BLOG

  • The London Forensic Anthropology and Human Identification Study Abroad Program
    As the weather keeps getting colder here in mid-Michigan, many across campus are already looking forward to the warmer months of Summer, but here at the MSUFAL we are looking forward to the Summer of 2022 for a whole different reason: the Forensic Anthropology and Human Identification study abroad program is back! This upcoming trip will be […]
  • Dr. Jared Beatrice
    In this week’s alumni spotlight, we are thrilled to feature PhD alum Dr. Jared Beatrice! Dr. Beatrice is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at The College of New Jersey. In this role, he teaches courses in biological anthropology, mentors students, and engages in research. The MSUFAL has been very fortunate to work […]
  • International Collaboration in Guatemala
    In this week’s blog post, I (Kelly) would like to feature one of the international collaborations with Michigan State University’s Forensic Anthropology Laboratory— the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Forenses (INACIF) in Guatemala City. This collaboration began when the current lead forensic anthropologist at the INACIF and I worked together in Guatemala in 2013. We got along very […]
  • Student Spotlight: Elena Watson
    This week, we are excited to feature our current fifth-year PhD student, Elena Watson! Elena is a jack-of-all-trades who has previously been the MSUFAL Lab Manager, a Research Assistant, a Teaching Assistant in human osteology, and the department Graduate Assistant. Currently, Elena is loving her job as a Teaching Assistant in the Division of Human Anatomy at […]
  • New School Year, New Forensic Lab
    New School Year, New Forensic Lab!  Welcome back to our MSUFAL blog post series after our summer hiatus! This summer truly sped by and the new school year has already brought a number of changes.  Firstly, while it’s been a long time coming, we can announce that we have officially moved to our new space in Giltner Hall! The move went without a hitch (…apart […]
  • Spring 2021 Semester Recap
    Happy summer from the Michigan State University Forensic Anthropology Laboratory! As we come to the end of another strange semester, we’re feeling overwhelmingly hopeful for the first time in a long time! Our gears are already turning as we think about the casework, coursework, and research that will hopefully be able to resume in the near future. […]
  • Dr. Mary Megyesi
    For this week’s alumni interview, we are excited to feature Dr. Mary Megyesi, PhD, D-ABFA! Dr. Megyesi is a board-certified forensic anthropologist currently working for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), formerly Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, in Honolulu, Hawaii. In this position, she actively works to identify remains of missing military service members from past conflicts and […]
  • Student Spotlight: Savannah Holcombe and Carolynn Sauter
    MSUFAL is fortunate to have so many engaged and interactive undergraduates in our forensic program. This week, we shine the spotlight on two of our exceptional undergraduates: Savannah Holcombe and Carolynn Sauter! MSU hosts an annual University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF) where undergraduates have an opportunity to showcase their research. The Anthropology Department always has […]
  • Interview with Dr. Norman Sauer
    Welcome back to the MSUFAL Blog Series! This week, two of our lab members, Amber Plemons and Rhian Dunn, sat down with Dr. Norm Sauer, a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and the 2007 recipient of the T. Dale Stewart Award for Lifetime Achievement in Forensic Anthropology. In addition to his position as a faculty member, Dr. Sauer […]
  • Dr. Jane Harris
    Welcome back to the MSUFAL blog where we would like to highlight another one of our alumni from our lab: Dr. Jane (Wankmiller) Harris! Dr. Harris is a forensic anthropologist employed at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan, where she works as Director of the Forensic Research Outdoor Station (FROST) – the first cold weather outdoor facility […]
