Congratulations to our 2019-2020 Graduates and Awardees in Folk Studies and Anthropology!
- Tuesday, May 26th, 2020
On Saturday May 23rd, the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology held a virtual Graduation Reception, Awards, and Hooding Ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of our 2019-2020 graduates and award winners. We recognized graduates of the Folk Studies MA and Anthropology BA degrees, as well as award winners in both programs. The ceremony, held via Zoom, was attended by family members and other invited guests, and included remarks by Department Head Dr. Darlene Applegate and a video greeting from PCAL Dean Dr. Larry Snyder.
Students recognized at the ceremony are as follows:
Graduates of the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology
Ashton B. Adams; Hunter C. Austin; Hannah M. Banks; Sarah E. Everson; Jacob L. Highfil; McKenzie R. Johnson; Joshua C. Keown; M. Noelle LeGrand; Anthony L. Mason; John V. “Jack” Parvin; Ariana N. Pedigo; Jennifer J. Roberts; Naail A. Tariq; Ginny L. Willoughby
Graduates of the Master of Arts Degree in Folk Studies
Zahra Abedinezhadmehrabadi; Hunter J. Bowles; Samuel G. Kendrick; Aaron W. Kiser
Ariana N. Pedigo is the Outstanding Senior Anthropology Student. Ariana genuinely exhibited the values of academics, leadership, and service on a daily basis. A gifted scholar, she excelled in all areas of anthropology, completing three of the four concentrations in the major. Ariana honed her research skills on several projects, such as an ethnographic study of the WKU Dance Program that she presented at the annual anthropology student conference. Ariana actively engaged in extracurricular and service activities because of her sincere desire to improve herself and to improve the lives of others, serving as treasurer and co-president of the Anthropology Club, assisting at recruitment events, and representing the department on the Potter College Dean’s Council of Students. Among other activities, she volunteered at Living Archaeology Weekend and the WKU Manuscripts and Folklife Archives, worked as an archaeology field technician at Mammoth Cave National Park, and studied abroad in Mongolia. She also kept the department well supplied in amazing homemade baked goods! This fall, Ariana will begin the Master’s Program in Folk Studies at WKU.
Hannah M. Banks is the Outstanding Anthropology Graduate in the Biological Anthropology Concentration. A strategic, committed, and engaged student, Hannah distinguished herself as a serious scholar who seeks deep understanding, appreciates nuances in differing perspectives, and excels in synthesizing information. She was an active member of the Anthropology Club, volunteered at Living Archaeology Weekend and the Bowling Green International Festival, studied abroad in Mongolia, and worked as an archaeology field technician at Mammoth Cave National Park. Anthropology and folklore coursework related to health and medicine, as well as volunteering at the Warren County Community Health Services Fair, helped Hannah identify her academic passion. She applied that experience in an original ethnographic research project on the experiences of women with autoimmune diseases, presenting the results at the annual anthropology student conference and the departmental brown bag lecture series. Next month Hannah will begin a one-year AmeriCorps position working on the opioid epidemic with a public health institute in California, then she plans to apply to Master of Public Health graduate programs.
Ginny L. Willoughby is the Outstanding Anthropology Graduate in the Cultural Anthropology Concentration. A well-rounded and dedicated student, Ginny successfully strove to grow as a scholar, a professional, and a global citizen. She called her study abroad program in South Korea one of the most enriching experiences of her college career. In terms of research, Ginny completed traditional and visual ethnographies of online selling communities and university mascots. Ginny’s Honors thesis, An Ethnographic Study of Employment in Historic Preservation and Allied Trades, which she presented at the annual anthropology student conference, is based on research she completed as part of an internship with the Planning and Design Services Department of Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government. During her time at WKU, Ginny volunteered in the department’s visual production lab, on a community garden project, with a local soup kitchen, on a cemetery documentation project. In the future, Ginny seeks a career that will allow her to combine her training in anthropology and communication studies.
Zahra Abedinezhadmehrabadi is the Outstanding Graduate Student in Folk Studies. Zahra is graduating with an M.A. in Folk Studies. In addition to this Departmental award, she was the 2019-2020 Outstanding Graduate Student for Potter College of Arts and Letters. During her time at WKU, Zahra not only excelled in her courses but gained recognition in the field of Folklore when she was awarded the Elaine J. Lawless Prize by the Folk Belief and Religious Folklife Section of The American Folklore Society. Her thesis, drawing on her law background and grounded in ethnographic research in the US and Iran, is titled “‘I Choose the Styles Which Are Both Traditional and Artistic’: Iranian Women’s Ways of Dress.” This coming fall, Zahra will pursue her PhD in Comparative Studies and Folklore at The Ohio State University, where she has been awarded a Distinguished University Fellowship.
Alicyn K. Newman is a Cam Collins Outstanding Undergraduate Folklore Minor. Alicyn is graduating with a B.A. in Creative Writing and a Minor in Folklore. She is from Scottsville, KY, where she grew up in a restored log house. With a 4.0 GPA in her Minor, Alicyn’s work in Folklore classes has paralleled her excellence in English, where she won 1st place this year in the Mary Ellen and Jim Wayne Miller Celebration of Writing. She passed with honors in her defense of her thesis, “The Bird, the Oak, and the Stories that Build Us,” a creative recounting of her family’s oral traditions featuring the stories of her grandfather. Her future plans include a summer internship with a nonprofit organization in Louisville, KY; writing the first draft of her novel; and continuing to explore her family's storytelling traditions and Appalachian roots.
Hunter C. Ricketts is a Cam Collins Outstanding Undergraduate Folklore Minor. Hunter is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Folklore minor. He has worked as an EMT at the Medical Center EMS for two years and interned at the WeCare clinic for one year. He is attending the University of Pikeville’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in the fall, and is interested in providing medical care to underserved communities in Kentucky. With a perfect 4.0 GPA in his Folklore minor, Hunter’s work demonstrates the importance and urgency of interdisciplinary work between folklore and medicine: that is, understanding folk cultures helps make our medical systems more effective and more equitable. We wish Hunter well in his journey to his DO, and know he will carry his training of folklore forward to do great things in his career.