Alumni Advisory Board

Danielle Diamond (M.A., 2007)

Danielle finished law school and was working in private practice before coming to NIU to study applied environmental anthropology. After completing her M.A., she worked with Prof. Kendall Thu to evaluate how well the state of Illinois was implementing the federal Clean Water Act to regulate industrial livestock pollution. This experience completely changed the trajectory of her career, as she went on to become the Senior Director of Research and Resources for a national non-profit organization, the Socially Responsible Agriculture Project. Danielle reflecting on her experience at NIU writes, "I received an incredible education at NIU and I will be forever grateful."


JoAnn LoSavio (B.A., 2012 Anthropology, Ph.D., History 2020)

JoAnn LoSavio is an assistant professor of history and the coordinator of the Roots of Contemporary Issues Program at Washington State University, Vancouver. She is a scholar and teacher of historical processes of decolonization in the twentieth century; her research focuses on the transnational modes of those processes, particularly through sport, higher education, and forms of migration. Her geographic focus is on Burma/Myanmar, Thailand, Malaya/Malaysia and their transnational connections with the United Kingdom and the United States.


Martha Ann Terry (B.A., 1983, M.A., 1983)

Marth Ann Terry earned her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology in 1994 from the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include sociocultural aspects of human sexuality, reproductive decision-making, HIV/AIDS, women’s health, community-based participatory research, and implementation and evaluation of community-based interventions. She currently collaborates with colleagues in the School of Nursing at PITT and around the country to tailor materials for preventing gestational diabetes in native teen girls in Hawai’i and Alaska. In addition, she is working with School of Nursing colleagues to explore the acceptability of a graphic user interface in clinical settings.


Karly (Guldan) Tumminello (M.A., 2012)

Karly completed certificates in Applied Anthropology and Museum Studies and worked as graduate assistant with the NIU Anthropology Museum while at NIU. After graduating, she was hired as Director/Curator of the Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum (JSNM) housed at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL. Karly’s work focuses on community outreach in areas of environmental anthropology, natural sciences, and environmental literacy at the JSNM, and she manages the museum’s collections and curates new exhibits. She also teaches an Introduction to Natural History Museums course. Currently, she volunteers for the Advisory Council of the NIU Pick Museum of Anthropology and as a Certified Illinois Master Naturalist.


Sylvia M. Orellana (M.A., 2014)

Sylvia’s M.A. thesis explored the feeding and foraging behavior of the Bolivian saddleback tamarin. After graduation, she turned to scholarly publishing and worked at the American Academy for Orthopaedic Surgeons as an editorial coordinator. She currently works at the American Medical Association as an editorial assistant for the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and is responsible for quality control of research manuscripts. She is also a volunteer in the Mammals Collection at the Field Museum where she prepares skin and skeletal material for the museum’s permanent research collection.


Lisa Brown (M.A., 2011)

Lisa’s M.A. thesis was called "Fleeing for Their Lives: Archaeology of the Underground Railroad in St. Charles, Illinois." In 2013, Lisa and Dr. Mark Mehrer contributed some of their research to the Pick Museum of Anthropology’s exhibit "Trowels and Fair Trade: Revealing the Underground Railroad and Contemporary Slavery." After graduation, she has taught on-line cultural anthropology and archaeology classes as an adjunct instructor. Lisa embraces the training she received at NIU, noting, "Anthropology continues to be an important part of my life and I hope to encourage students of all ages to embrace an anthropological perspective throughout their own lives."


Kweku Williams (M.A., 2014)

Kweku is a tenure-track associate faculty with a specialty in burial archaeology at Riverside City College in the Department of Behavioral Sciences. He is also the principal bioarchaeologist at First Carbon Solutions, a company that provides environmental sustainability and compliance services. Reflecting on his experience at NIU Kweku writes, "The graduate program made me into a researcher and a better human being. Two of my professors gave me great advice, Dr. Mehrer told me when you're lost, make a map! And, Dr Kolb always reminded me to make sure my data supports my argument. In addition, Dr. Sagebiel made me fall in love with Mesoamerican archaeology and field methods."


Nicholas Zefran (B.A., 1978)

Nicholas worked from 1979 to 1994 at refugee camps in Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Upon his return to the United States, he worked for AmeriCorps and the federal government until his retirement in 2017. Nicholas received his M.A. in International Studies (Southeast Asia focus) from Ohio University and an M.S. degree in Human Resource Management from Chapman University. He currently teaches ESL at Northern Virginia Community College to newly arrived immigrants. Looking back at his training as an anthropologist Nicholas writes, "My studies in anthropology prepared me very well for my work in refugee relief and development."


Abby Ross (M.A. 2008)

Abby Ross completed her doctorate in Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Toronto in 2017. Her current research focuses on antimicrobial resistance and seasonal hormonal responses in lemurs. She is a collaborator on community-based conservation science projects with the University of Antananarivo, The Mad Dog Initiative, Planet Madagascar, and SADABE. She is an adjunct instructor in the Department of Anthropology at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois. Abby writes, "My experience learning from, and now working alongside, the world-class anthropology professors at NIU has been exceptional and led me to pursue a career in anthropology. Dr. Porter is an invaluable mentor to me."