Summer Collaborative Research

The summer months are an ideal time for students and faculty to undertake research projects designed and carried out collaboratively, or for students to participate as partners on some aspect of ongoing faculty research projects.  These collaborations may be supported by college funding, such as summer student/faculty collaborative grants, or by external foundation or government grants.

Defining Home: The Decorah Refugee Heritage Project”
Destiny Crider initiated this project as the summer 2018 Faculty/Student Collaborative Research Project titled "We're Thinking About You: 'Decorah Hmong Refugee' Reflection on their Past, Present, and Future," with the goal to identify and interview members of the Hmong refugee community that participated in the Resettlement Program. The project continues in the summer of 2019 with the purpose  to gather, process, preserve, and present information regarding the Refugee Resettlement program in Northeast Iowa that emerged in response to the displacement of Southeast Asian refugees from the Vietnam War. The Luther College Anthropology Lab currently holds an extensive archive which includes news articles, correspondence, photographs, sponsor records, documents, and audio/visual interviews of both migrants and Decorah community members that participated in this program in the 1970s-1990s. The summer 2019 project will continue to reach out to immigrants and Decorah community members to gather new stories of the immigrant and Decorah community experiences.  

  • Summer 2018, Anika Nelson ('19)
  • Summer 2019, Dominique Alisa Stringer ('22)

“Geophysical Survey of Prehistoric Earthwork Sites in Northeast Iowa”
This is an ongoing effort to apply geophysical remote sensing technology to the many prehistoric earthworks, including mounds, found in northeast Iowa.  Colin Betts and Luther College students employ several instruments to gather data to test a variety of research questions associated with these earthworks.  The field work in 2016 focused on identifying the geophysical signature of a linear mound.  The most recent efforts sought to provide information on both the size and shape of the ditch and embankment that once existed at the Lane Enclosure site as well as to relocate previous excavations.  Additional work was designed to provide information on the construction and current conservation status of two falcon effigy mounds located along the Mississippi River south of Lansing, Iowa.

  • Summer 2018: Anna Luther (’19), and Linh Luong (’20)
  • Summer 2016: Marshall Stay (’16)

"Health and Wellness Imaginaries of Young People in Contemporary Ukraine."
Maryna Bazylevych
and Brittany Anderson ('16) conducted research about health and wellness among young women and men in contemporary Ukraine during the summer of 2015. The project was funded by the Nena Amundson Fellowship. Bazykevych and Anderson facilitated focus groups with close to 120 young people, mainly those who attend Khmelnytskyi National University in Western Ukraine, and conducted individual interviews and participant observation. The project seeks to understand the ways in which young people imagine good health for themselves, their partners, and their households, and the routes, if any, they take to secure good health, as well as the sources of knowledge that inform their behaviors.

  • Summer 2015: Brittany Anderson ('16)

"Experimentation in Ceramic Decorative Technology: The Central Mexican Multi-Prong Brush." 
This collaborative project between Destiny Crider, Anthropology Lab and Collections Manager;  Ben Moore, Art Faculty; and Jayne Cole ('14), Anthropology and Art double major was supported by a Luther College Academic Administrative Assistantship award. The research question emerged from Dr. Crider's doctoral research on the production and distribution of Prehispanic pottery from the area around Mexico City. The goal of this collaborative study was to better understand and replicate the use of a unique paint brush used to make parallel lines to decorate the "Mazapan Wavy Line" pottery that was in use around A.D. 900.  Almost 40 proto-type brushes were constructed using naturally available materials that would have been common to potters in Central Mexico, such as agave fibers, animal hair, reeds and soft wood. Both successes and failures provided new insights into this unique technological implement and results were presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in the Spring of 2014.

  • Summer 2013: Jayne Cole ('14)

"Maasai Medicine Project."
An ongoing effort to document medicinal plants and plant-based medicines used by the Maasai people of northern Tanzania. This is a collaborative project in which Luther College students and faculty work alongside Maasai research partners, secondary school students, and local experts to preserve information about Maasai ethnomedicine and make it widely available to the Maasai community. The project addresses health, educational, and economic development issues.

  • Summer 2012: Jeffrey Emerson (‘12)
  • Summer 2011: Rachel Hodapp (‘13) and Georgianna Whiteley (‘13)
  • Summer 2010: Sylvie Hall (‘12) and Kia Johnson (‘12)