Fellowship Program and Student Research

Koobi Fora Field School Fellowships

The Koobi Fora Field School Fellowship Program

We have developed a curriculum focused on student training that provides an opportunity for students to learn about the process of research by being a part of active research in the Koobi Fora region. This means our students are actively engaged in primary data collection. All students must be a part of an active research project and make meaningful contributions to our understanding of the geology, human biology, ecology, anthropology, or archaeology of this region. 


National Science Foundation International Research Experience for Students: In 2015 the Koobi Fora Research and Training Program began running a fellowship program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The intention of this program was to provide training and support for students interested in developing skills that they will be able to use in a career in STEM sciences. The fellowship program is focused on supporting students with excellent academic backgrounds so that they can use their experience on the Koobi Fora Field School to further explore aspects of our lineage's past. This program ended in 2018 however we are still working with various agencies to provide support for high achieving students.


National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates: In 2019 the Koobi Fora Research and Training Program received support from the National Science Foundation to support undergraduate research with support from the Research Experience for Undergraduate Program. This award allows 8 students per year to attend our training program. We plan to include students from non-R1 institutions and a diversity of backgrounds. We look forward to training students in a wide array of fields including archaeology, geology, biological anthropology, human biology, ethnography and interdisciplinary approaches. The program will support students beginning in 2020. 




Support: The fellowship program supports students by paying for their expenses on the program as well as paying for their airfare to Kenya to support their experience during the field school. The fellowship program also supports a follow up program that allows students to interact with major researchers from around the U.S. to find out what it takes to turn their experience in Kenya into a successful graduate school experience.


Application: Students who want to be considered for the fellowship program must be U.S. citizens. Students must have all of their applications materials completed by the time of the selection dates (see home page for selection dates for each year).  In order for a student's application to be considered they must have all applications materials completed (letter of recommendation, statement, transcript, and application materials- as outlined in the Passport application system) completed by the time of the selection dates. 

Here we highlight some of the student research from our first year on the program.


Samantha Ascoli

Background

I am an undergraduate at the University of New Mexico, dual majoring in Anthropology with a focus in Archaeology, and Earth and Planetary Science with a focus in Geology, and a minor in Museum Studies.

My Koobi Fora Experience (2015)

The Koobi Fora Field School taught me vital archaeological, geological, ecological, and survival skills; it was hard, but some of the most fun I’ve ever had. Due to the individual project based curriculum of the field school, I was able to combine my interests of archaeology and geology to better understand hominin raw material selectivity at FwJj52. Samantha Ascoli was a two time recipient of the Cheryl L. Wase Memorial Fellowship awarded by the Society of American Archaeology!.

Project Title

An Analysis of Raw Material Selection in Stone Tool Technology within the Turkana Basin, Kenya


Ella Beaudoin

Background

I work for the Human Origins program at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, studying archaeology.

My Koobi Fora experience (2015)

The KFFS was the best thing I have ever done. It showed me that this is what I want to do in life. Ella was awarded an NSF-REU Fellowship in 2015 to conduct research in South Africa. Ella is now working for the Smithsonian Institution as part of their Human Origins program

Project Title

Evidence of early fire? Spatial patterning and stratigraphic anomalies at FxJj20Main-Extention-0


Maryse Biernat

Background

I'm an alumnus of Stockton University and have a bachelor's degree in Biology. I'm interested in paleontology and paleobiology, concentrating on mammals. 

Koobi Fora Experience (2015)

The Koobi Fora Field School was a life changing experience where I not only learned more than I imagined, but also made life-long friends and professional connections. Working on a specific research project gave me the opportunity to take a project from start to finish all while studying something I was interested in and gaining field experience. Maryse worked as an intern at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in their Human Origins Program. Maryse is now a graduate student at Arizona State University as part of the Institute of Human Origins.

Project Title

Understanding landscape variability from stable carbon isotope ratios of paleosols and enamel: a case study from East Turkana, northern Kenya.


Chloe Daniel

Background

I am a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in Anthropology and Psychological and Brain Sciences. 

