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Anthropology Faculty and Students Active at American Anthropological Association Annual Conference

Posted on 12/2/2016 4:58:39 PM

Anthropology faculty and students traveled to Minneapolis for the American Anthropological Association's annual meeting. Victor Garcia, Lori Labotka, and Amanda Poole, as well as undergraduate students Regan Gearhart and Nancy Lopez Sosa, presented results of their ongoing research. 

Nancy Lopez Sosa and Regan Gearhart Nancy Lopez Sosa (left) and Regan Gearhart (right) at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association

Regan Gearhart, an undergraduate student in the Anthropology Honors Track, and Nancy Lopez Sosa, a Cook Honors College student in the applied track in Anthropology, presented their research proposals at the American Anthropological Association’s conference in Minneapolis, Minn. The two posters were among the 16 undergraduate posters selected nationally by the AAA to highlight ethnographic research of students in undergraduate programs.

Gearhart’s poster, “Perceptions of Autism and Vaccinations in Pennsylvania and the Social Factors which Influence Them,” highlighted preliminary findings from her ongoing ethnographic study on the antivaccination movement among some residents in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a movement associated with the fear of a connection between vaccinations and autism. Her research aims are to identify perceptions of vaccinations and to explore the social factors which influence these perceptions. Qualitative data is being gathered using in-depth, semi-structured interviews in both Indiana and Lancaster counties, Pennsylvania. Interviews are being conducted with a varied number of health care professionals, public health officials, and parents, including parents of autistic children.

Regan Gearhart with her posterRegan Gearhart with her poster

Lopez Sosa’s poster, “Alcohol Use and Cancer Knowledge among Young Mexican Immigrant and Mexican American Women,” introduced a qualitative study being completed under the auspices of the McNair Scholars Program. This study examines young Mexican-origin women’s knowledge of the relationship between alcohol abuse and breast and other cancers among young (30 years of age or younger) Mexican immigrant and Mexican American women. Data will be collected through one focus group recruited from three immigrant communities in southeastern Pennsylvania. Results from this project will also contribute to a larger public health intervention project on alcohol abuse and cancer knowledge of Mexican-origin women in southeastern Pennsylvania being designed by cancer and substance abuse researchers at IUP, Drexel University, the University of Delaware, and Thomas Jefferson University. Lopez Sosa was also a presenter in a workshop organized by IUP alumna Lisa McCann on "Promoting Diversity With a Campus-Wide Cultural Event."

Nancy Lopez Sosa presenting her researchNancy Lopez Sosa presenting her research

The two student projects are part of the department’s efforts to provide students with research opportunities in the areas of public and global health, a major initiative in the department with much promise. The students are being mentored by both Abigail Adams and Victor Garcia. Adams is a medical anthropologist and reproductive health researcher, and Garcia is an immigrant health researcher and director of the Mid-Atlantic Research and Training Institute for Community and Behavioral Health.

In addition to the student presentations, Garcia organized and chaired a symposium on "The Migration of Faith and the Faith of Migration" while presenting a paper in the session titled "Religion, Spirituality, and Sobriety Among Mexican Immigrants and Migrants."

Poole presented a paper focusing on her current research in Africa titled "The Political Life of Stateless People-Eritrean Refugees in Ethiopia."

Labotka presented a paper titled "The Less Eligible Eaters: Caloric Counts, No-Frills, and Vending Machines in Prison" stemming for her research in women's prisons.

Department of Anthropology