative under the mentorship of Ralph Garruto and Gary James.