My Koobi Fora Experience (2015)

My first time out in the field was with KFFS, and I really enjoyed the opportunities that came with it. Between the ecology portion being at Mpala Ranch and being able to work on projects outside your own interests made it a diverse, educational and fun experience. Chloe was awarded a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates Fellowship to conduct research in South Africa. Chloe is now a graduate student at the University of Indiana, Bloomington, Center for Research on First Technologies.

Project Title

Color Analysis of Fired and Unfired Basalt Artifacts


Kelly Fetchenhier

Background

I am currently a senior at Colorado State University. I am working towards a degree in zoology with a minor in biological anthropology.

My Koobi Fora Experience (2015)

At the Koobi Fora Field School, I was fortunate to work with Dr. Stephen Merritt analyzing zooarchaeological data gathered from a potential butchery site. I gained valuable hands-on field experience, learning how to excavate, identify fossil specimens, and communicate with fellow researchers. Kelly is now pursuing a degree in Biology.

Project Title

Preliminary zooarchaeological and taphonomic analysis of FwJj70, a butchered bone surface assemblage from the Okote Member of Koobi Fora, Kenya


Sarah Himes

Background

After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Texas State University in May of 2014, I have been actively seeking opportunities to expand my knowledge of paleoecological reconstruction, the effects of climate change on ancient landscapes, and those geological processes associated with characterizing Pleistocene-age sediments both spatially and temporally. I am now seeking admittance into a PhD program that will foster my evolving interests with utilizing paleoecological proxies such as ancient soil development, carbon isotope analysis, and nutrient cycling to better understand past landscape dynamics.

My Koobi Fora Experience (2015)

The Koobi Fora Field School supplied me with the opportunity to explore my otherwise broad interests in paleoecology, while challenging me to both learn and employ new concepts in the field by constructing and executing my own research design. Despite some of the challenges associated with living in the deserts of Kenya, the learning experience I received as the result of this undertaking was priceless, and will follow me throughout my undertakings as an aspiring PhD candidate and beyond. Sarah has been working as research assistant at Texas State for the past year and is pursuing a Masters degree in Geoarchaeology.

Project Title

Landscape Stability & Paleoecology at East Turkana, Northern Kenya: A spatial and temporal analysis of paleosol gross morphology during the Upper Burgi, KBS, and Okote Members (2-1.4 Ma.)


Katherine Martinez

Background

I currently study Archaeology, with a minor in Anthropology, at Boston University. My interests are in palaeodiet reconstruction and human evolution, and I have training in zooarchaeology.

My Koobi Fora Experience (2015)

The KFFS has been a wonderful experience for me; the mentors have provided invaluable advice and numerous opportunities that have been instrumental to help me decide where I want to work, and how I can continue my interests beyond my summer study abroad and onto graduate school. 

Project Title

Preliminary Study of Ichthyofauna Remains from an Early Holocene Site [FxJj 108] in Koobi Fora, Kenya. 


Mel Miller

Background

I have degrees in English and American Indian Studies from Northeastern State University (Tahlequah, Oklahoma), a Masters in Anthropology from the University of Tulsa, and am currently working on my doctorate at the University of Tulsa. My research focuses on lithic analysis and paleoanthropology.

Recently I have passed my comprehensive exams and successfully defended my prospectus. I am on schedule to graduate with my doctorate in May of 2020. I have also completed three seasons of field work in Northern Cape, South Africa since I attended the KFFS.

My Koobi Fora Experience (2015)

The field school curriculum allowed me to both tailor my experience towards the aspects of paleoanthropology in which I was already interested and to learn new skills and knowledge. It was a great opportunity to work on the ground in Africa at one of the most important locations in paleoanthropology. Melissa conducted research at the site of Wonderwerk for her dissertation research and the University of Tulsa. 

Project Title

The effects of water flow on surface deposits in the Okote of Koobi Fora


Jana Muschinski

Background

I studied Anthropology and Human Biology at Emory University as an undergraduate and am currently (2015-2016) completing an MPhil in Archaeological Science at the University of Cambridge. 

