Anthropology Alumni Advisory Board

Alumni Advisory Board

Lisa Brown

I graduated from NIU in 2011 with a M.A. in Anthropology.  For the past four years, I was an adjunct at Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana.  I taught Cultural Anthropology and Introduction to Archaeology both as online courses.  I greatly enjoyed designing and developing each course from scratch.  

Danielle Diamond

I've been working with Dr. Thu on environmental/agricultural issues in Illinois since I graduated with my M.A. from NIU in cultural anthropology (with an emphasis in environmental anthropology) back in 2007.  That work has lead to environmental community advocacy work across the U.S. with a non-profit called the Socially Responsible
Agriculture Project.  My graduate work with Dr. Thu changed the trajectory of my professional career and I am forever indebted to him for it! 

Colleen Gray

I graduated from NIU with B.A. in Women's Studies and a minor in Southeast Asian studies in 2011. I started my master's degree that year and graduated from NIU with a M.A. in Anthropology with a concentration in Southeast Asian studies in 2014. After I graduated I hopped on a plane and moved to Cambodia for six months. I was
teaching English to adorable 3 year olds and helping a fellow NIU M.A. graduate with his grassroots organization in Phnom Penh. I am now back at NIU as the administrative director of a State Department funded program called the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative

Poonnatree (Golf) Jiaviriyaboonya

I graduated from NIU since 2012 in Cultural Anthropology. My M.A. thesis topic is focusing on the Thai-Khmer/Khmer-Thai Healing Ritual in the Thai-Cambodian bordered provinces. After leaving US in 2012, I got a teaching job at Nakhon Phanom University, in the Northeast of Thailand. Currently, I am doing PhD in Anthropology, The Australian National University, with a supported from the Royal Thai Government. My PhD thesis topic is focusing on life and experiences of the fortune-tellers/diviners in Phnom Penh. My fieldwork is sponsored by the School of Culture, History, and Language (ANU), the  Marie Reay Prize in Anthropology (Australia), and the ENITAS Scholarship from Chulalongkorn University (Thailand).  Besides doing my PhD fieldwork, I also part of the young scholars who try to establish Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Nakhon Phanom University. We just started to develop the curriculum and recruit more fresh scholars to be part of our team.  

Andrew Karolus

I graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology from NIU in 2008, focusing mainly on cultural/applied/business anthro, and my secondary education background is in social and I/O psychology. For a few years I worked at the Center for the Study of Family Violence and Sexual Assault here at NIU, and I certainly met some interesting people there.

JoAnn LoSavio

I graduated recently from NIU in 2012, with a double degree in History and Anthropology, and a minor in Southeast Asian studies. My focus was cultural anthropology, with particular regard to Malaysia and ethnic relations. After graduating I went onto a graduate program at Emory University, and received a MA in Anthropology in 2014. I am now a working on a PhD in the history department at NIU. In between these academic stints I have worked in commercial archaeology, in cultural resource management as a field technician; written and published poetry; waited tables; made an ethnographic film in Malaysia; and started writing a high fantasy novel.

Sylvia Orellana

I graduated from NIU with an MA in Anthropology in 2014. My thesis research explored the feeding and foraging behavior of the
Bolivian saddleback tamarin. I was particularly interested in the relationship between primate digestive anatomy and food choice that occurred at particular times of day. After graduating from NIU, much of my time was spent at the Field Museum in Chicago, where I assisted in the data collection phase of an ongoing audience research study. For the last 4.5 years, I have worked as a volunteer in the mammals collection, where I prepare skin and skeletal material to be
housed in the permanent collection. I am currently working as a publications assistant at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in Rosemont, IL. My primary responsibilities are related to the development and production of the book projects and the AAOS' medical review journal.

Hao Phan

I received my MA in Anthropology, Southeast Asian Studies Concentration, from NIU in 2010.  I completed the graduate program while working full time in the library.  Prior to the job at NIU, I was the librarian for Southeast Asian Studies at UCLA, where I also received my BA in American literature and culture, and an MLIS in library and information science.  I came to NIU because of the excellent Southeast Asia collection and the strong program for Southeast Asian Studies that this university offers.   I am originally from Vietnam and still travel to Southeast Asia regularly for my job, which I enjoy very much.     

Pisith Phlong

I got my MA in Anthropology in 2009, with a Certificate of Applied Anthropology. I am currently working as policy researcher for Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI) in Phnom Penh (There are a number of publications and policy research papers over the past 25 years by CDRI about development in Cambodia and you find them here for free:

I assisted Dr Judy Ledgerwood to organize NIU Summer field school in Cambodia in 2007 and 2010 where I met a few undergraduate and graduate students. In 2013-2014, I move to Vienna, Austria where I worked for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as consultant in STS field to support the recovery of the Post-Fukushima Nuclear Accident in Japan. Besides working with CDRI, I am also doing online Doctor of Education (EdD) in Education Leadership with the University of Western Ontario, Canada. 

Rebecca (Winker) Spring

I graduated from NIU with a MA in Anthropology in 2011.  The focus of my master's was pre-Ceramic archaeology in Peru with Dr. Creamer and Dr. Haas. Since graduate school, I have earned and maintained
my certifications with the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA) and GIS Professional (GISP).  After I left NIU, I worked for a cultural
resource management (CRM) firm in Montana as a GIS technician and staff archaeologist.  After 4 years in Montana (and those 2 years at NIU), I have finally moved away from Winter and currently work for TRC Solutions, Norcross, Georgia, near Atlanta.  TRC is a large Environmental and Engineering firm with office locations throughout the US.  I am a GIS Analyst and staff archaeologist who works on environmental permitting, compliance and licensing for projects affected by FERC and NEPA processes. 

Karly Tumminello                            

I graduated from NIU in 2012 with my M.A. in Anthropology. I also received the Applied Anthropology certificate as well as the Museum Studies certificate. In July 2012, I was hired as Director/Curator of the Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum. This small museum is focused on natural history and anthropology and is housed at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL. If anyone is in the area and would like to come see the museum, I extend an open invitation. I'd love to show you around! Feel free to contact me.

Jenn Weidman

I graduated from NIU with a BA in Southeast Asian Studies in 1999, left for a while, then came back and graduated with an MA in Cultural Anthropology, the Applied Anthropology Certificate, and a Concentration in Southeast Asian Studies in 2005.  I'm currently based in Bangkok and am in the midst of transitioning out of my job as the Deputy Director of the Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University.  The Center provides professional development training in peace and conflict resolution.  Going forward, I'll stay in Bangkok and have several different opportunities lining up that should keep be quite busy.

Scott Williams

Thanks again for asking me to participate in this-- it's truly an honor. I finished my MA in anthropology in 2006, then my PhD from the University of Illinois in 2011. I was lucky to have been hired straight away and am now an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at New York University.

Nicholas Zefran

I graduated from NIU's Anthropology Department in 1978 with a focus on Linguistics and Southeast Asian Studies. The professors I remember the most were Ron Provencher, Stanley Witkowski, Cecil Brown, Don Hart, and Pierre Gravel. I started my MA program in Anthropology in 1978 but left graduate school in 1979 to work in the refugee camps is Southeast Asia. I ended up working in the refugee camps for 14 years in HongKong, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. I came back to the US in 1994 and immediately began working with AmeriCorps and National Service at Ohio University and then on to DC in 1997. I currently serve as the Director for Training for our 18-24 volunteers who sign up with AmeriCorps to do a year of National Service. I hold MA degrees in International Studies-Southeast Asia and Human Resource Management. I also teach part time at Northern Virginia Community College.