Lee News

Anthropology Students Present at Regional Conference

Students Present at BRURC
Pictured here (l to r) are Jed Foster, Abigail Christopher, and William Kimball.

Lee anthropology students Abigail Christopher, Jed Foster, and William Kimball recently presented their original research at the Blue Ridge Undergraduate Research Conference (BRURC) at Union College in Kentucky.

“Anthropology has some of the most creative and intelligent students, not only at Lee, but undergraduates nationwide,” said Dr. Richard Jones, professor of anthropology at Lee. “Their breadth of knowledge and desire to confront contemporary issues in their research is remarkable and helping them get into the best graduate programs internationally.”

Abigail Christopher, from Waynesville, North Carolina, presented on her time in Liberia during which she gathered stories of survival from women who lived through two civil wars and the Ebola virus crisis. During her time in Liberia, she also spent time observing and interacting with women in work and worship, as well as holding focus groups.

Her goal was to discover the strategies used by women in both the Christian evangelical churches and the Muslim faith in times of national stress to confront and rebuild their communities.

Christopher’s talk, “The Role of Evangelical Christian Women in the Rebuilding Efforts of Post-Ebola Liberia,” highlighted what she called “chechepolay,” which is a form of communication, typically among women, in which women through their shared responsibilities and use of cultural practices, such as “chechepolay” and duties, solidify their relationships with one another.” Her work was funded by a $5,000 summer research grant from the Appalachian College Association (ACA).

Jed Foster, of Sweetwater, Tennessee, surveyed 196 college students about their views on creation versus evolution. He performed a regressive analysis on numerous variables and concluded that science majors are more likely to accept evolution than non-majors, juniors and seniors more likely than freshman and sophomores, and students coming from public school are more probable than private or homeschooled students.

Foster’s presentation, “The Young and the Religious: Acceptance of Evolution among Millennials at an Evangelical Christian U,” has been accepted for publication in a national undergraduate research journal. Having spent a semester studying in China, Foster applied for and was awarded an ACA summer research scholarship to study responses to changes in China’s One-Child Policy this summer.

William Kimball, of Franklin, Tennessee, spent summer 2016 excavating at Eagle Rock Shelter in Colorado with Lee University’s archaeology field school. He presented an overview of the site’s 14,000 years of human occupation. The archaeological timeline of Eagle Rock Shelter was based on excavation records for the past 10 years.

Kimball illustrated his discussion with material found in the strata of Paleo-Indian, Archaic, and Formative periods that included fire hearths, stone tools, cordage and baskets, animal bones, and petroglyphs on the shelter walls.

“The site contains evidence of maize cultivation 450 years prior to what had previously been recorded in the area,” said Kimball. “Over the years that the site has been excavated, it has been a constant source of new information that will require reevaluation of the current record of human activity in this region of North America.”

Kimball plans to continue excavating Eagle Rock Shelter this summer.

The BRURC is an interdisciplinary conference that hopes to encourage undergraduates to engage in original investigations and thus provides them an opportunity to present their findings.
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