My Koobi Fora Experience (2015)

KFFS was my first time in the field and I am very thankful for the experience at large and especially for the great mentors I got to work with. It was a packed 6 weeks with many new experiences and lots of learning. Jana is graduating from Cambridge with a Master's in Archaeology in 2017. Jana is currently pursuing a degree in Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford University .

Project title

Assessing the fracture patterns of thermally altered stone: Experimental evidence for distinct fracture patterns


Joel Torgeson

Background

I study biological anthropology as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota with a focus on morphometrics. I do competitive ballroom dancing and enjoy rock climbing in my spare time. 

My Koobi Fora Experience (2015)

The Koobi Fora Field School and the IRES Fellowship have changed the way I see the world, modern and archaic. The fantastic instruction and research-oriented design have prepared me for work in a variety of contexts and projects. Joel conducted research at the site of Rusinga island in the summer after his KFFS IRES experience. 

Project Title

Chasing Phantom Hearths: Statistics, Lithics, and the Evidence for Fire at Koobi Fora.


Alex Velez

Background

I completed my undergraduate education at Lehman college, where I specialized in evolutionary pedal morphology and the evolution of bipedalism. I am currently pursuing my Master’s and PhD at Binghamton University, where I now specialize in hominin evolutionary cranial morphology, ecomorphology, virtual anthropology, and auditory reconstruction.

My Koobi Fora Experience (2015)

My time at Koobi Fora was invaluable, both for the experience in conducting scientific research and for all the amazing things I was able to see and learn. It wasn’t all easy, but it was really worth it and will definitely help in the future. Alex conducted research at the site of Atapuerca in the summer after his KFFS IRES experience. Alex is pursuing a Phd at the State University of New York at Binghamton.

Project Title

Down by the River: A Paleoecological Study of Water Dependence in Koobi Fora


Julia Arenson 



Background

I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon in 2015, and now I’m a graduate student in Biological Anthropology at CUNY/NYCEP.  I’m interested in patterns of speciation and geographic variation in primate craniofacial morphology.  

My Koobi Fora Experience (2016)

I had a great time meeting students and faculty from outside my program.  It was terrific to get first-hand experience working and living in the field, and especially in an area famous for its amazing fossil discoveries. Julia is pursuing a Phd at the New York Consirtium for Evolutionary Primatology. 

Project Title 

Primate abundance in the Koobi Fora Formation: A comparison of the Turkana Public Database and surface survey data




Lorena Benitez 



Background

I graduated from Harvard College in 2017 with a degree in organismic and evolutionary biology and a secondary in archaeology.   Generally, I am interested in mammalian evolution, ecology, and conservation.  

I am now a Master of Environmental Science Candidate at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.  My current research focuses on on how elephants acquire resources via the permanent trail networks they make through the forest of Kibale National Park, Uganda.

Koobi Fora Experience (2016)

This field school gave me valuable skills for conducting field work, scientific writing, presenting, and project design, but also amazing friends and mentors who will help me further my research career.  Lorena is spending the next year in Namibia and pursuing a degree at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Project Title

The Implications of Bovid Abundance for Pleistocene Paleoenvironments in the Turkana Basin, Kenya


Meredith Carlson  



Background

I am currently a senior at Bryn Mawr College. I am working toward a degree in anthropology, with a focus in biological anthropology and archaeology.

My Koobi Fora Experience (2016)

My time in the field with KFFS was just about the best thing I could have done to forward my studies in paleoanthropology. The research-based program challenged me, helped me to focus my interests, and allowed me the unique opportunity to take a project from start to finish for the first time. Meredith is pursuing a Phd at the UNiversity of California, Davis.

Project Title

An experimental and archaeological investigation of the role of edge angle in lithic artifact damage: Applications to the Koobi Fora Formation, Kenya


Elly Cordiner  



Background

I am currently a senior at Bryn Mawr College. I am working toward a degree in anthropology, with a focus in biological anthropology and archaeology.

