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Remembering Samya Rose Stumo '15

University of Massachusetts alum Samya Stumo

Samya Stumo ’15, died on March 10, 2019, one of 157 people lost in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Samya, a Sheffield, MA native, was enroute to Kenya for a work assignment with ThinkWell, a non-profit organization working to disrupt the status quo in global health development.

Thomas Leatherman, a professor of anthropology, who worked closely with Samya on her thesis and research at UMass Amherst, described her as being “infectiously vibrant.” “Her exuberance and enthusiasm were contagious and her spirit often buoyed those around her. She was joyful, kind, spirited, and fearless.  She was truly a ‘one of a kind’ individual whose life and career held such great promise,” he said.

Anthro Double-Major Marvens Pierre Earns National Honor as 2019 Newman Civic Fellow

University of Massachusetts Anthropology double major Marvens Pierre

Marvens Pierre, a third-year student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has earned national recognition by being named a 2019 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact.

Pierre, a double major in anthropology and social thought and political economy (STPEC), is one of 262 community-committed students chosen to represent Campus Compact member colleges and universities from 39 states, Washington, D.C., Mexico and Greece. He currently serves as undergraduate program coordinator for the university’s Student Bridges Agency.

“Until the Brains Ran Out”: White Privilege, Physical Anthropology, and Coopted Narratives

University of Massachusetts Anthropology faculty Ventura PérezMy work on violence is as much about correcting the positionality and white privilege of our sordid past as it is about understanding the poetics of violence of specific populations. Methodologically, I am a trained bioarchaeologist who specializes in trauma-pattern recognition, specifically sharp-force trauma (cutmarks and butchery marks). It transcends space and time to consider the unique cultural circumstances that create and maintain systemic and episodic violence while recognizing the ethical dilemmas bound to privileging particular narratives. The history of physical anthropology is replete with the exploitation of Indigenous and marginalized peoples by white men. Their collection practices and publications had performative powers to normalize the cultural and structural violence of governments (establishing laws and policy) all over the world, and is one reason minority scholars are needed.

Holt Receives $788,000 NSF Grant to Study the Impact of Physical Activity on Bone Strength and Age-Related Loss

University of Massachusetts Anthropology faculty Brigitte HoltBrigitte M. Holt, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was recently awarded a three-year, $788,810 National Science Foundation grant to examine whether greater physical activity levels lead to greater bone strength and protect against age-related bone loss. Holt will serve as co-principal investigator of the study along with Jonathan Stieglitz, assistant professor at Université Toulouse 1 Capitole and program director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, France.

UMass Amherst researchers Krause and Gubrium Promote Narrative Intervention as a Tool for Empowering Young Mothers

The dominant messaging in many teen pregnancy prevention campaigns is often framed in a stigmatized context of the negative consequences of young motherhood: a young woman’s promising life squandered by the responsibilities of motherhood; teenage girls acting irresponsibly or making “bad choices”; teen mothers and their children becoming societal burdens; and young mothers perpetuating the cycle of troubled family units. Aline Gubrium, Associate Professor of Health Promotion and Policy, and Betsy Krause, Professor of Anthropology, aim to work against these negative stereotypes through their “Hear Our Stories” project. 

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