Introducing New Faculty

Mackenzie J. Cory

Mackenzie Cory.

Mackenzie Cory is a newly arrived archaeologist in the department specializing in the Northwest Plains of Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota.

He spent the last few years completing his PhD at Indiana University studying how Indigenous children incarcerated in early twentieth century boarding schools used their play areas to create resistive paracosms.

He has previously worked on archaeological projects across Wyoming, Montana, and Indiana, including Hell Gap and Angel Mounds. In addition, he filled several roles in the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology community, including collections analysis and rehousing, registrar’s assistant, and graduate fellow.

In the near future, Mackenzie hopes to continue his existing research projects on boarding school play and the late Pleistocene movement while also developing a field teaching program focused on integrating holistic landscape-based approaches to stone circle sites in the Northwest Plains while training both undergraduate and graduate students in field techniques and responsibilities. When not working, Mackenzie enjoys cooking new recipes, writing Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, spending time with his two cats: Link and Zelda, and camping (while trying very hard not to survey the surrounding area).

Emily C. Van Alst

Emily Van Alst.

I am an Indigenous archaeologist (enrolled member, Mackinac Bands of Chippewa and Ottawa Indians) focused on Indigenous women’s relationships to rock art in the Northwest Plains. I am broadly interested in reclaiming cultural heritage with, by, and for Indigenous and descendant communities.

During my undergraduate days at Yale University, I had the opportunity to work on community-based field projects in Menorca, Spain; Rebun Island, Japan; Yauli, Peru; and Utqiagvik, Alaska. During my graduate studies, I worked on archaeological projects in Wyoming and Indiana, and on my dissertation in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.

My dissertation research was focused on understanding how Lakota women created, maintained, and cultivated ecological and cultural knowledge related to rock art images of elk (Cervus canadensis) in the Northwest Plains. I conducted my work through Indigenous archaeology and community-based research frameworks wherein I connected the ceremonies my community does today with rock art images made in the past. I utilized ethnographic interviews, ethnobotanical and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) methods, and photography. I plan to continue this work as I begin my position this fall.

Additionally, I am passionate about contemporary Native American art (beadwork), activism, and decolonization efforts within anthropology. I am researching the intersections of Indigenous futurisms and beadwork as a form of resiliency and cultural expression among Indigenous women.

I am also excited to share that I have a co-edited volume that recently released entitled Indigenizing Archaeology: Applying Theory into Practice, which highlights early career Indigenous archaeologists and the next steps for better incorporating Indigenous thought and method within the discipline of archaeology.

Caroline Owens

Caroline Owens.

Trained as a biocultural anthropologist, I study inequality and human well-being using access to basic resources and healthcare as avenues of inquiry. I have conducted mixed-methods research on these themes internationally in Ethiopia and domestically in the United States. I draw insights from cultural and evolutionary streams within anthropology by drawing on an integrative, biocultural framework of human health and healing. One area of my research examines the relationship between wealth and health outcomes by problematizing conventional measures of wealth and leveraging multidimensional measures that may be more sensitive to local livelihoods.

More recently, I have worked directly with healthcare and nonprofit organizations as an applied anthropologist. Much of this research centers on the promise and potential perils of food as medicine intervention programs seeking to simultaneously alleviate food insecurity and adverse cardiometabolic health outcomes.

I first became interested in anthropology while taking a first-year seminar on disease ecology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I received my PhD from Emory University, where my dissertation focused on the often-cyclical dynamics of food insecurity and adverse cardiometabolic health in rural and underserved communities in the American South.

Through this work, I sought to contribute to an anthropology of and in the clinic space, and work toward a more applied research program to tackle prominent socioeconomic and health inequalities. At WSU, I plan to continue this research while working with and for local communities in the Palouse. I am particularly excited about the opportunity to build new collaborations with faculty and students!