My Koobi Fora Experience (2016)

My time in the field with KFFS was just about the best thing I could have done to forward my studies in paleoanthropology. The research-based program challenged me, helped me to focus my interests, and allowed me the unique opportunity to take a project from start to finish for the first time. Elly will be returning to Koobi Fora to pursue further research in the summer of 2018. Elly is now pursuing a degree in Archaeology at York University in England.

Project Title

An experimental and archaeological investigation of the role of edge angle in lithic artifact damage: Applications to the Koobi Fora Formation, Kenya


Alyssa Enny  



Background

I am an alumnus of Stockton University where I graduated with a BS in Biology. I am interested in studying vertebrate paleontology and paleoecology.

Koobi Fora Experience (2016)

Attending the Koobi Fora Field School was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had.  I learned invaluable skills used for conducting field work, began and completed a personal research project, and made some amazing friendships along the way. KFFS allowed me to grow as a researcher and push myself outside of my comfort zone. Alyssa will return to Koobi Fora in the summer of 2018 to pursue further research interests in paleoecology.

Project Title

Exploring the impact of collection strategies on interpretations of faunal abundance: a case study from the Koobi Fora Formation (Pleistocene, northern Kenya)


Courtney Jirsa  

Background

I am a current undergraduate at George Washington University, studying biological anthropology and biology with a minor in statistics.

My Koobi Fora Experience (2016)

The Koobi Fora Field School is the most challenging and most rewarding thing I have ever done. The ability to partake in individual & collaborative research truly illuminated for me the many facets of paleoanthropology as the field I hope to be a part of for the rest of my life. Courtney will be pursuing a Masters in Archaeology at Boston University.

Project Title

Assessing Edge Damage in MSA Lithic Assemblages: Experimental Proxies for the Analysis of Use and Post-Depositional Damage


Catherine Llera

  

Background

 I am currently a senior at the University of Florida, dual majoring in Biology and Anthropology.

My Koobi Fora Experience (2016)

KFFS was an amazing opportunity. I learned many essential skills for my future career as an anthropologist, I got to meet some really great people, and I was able to see and experience one of the most beautiful places in this world. Attending this field school was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Catherine is pursuing a Phd at the Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution, Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Project Title

Subregion-scale heterogeneity of bovid abundance in the Koobi Fora Formation


Caroline McKinney

  

Background

I have a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in anthropology.

Koobi Fora Experience (2016)

The Koobi Fora Field School helped me grow my interests and skills as a researcher. I was able to work and make connections with current and future members of the field. KFFS exposed me to a diverse set of skills and opportunities which will serve to make me a more comprehensive researcher. KFFS was one of the best and most enjoyable experiences of my life.

Project Title

Applications of Multispectral Imagery to the Archaeology of Human Origins 


Kara Peters

  

Background

I am currently (2016-2017) a junior at The College of William & Mary, and I'm majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Biology as well as Studio Art. I'm from Virginia just outside the D.C. area.

My Koobi Fora Experience (2016)

I would go back to Kenya in a heartbeat! I had an amazing time on the field school learning new things about myself and the world around me. Not only did I gain a lot of valuable academic knowledge, but I also gained life experiences that I'll never forget- ranging from swimming in Lake Turkana, to having a monkey climb on my shoulders, to witnessing the breath-taking equatorial night sky, to learning a new language from the local Dassanach children, and of course to making new friends. I even got to butcher an animal with stone tools the way our ancestors might have. Never before have I felt more connected to the natural world and our evolutionary history. Kara is currently an intern at the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History.

Project Title

Experimental butchery: Behavioral and specimen fragmentary analysis


Kristen Tuosto

  

Background

I am an alumna of the University of California-Berkeley, with a bachelor's degree in Anthropology with a focus on skeletal biology. 

Since my time as a field student, I have become a PhD student at The George Washington University in the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology where I study the impact of early life adversity on bone health and strength in a skeletal population of wild baboons from southern Kenya. I also work with multiple skeletal population of wild mountain gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda studying how different environments impact the rate of bone growth. 