  • Student Spotlight: Amber Plemons
    The MSUFAL is very pleased to feature PhD Candidate, Amber Plemons, for this edition of our student spotlight. Amber is currently working on her dissertation project, “The Interaction Between Genetics and Climate on Craniofacial Variation: Examining the Causative Forces of Macromorphoscopic Trait Expression”, which aims to understand the evolutionary and ecogeographical factors of human variation. Her research […]
  • 336 Days In
    Welcome back to another blog update from the MSUFAL! Can you believe that we have already spent approximately one year in quarantine? If we choose to acknowledge that quarantine started on March 13, 2020 (which was the most googled date), then we are 336 days in to isolation. Days have blended into weeks that have blended into […]
  • Student Spotlight: Micayla Spiros
    As we say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021, we would like to highlight one of our lab members here at the MSUFAL: Micayla Spiros! Micayla is currently a third year doctoral student and is also our current MSUFAL Laboratory Manager. She has been instrumental to transitioning our casework to an online platform during this last […]
  • Recognizing the Positives from a Difficult Semester
    Happy New Year from all of us at the Michigan State University Forensic Anthropology Lab. While we look toward 2021 with hope that it will be brighter, we are taking a moment to reflect on our successes and progress during the Fall 2020 semester. As a lab, we recognize our work from every semester to honor each […]
  • Ancestry Estimation Reflection
    Introduction In this blog post, we hope to bring public awareness and engagement to a current debate in the field of forensic anthropology— the use of ancestry estimation. The biological profile is a list of identifying, demographic parameters estimated from the skeleton by forensic anthropologists. Ancestry is one of its most contemplated aspects. Along with ancestry, forensic […]
  • Student Spotlight: Kelly Kamnikar
    Introducing PhD candidate, Kelly Kamnikar! Fifth year student, Kelly Kamnikar, is currently finishing her dissertation here at Michigan State University. Her dissertation research aims to estimate ancestry for Hispanic individuals to even finer levels of resolution, specifically for southeastern Mexico and Guatemala. With cranial variation being influenced by the environment, history, culture, and genetics, these regions have […]
  • Dr. Angela Soler
    We are very excited to feature our next MSUFAL alumna, Dr. Angela Soler, D-ABFA! Dr. Angela Soler is a board certified Forensic Anthropologist with the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) working in the Forensic Anthropology Unit (FAU). Working within a medical examiner’s office, Dr. Soler says that her experience and education in anthropological […]
  • New MSUFAL Lab Director, Dr. Carolyn Isaac
    The MSU Forensic Anthropology Laboratory is pleased to announce Dr. Carolyn Isaac as our new Lab Director. An alumna of the MSUFAL, Dr. Isaac returned last fall as one of our three forensic anthropologists and has been a cornerstone of the team since Day 1. Dr. Isaac’s interest in the field can be traced back to when […]
  • Looking Ahead with 20/20 Hindsight
    Happy fall from the MSU Forensic Anthropology Lab! I am Dr. Carolyn Isaac, one of the three faculty forensic anthropologists and the director of MSUFAL. I am so happy to be getting back into the swing of things after bringing a tiny human into the world in May and being home with her and, thanks to the […]
  • Dr. Jennifer Vollner
    Greetings from the depths of self-isolation and quarantine! We are back again with our final interview of the academic year with MSU alumna Dr. Jennifer Vollner, D-ABFA. Dr. Vollner is a forensic anthropologist for the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner (PCOME) in Tucson, AZ. Her duties include assisting the medical examiners with skeletal trauma cases […]
  • Is MSUFAL working remotely or remotely working?
