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Newsletter Spring 2019

Spring 2019

In this issue:
Faculty News
Highlighted Programs


John Ziker was a co-author of a study, titled “Greater wealth inequality, less polygyny: rethinking the polygyny threshold model” which revises the standard polygyny threshold model that only allows for female choice, to a mutual mate choice model in which both women and men make marital choices to maximize the number of surviving children they raise.  Click to read the full article.

Fun Fact:  John Ziker has been bike commuting to campus for close to 15 years. As a committed cyclist he recently reached the 10k mile mark.  John finds riding his bike to work offers time for creative thinking and problem solving.

Mark Plew was co-author of a study titled “Assessing the early Holocene environment of Northwestern Guyana:  An isotopic analysis of human and faunal remains”  published in Latin American Antiquity. His book The Holocene Prehistory of Guyana is in final stages of revision.

After being at Boise State for 35 years, Mark will be retiring August 1st, 2019. Although he is retiring from a regular teaching/meeting schedule he has no plans of slowing down with plenty of research projects to keep him busy—he will still be roaming campus!

Fun Fact:  Mark Plew is an avid horseman and fly fisherman and will have additional time for those interests in retirement—not to mention additional quality time with his pet chicken Orpie.

Pei-Lin Yu continues her research focus on evolutionary transitions including vulnerability, resiliency, and transitions. Her work on Asian Neolithicization includes recent presentations in Japan and Taiwan.

Dr. Yu is currently guest editing a special issue of the journal Quaternary on the foraging to food production transition across the northern arc of East Asia, and in December completed a nationwide report to analyze vulnerability for cultural heritage resources in US National Parks.

Fun Fact:  Pei-Lin has been a certified kickboxing instructor for 17 years and teaches a “Lunchbox Kickbox” class for Boise State faculty and staff.  She believes it’s a chance for them to punch and kick their way to better cardiovascular fitness, burn off a little steam, and most importantly, have fun and make friends.

Kristin Snopkowski traveled to Calgary, Canada over winter break to analyze data from the National Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth, as part of an ongoing project with John Ziker.  This project examines how early life factors influence adolescent behaviors.

Dr. Snopkowski, along with Max Planck researcher Dr. Heidi Colleran, published an article in Population Ecology titled, “Variation in wealth and educational drivers of fertility decline across 45 countries” in 2018.  This research found that while women’s education is consistently associated with reduced fertility for women around the world, the effect of wealth is more variable – in some countries greater wealth is associated with having more offspring, while in others it is associated with having fewer offspring.

In the lab: The PRAMS (Evolutionary Perspectives on Parenting, Reproduction, and Mating Strategies) Lab Group is engaging in a variety of research projects to examine how sex ratios (the number of men to the number of women in a population) influences different behaviors. Undergraduate student Hallie Turner plans to present her research on the association between sex ratio and suicide rates across United States counties at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society conference this year.

Fun Fact:  Fun fact: Kristin loves downhill skiing and has recently introduced her son, Bryce, to the sport.

Kathryn Demps is the co-author on a series of papers investigating the relationship between outdoor recreation and ecosystems on Idaho public lands.  You can listen to a brief discussion of the relationship between stress and hiking in the Ridge to Rivers system on Boise State Public Radio by clicking here.

She has also recently published a paper on the origins of markets through the Journal of Archaeological Research:Every tradesman must also be a merchant”: Behavioral ecology and household-level production for barter and trade in pre-modern economies. She is currently writing a book on why we can have markets when no other species does.

Fun Fact:  Kathryn Demps is expecting her second child on April 3rd.  She is looking forward to more offspring photos to be added to her Evolution of the Human Lifecycle class.

Cheryl Anderson returned to the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology in Kaman, Turkey this summer to start a new project on pit burials from the Hellenistic period (ca. 300-200 BCE). The individuals buried in these pits are thought to be Celtic Galatians and may be the victims of violence. Dr. Anderson is recording health and trauma data for these individuals in order to examine what their lives were like over 2,000 years ago.

She has also recently published a co-edited volume titled Massacres: Bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology approaches with the University Press of Florida, which came out in December.

Fun fact: Cheryl Anderson has a cat named Alexander the Great and he will be 16 years old in April.

Dr. Herzog spent the fall semester busy at work in the Paleodiet Lab. Dr. Herzog, with the aid of undergraduates Ollie Shannon, Julie Julison, and Jennifer Cuthbertson analyzed archaeological materials from a 4,000 year old pithouse site in northeast Wyoming in search of dietary remains. Results will be presented at the Society for American Archaeology meetings this April in Albuquerque.

In other archeologically related news, check out Dr. Herzog’s new paper on indigenous cultivation of tiny native potatoes in southern Utah published in the Journal of Archaeological Science in October.

Outside of conducting research in the lab, Dr. Herzog gave several presentations in the fall including a plenary talk at the Great Basin Archaeological Conference.  She was also very proud to attend the annual board meeting of the Leakey Foundation in San Francisco where she was asked to present on her primatological research detailing chimpanzee responses to fire.

Fun Fact:  Dr. Herzog is excited for spring; she looks forward to hitting the green belt on her bike and checking out some local climbing areas.

Kendall House is starting on a new project for Southwest District Health doing fieldwork on behavioral health.

He will attend the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) conference in Portland in March to participate on a panel on anthropological entrepreneurs.

Kendall is collaborating with the US Census Bureau to create a student based 2020 Complete Count Committee at Boise State, with training beginning in summer 2019.

Kendall is the host of the User Research / Design Thinking MeetUp, held 12-1 pm the first Wednesday of each month in the Bingham Room of the Boise Public Library.  He strongly encourages students to participate – 80% of jobs are products of networking.
Contact Kendall if you have an interest in any of the above.


Data Science (minor or certificate)
Data science is a transdisciplinary program combining statistical analyses, computer programming, and research methods to extract knowledge and draw conclusions from data. Data Science for the Liberal Arts at Boise State trains students to use existing data to address real-world problems.

The Data Science for Liberal Arts program extends and enhances the research skills already developed by students within their discipline. As the world becomes more data-driven, Data Science is one of the fastest growing skill sets sought out by employers. In addition, data science skills are extremely useful in preparation for graduate school.

The goal is to provide students with skills in statistical analyses, machine learning, data mining, data management, and basic programming. Additionally, students will gain familiarity with both Python and R programming languages. In the final capstone course, DATA-LA 485, students will conduct a research project designed in partnership with a community organization to provide hands-on experience.

For more information go to our website or contact: or (208) 426-3055.

Design Ethnography is being renamed to User Experience Research this Fall
Ethnography users gain insights into the culture and behavior of their customers and create new solutions.  It is an essential component of UX Design (User eXperience), and one of the highest paid and most attractive job markets.

Boise State’s User Experience Research program offers individual courses of 1 credit, or you can take all 9 classes culminating in a certificate.  All courses are fully online, and offered every seven weeks.  New 7 week courses start March 11st so register now.

For more information go to our website or contact: or   (208) 426-3896

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