My Koobi Fora Experience (2016)

The Koobi Fora Field School was not like anything I was expecting, however, it was everything I wanted. The field school challenged me to learn and conduct research in areas I was unfamiliar with, such as stone tools, site formation, and ArcGIS. While the field school did not change my true passion for skeletal biology, it did make me a more well-rounded human paleobiologist who is now confident in discussing and contributing to the subject areas mentioned above. This experience has also provided me with new perspectives and analytical methods that I can apply to my own research in skeletal biology. 

Project Title

On the Other Side of the Gauss-Matuyama: Site Formation and Evidence of Stone Tools Older than 2.58 Ma




Michael Ziegler

  

Background

I'm an alumni of Georgia College and earned a B.S. degree in Environmental Science with a minor in Geology. Moreover, I enjoy harsh weather camping and scuba diving. With an overarching interest in Paleontology/Geology and the various proxies utilized within these multi-disciplinary fields, I found the Koobi Fora Field School to be an ideal program to culture and further refine my academic interest in my pursuit of graduate school. 

My Koobi Fora Experience (2016)

Conducting research in Kenya allowed hands-on experience working in the famed localities that have been instrumental in the Paleoanthropological field. For me, The Koobi Fora Field School was a prestigious academic experience that enabled me to gain field experience excavating archeological pits for fossils and lithic artifacts, digging geologic trenches to record stratigraphic sections, identifying faunal remains in the field, and carrying out a research project from initial inquiry to scientific report. During the field school, enduring personal and academic relationships were forged between the students, field school staff, and local people. Michael is pursuing a Masters degree in Geology at the University of Florida

Project Title

Site Formation Analysis of Locality GaJj17 in the Koobi Fora Formation, Northern Kenya   


Amanda (Billie) Guerrero

Background

I have a bachelor's degree in Anthropology from the University of La Verne. I am interested in paleontology, concentrating on hadrosaur (duck-billed dinosaurs) endocasts. 

Since my time with the Koobi Fora Field School, I have been accepted to the master’s program at the California State University San Bernardino in Department of Geological Sciences. 

My Koobi Fora Experience (2017)

Koobi Fora Field School changed my life in unbelievable ways. Before attending KFFS, I had zero traveling experience, and very limited field experience. By conducting research in one of the Geological Wonders of the World (The Great Rift Valley), I was able to establish myself as a Hispanic woman of science. Moreover, as a former foster youth, I am able to inspire those with similar backgrounds and encourage them to pursue their dreams like I have. Billie is currently completing a Masters in Geology at Cal State San Bernardino and is employed at the Raymond Alf Museum of Paleontology. 

Project Title

Pleistocene differences in bovidae faunal abundance in the Omo Group of East Africa


Bridget Murray

Background

I graduated last spring ('17) from Bryn Mawr College with a degree in Anthropology and Linguistics and am currently doing conservation work in the geologically marvelous state of Utah. I'll be starting my MSc next fall in Geological Sciences at the University of Alabama, focusing on structural geology (which is what I did at KFFS) and geochemistry.

My Koobi Fora Experience (2017)

The Koobi Fora Field School was an unforgettable program that gave me my first real experience of doing geology-oriented field research. Having Lake Turkana as a classroom and working alongside equally motivated students and brilliant faculty who really took the time to work one-on-one with me taught me more than I could imagine and gave me skills that will continue to benefit me in grad school and beyond.

Project Title

A Multiscalar Approach to Site Formation at Archaeological Site GaJj17, East Turkana, Kenya


Emily Philips

Background

In 2015, I completed a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a focus in Archaeology at the University of Kentucky. I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati studying lithic assemblages in the Grand Canyon National Park.

My Koobi Fora Experience (2017)

During my time in Kenya, I utilized new technologies and methods to assess various taphonomic processes that affect stone tool assemblages from 1.4-1.6mya, and how these methods can reveal underlying hominin behavioral transport patterns.