    As we embark into uncharted territory due to COVID-19, the MSUFAL has made a few adjustments to our daily operations. Labs, faculty, and graduate students around the world are dealing with a lot of changes and uncertainty right now. So, we thought we would focus this week’s blog on how our lab is handling these unprecedented circumstances, […]
  • Dr. Julie Fleischman
    We are very excited to feature our next MSUFAL alumna, Dr. Julie Fleischman, D-ABFA! Dr. Fleischman is a board certified Forensic Anthropologist at the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences (HCIFS). The HCIFS is the Medical Examiner’s Office and Crime Laboratory in Houston, Texas where Dr. Fleischman serves as a direct consultant to the Institute’s Forensic Pathologists […]
  • MSUFAL on the road: American Academy of Forensic Sciences Annual Meeting Recap
    The MSUFAL team recently traveled to the annual American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting. The conference was held from February 17th to the 22nd in Anaheim, California and welcomes professionals and students from many areas of forensic sciences (e.g. Anthropology, Criminal Justice, and Toxicology). Attending this conference every year is important for sharing our current research, getting […]
  • Student Spotlight: Mari Isa
    Introducing PhD candidate Mari Isa! Mariyam ‘Mari’ Isa is in her final year here at the MSUFAL, and while we will be sad to see her leave, we are excited for her future endeavors! Mari’s research focuses on blunt force trauma in the skull and femora. She studies how bones break to better understand fracture patterns encountered […]
  • What’s new at MSU?
    The MSUFAL started 2020 with a bang! Publications, casework, outreach events: it has been busy here in the lab. Dr. Hefner co-authored a new publication in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology with Matthew Go (University of Illinois). Their research, “Morphoscopic ancestry estimates in Filipino crania using probit regression models” uses a novel approach to ancestry estimation […]
  • Dr. Caitlin Vogelsberg
    The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) meetings is just around the corner. We are excited to escape the cold and reunite with old friends in Anaheim, CA. Before we set off for sunny weather and Disney Resorts, and of course forensic programming, we interviewed former MSUFAL member, Dr. Caitlin C. M. Vogelsberg, about her MSU experience. […]
  • Student Spotlight: Alex Goots
    Spring at Michigan State University also brings in a new decade (2020!) and a new graduate student spotlight. To start the New Year off right, we are highlighting Alex Goots! Alex is currently in her fourth year as a University Distinguished Fellow, a distinction recognizing her past academic achievement, her current research goals, and her future contributions […]
  • A Semester in Review
    Happy New Year from the Michigan State Forensic Anthropology Lab! The end of 2019 has brought with it the end of the fall semester at the MSUFAL. Because this past fall has flown by, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on what we have accomplished (instead of dwelling on all of those impending deadlines for […]
  • Student Spotlight: Rhian Dunn
    A warm welcome to Rhian Dunn, our newest MSUFAL lab member! Rhian is currently a first year Research Assistant here at Michigan State University with a College of Social Science Dean’s Fellowship. Rhian is from California where she attended UC Santa Barbara, majoring in Biological Anthropology with a minor in Classics. After finishing her undergraduate degree, she […]
  • Subadult Age Estimation on the Altiplano
    Greetings from Fee Hall! We can hardly believe the end of the semester for Michigan State is this week. This past October (21-25) the MSUFAL was represented at the 15th annual Congress of the Latin American Forensic Anthropology Association or, in Spanish, la Asociación Latinoamericana de Antropología Forense (ALAF). The ALAF is an organization of biological anthropologists, […]
  • Dr. Nick Passalacqua
    As we see the first hints of snow and begin preparations for another long winter here in East Lansing, we often look to those that have already completed the program. To celebrate those who successfully battled these harsh East Lansing winters, we would like to highlight one of our alumni: Dr. Nicholas V. Passalacqua. Dr. Passalacqua, or […]
  • Letting our Forensic Anthropology Flags Fly: FLAG 2019
    This year, from October 17-20th, the MSUFAL attended the ninth annual meeting of the Forests, Lakes & Grasslands (FLAG), the regional forensic anthropology meeting for the Midwest. FLAG was originally created to allow students and professionals alike a chance to present research, meet, and network in a more casual atmosphere than what most large professional meetings provide. […]
  • Welcome to MSUFAL!
    Welcome to the new MSU Forensic Anthropology Laboratory blog! Every other week we will be posting news updates, current research, and highlighting MSUFAL alumni and current PhD students.  This year brought a lot of change to the MSUFAL! Dr. Todd Fenton, D-ABFA, who served as the MSUFAL director since Dr. Norman Sauer’s retirement, is now the Chair […]