Anthropology and Geography Students Show Off at Undergraduate Research Showcase

Joshua Zaffos

Jared Grove won the College of Liberal Arts Honors for his CURC poster examining the relationships between climate change and fire

During a challenging year for student engagement and research, undergraduate students in the Colorado State University Department of Anthropology and Geography stepped up and earned awards during the 2021 Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity (CURC) Showcase. The annual program, which was virtual this year, enables students to gain experience doing original and primary research with faculty advisors and peers and to develop digital posters and give remote oral presentations on their work and findings.

Overall, five students from Anthropology and Geography presented posters and/or oral presentations at CURC, offering a strong representation of the array of research our department’s students and faculty undertake. Study topics included assessing the types of teeth and eating patterns of extinct predators (presentation by Jenny Lee) to analyzing the complex relationships between wildfire, beetle-impacted forests, and climate change (individual presentations and posters by Ethan Corrigan, Brynn Crosby, Jared Grove,  and Amanda Kowalski).

Grove’s poster, “Is climate change resulting in wildfires burning areas that normally don’t burn?” won the College of Liberal Arts Honors Award.

Anthropology and Geography double major Amanda Kowalski doing field research. She won CURC overall First Place Award (tie) for her oral presentation

Kowalski, an Anthropology and Geography double major, was one of two winners of the overall best Oral Presentation award for her research, with Crosby, titled “Influence of wildfire management on burn mosaic heterogeneity and post-fire regeneration in Colorado spruce-fir forests.”

Grove, Kowalski, Corrigan and Crosby were all advised by and collaborated with Geography Professor Jason Sibold. Lee worked with Anthropology Associate Teaching Professor Connie Fellmann to complete her research.

“I’ve always loved showcasing my research through CURC and exploring the evolution of animals in general is always exciting,” said Lee, an Anthropology major, with a Biological Anthropology concentration, who graduated Spring 2021. “Not much research has been done to truly understand and reconstruct these first carnivores yet, so it was really interesting and fun to see what one of these carnivores was capable of doing. Because this fossil is from the order that gave rise to modern carnivores, it is also fascinating to find connections and insights towards how carnivores evolved.

Jenny Lee (ANTH ’21) scanning materials to create a 3D model for her CURC project

“What was really interesting about this project was the merging of many diverse aspects including doing dissections with Dr. Jeremy Delcambre [Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences], learning to do 3D scanning and modeling with Dr. Fellmann, and adding my own artistic viewpoints.”

With plans in place for a return to in-person instruction for the 2021-22 academic year, CURC organizers are looking forward to face-to-face interactions and presentations for next year, but are also considering incorporating virtual elements to future showcases.

“CURC 2021 allowed us to use a variety of virtual functions to help students share their creative work with campus and beyond,” said Louise Allen, director of the Office for Undergraduate Research and Artistry. “Going forward, I have no doubt we will maintain a more robust online presence for the events so that we can continue to reach a broader audience.”

All CURC posters and oral presentations will be accessible on the showcase’s iPoster gallery for the foreseeable future. The platform allows attendees to sort posters by college as well as major and the poster gallery includes a search function to find winners by award type.