Project Title

Taphonomic Patterns of Stone Tool Transport: Surface vs. Excavated Assemblages


Kaedan O'Brien

Background

 

I am an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Anthropology and Zoology. I primarily interested in Cenozoic mammal diversity, and am continuing my education at a graduate level in biological anthropology.

 

My Koobi Fora Experience (2017)

 

At East Turkana, I gained experience in human evolution, archaeology, osteology, and paleoecology. My project specifically focused on analyzing the relative abundance of large grazing mammals living in the region in the early Pleistocene to make inferences about temporal and spatial landscape variation.

 

Project Title

 

Changes in Proportion of Mesic to Xeric Grassland-Adapted Taxa in the Early Pleistocene of East Turkana


Kayla Allen

Background

I am currently finishing up my Bachelors of Biology at the University of North Georgia. I am planning to continue my education into graduate school with the focus of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation.

My Koobi Fora Experience (2017)

My project focused on diet shifts in mammalian communities during the Early Pleistocene using stable Carbon isotopes. We used this data along with other projects, like faunal abundance and soil carbonate isotopes, to get a better understanding of what the ecosystem looked like at this time and how/if it changed during this time period. This work was recently published in Nature Ecology and Evolution!! (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-019-0916-0)

Project Title

Early Pleistocene ecosystem evolution and heterogeneity at East Turkana, northern Kenya as indicated by stable carbon isotope data from mammalian ename 


Laura Hunter

Background

I recently earned my bachelor’s degree in Evolutionary Biology of the Human Species from Columbia University. I currently work as a research technician at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, studying motivation and learning in rhesus macaques.

My Koobi Fora Experience (2017)

I researched the paleoenvironmental context, geological context, and taxonomic designation of a partial hominid mandible discovered in Area 123 of the Koobi Fora region. This involved classifying faunal skeletal fragments, analyzing sediments, and comparing mandibular morphometrics across hominin species.

Project Title

Context of a New Partial Hominin Mandible from Area 123


Lauren Anderson

Background

I graduated George Washington University last spring (2019) and I am working at a genetics lab in the Boston area. I conducted research in several of the labs in the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology during my last year at GWU. 

My Koobi Fora Experience (2017)

My research project compared the life history strategies of mammalian taxa found in East Turkana to shifts in their abundances over time in the region. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Koobi Fora and learned practical skills and a great deal about paleoanthropology in a short time that will be assets in future research.

Project Title

Life History Variation within the Ecological Context of East Turkana in the Early Pleistocene 


Monica Avilez



Background

I earned a second Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from CUNY Lehman College in early 2017.  Following the KFFS I started volunteering at the American Museum of Natural History in the vertebrate paleontology division doing geometric morphometric analysis on primate pedal bones and am currently applying to graduate programs.

Since attending the KFFS in 2017, I was accepted into the Biological Anthropology Ph.D. Program at NYU which is part of NYCEP and am now in my 2nd year working with Dr. Scott Williams.  In 2018 I was also awarded an NSF GRFP and a MacCracken Fellowship from NYU. 

My Koobi Fora Experience (2017)

The project at the KFFS investigated whether outcrop slope or stream power had an impact on assemblage identifiability and bone preservation by comparing taphonomic and taxonomic variables.  I learned how to distinguish between mammal, reptile, and fish specimens, as well as assess weathering and fracture patterns on the bones — later running these variables through statistical analysis.

Project Title

Bone preservation, specimen identifiability, and outcrop shape – a preliminary investigation of Early Pleistocene taphonomy at Koobi Fora, Kenya 


Stephanie Hill



Background

I am an undergraduate at the University of Washington, and will be finished in December 2017. I am majoring in Anthropology, with a focus on Human Evolutionary Biology, Archaeological Sciences, and Medical Anthropology & Global Health.

My Koobi Fora Experience (2017)

Attending the Koobi Fora Field School was one of the best experiences I have had. It was the first time I attended a field school, and I had the pleasure of working with a diverse group of students. I am very grateful for this opportunity, and plan to pursue graduate school after taking a year off school. I will be volunteering at the Burke Museum as a curatorial assistant beginning January 2018.

