Graduate Students

University of Louisville, Anthropology Department, Graduate Students


Rebecca Coffield

In 2017 I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Louisville. During my undergraduate career, I took several Anthropology electives that sparked my interest on the topic. I’ve always been fascinated with forensic analysis and the identification of historical artifacts, which helped anchor my decision to study Archaeology. I have a strong interest in the curatorial/analytical processes, which I intend to make my career goal.

Stephanie Dooley
BA, Anthropology

Research interests: My research interests include ceramic analysis, historical archaeology and GIS.



Jordan Durham
BA Anthropology &  BA History
Graduate Teaching Assistant 

My primary research interests are lithic technology, experimental archaeology, and migration patterns of modern humans.  My area of focus is the colonization of Japan and the earliest sites of occupation.  Other research interests include paleoenvironmental reconstruction, cultural/technological evolution, and human dispersal.


Misty Lane Kupka
BA, Anthropology
MA, Social Work

Research interest: My research interests in the MA Anthropology program are:  humanitarian aid, voluntourism and other service/learning abroad programs, environmental justice and political ecology, specifically development pressures and land dispossession.


Michelle Montalvo-Jourdan works in the Graduate School as the program coordinator for student recruitment, success, and retention.  She is also a current 2nd yr.  graduate student studying Anthropology, with a focus on environmental sustainability and food sovereignty. 

 She began her professional career at U of L in 2017 with Campus Housing as Assignments Coordinator. Outside of school and work, Michelle likes to be in nature, garden, urban forage, do yoga, read true crime novels, and make maps.  And she lives by the motto “Honor the journey and reflect on the experiences, be kind to all including yourself, live a life of compassion, peace starts on our plates.”  


Zack Shelton

My research interests are inequality, class, and culture, and I plan on doing my thesis on educational inequality in Appalachia.



Dustin Smith

My research so far has been focused on lithic analysis from a project that I have been working on. It's located in the Upper Cumberland region of KY. I unfortunately have yet to find anything diagnostic, so as far as a time range goes, I got nadda. As far as previous work, I have been fortunate enough to work on prehistoric rock shelter sites within Mammoth Cave National Park. As far as interests go, I love museums, cooking and watching documentaries. 



                        Former Graduate Students

Neha Angal
Biological Anthropology

Department alum Neha Angal (M.A. 2016) recently accepted a position as a field interviewer for the Survey Research Center (SRC) at the University of Michigan. Neha is recruiting and enrolling new mothers into a longitudinal study, Baby’s First Years, at area hospitals in New Orleans. The project objective is to assess the role of family background, experiences, income, and access to social services on early child development, through the first three years of life. The SRC is internationally recognized as a leading organization in interdisciplinary and social and behavioral science research.


Allan Day
BA, English
Cultural Anthropology

In 2016 I received a Bachelor’s degree in English from IU-Southeast. I decided to take the writing skills I had developed and explore the social sciences. My interest in the machinations of culture led me to the University of Louisville Anthropology department, where I focused my Master’s work on issues of sustainability and the environment. I wanted to understand how various cultures conceive of the human relationship to the environment, why so many societies function unsustainably, and what impact sustainability efforts might have upon socio-cultural systems. 

David Hoefer

David Hoefer
MA, Archaeology

David Hoefer recently completed his master-of-arts (M.A.) degree in anthropology at the University of Louisville. After a successful career as a communications consultant and small-business owner, David decided to pursue a second career in archaeology, as a means of fulfilling a longtime passion for scholarly research and analysis. His thesis defense, on the evidence for economic agency at a pair of Archaic-Era hunter-gatherer sites in New Mexico, occurred in April 2015.


Photo of Tyler Short

Tyler Short
Socio-Cultural Anthropology

Research interests:

In December 2017 I had the honor of traveling to Rome for two trainings that involved nearly twenty youth from around the world. As a member of Sustainable Agriculture of Louisville (SAL), I represented the US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA), a coalition of grassroots and grassroots-support organizations dedicated to realizing the human right to food sovereignty by ending poverty, rebuilding local economies, and asserting democratic control over food systems.


Photo of Robyn Valenzuela

Robyn Valenzuela

In the fall of 2014, I began my PhD program in Cultural Anthropology at Indiana University, with outside PhD minors in Human Rights and Gender Studies.  My dissertation research examines transnational family separation and reunification between the United States and Mexico.  This separation often entails the convergence of Immigration enforcement, child welfare, and Family Law systems, as well as institutional networks involved in transnational reunification cases.  My study engages in ethnographic and archival research in Chicago, Illinois and Indiana, examining how noncitizen Mexican parents, child protection workers (in the U.S and Mexico), attorneys, and Family Law judges experience and navigate the child protection system domestically and transnationally.  In so doing, it considers how bordering practices, as an effect of state surveillance and power, are enacted on families regardless of their proximity to the physical U.S-Mexico border.  Ironically, this was a project I had conceived prior to the campaign or election of Donald Trump.  However, this project has taken on a new significance in our current political climate.