Project Title

Area 1 Zoo-archaeological Survey

 


Kaita Gurian

Background

I have a bachelor's degree in biological anthropology from James Madison University and I am currently a masters student at The Ohio State University where I am researching dental microstructures and acute stress in modern and archaeological populations. 

Koobi Fora Experience (2018)

KFFS was the most fulfilling experience I had as an undergrad and really broadened my understanding of academia and anthropology as a whole. The field school also gave me friendships and professional relationships that will last a lifetime. I presented the research I did in Koobi Fora at the AAPA's which wouldn't have been possible without my amazing mentors. This experience also helped me get accepted into graduate school where I am studying dental anthropology. 

Project Title

A Preliminary Study of Pleistocene Bovid Mortality Profiles in East Turkana, Kenya

 


Sophia Morong

Background

I am a recent graduate of The George Washington University where I worked toward a degree in anthropology, with a focus in biological anthropology and skeletal biology. 

My Koobi Fora Experience (2018)

KFFS was the best academic decision I’ve made in college. KFFS introduced me to many different fields within paleoanthropology, allowing me to figure out exactly what I’m interested in and what I would like to study moving forward. It also gave me a community of mentors and peers that I can network with and always count on for help in future research. 

Project Title

A preliminary analysis of Holocene burials in the Turkana Basin


Annalys Hanson





Background



I am a senior at Emory University majoring in Anthropology and Human Biology with a plan to

pursue zooarchaeology in graduate school.



My Koobi Fora Experience (2018)



The Koobi Fora Field School was my first field experience and allowed me to learn many

aspects of archaeology and paleoanthropology, ultimately inspiring me to pursue this as a

profession. The knowledge and experience I gained from KFFS has been invaluable and I’ve

taken that with me to other archaeological sites in South Africa and Malawi.



Project Title



Bovid Tribe Abundance as an Indicator of Spatial and Temporal Heterogeneity in the Omo-

Turkana Basin from 2.0-1.38 Ma





Sydney James





Background



I’m an alumnus of Coastal Carolina University (2019) and have a bachelor’s degree in

Anthropology and Geography, concentrating on archaeology, with a minor in History.



Koobi Fora Experience (2018)



The Koobi Fora Field School was invaluable to me in terms of helping me find a focus for my

future research and academic career. My time as a student provided me with lifelong friends

and professional connections that have continued to help me move forward with my goals, and

having the staff of the field school as a support system even after my student year is something

that I’ll always be grateful for. Sydney received an NSF-REU grant to return to KFFS as an intern in 2019 and is currently applying to graduate programs to continue with Pleistocene

Archaeology.



Project Title



The Influence of Raw Material Availability on Lithic Assemblage Variability in the Koobi Fora

Formation





Georgia Oppenheim



Background 

I am an undergraduate at Wellesley College studying Anthropology and Chemistry.



My Koobi Fora Experience (2018)

The KFFS was a life-changing experience. It showed me how I could combine my two academic passions (anthropology and chemistry) and made me realize how much I love conducting fieldwork and research. It was a wonderful 6 weeks filled with lots of learning and friends that will last a lifetime. 



Project Title

Phytolith analysis of experimental fires: Insights into the prehistory of fire

 


Christopher M. Smith

 

 

Background

 

I am a Ph.D. student at the Graduate Center, City University of New York and the New York

Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology. My research interests lie in paleoanthropology, primate

craniofacial morphology, scientific visualization, and the evolution of the hominin inner ear and

Basicranium.

 

My Koobi Fora Experience (2018)

 

My experience at the Koobi Fora Field School marked a pivotal moment in the development of

my professional career. In addition to learning aspects of archaeology, geology and

paleoecology, I learned essential skills for living in the field and the logistics of working as a part

of a large research team. This incredible opportunity is one I will never forget and I have

developed many lifelong friendships along the way.

 

Project Title

 

The localized environment of early Homo erectus at East Turkana, northern Kenya