Cecilia Mayer with Prof. Scott Legge

St. Paul, Minn. – Senior Anthropology major Cecilia Mayer ’16 (Seattle, Wash.) has been awarded the American Association for Physical Anthropologists 2016 Sherwood Washburn Prize for Exemplary Student Research for her poster presentation “How tough is the grey-cheeked mangabey? Patterns of healed skeletal trauma in Lophocebus albigena.

Mayer attended the 85th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) in Atlanta, Ga., with Anthropology Prof. Scott Legge, and fellow seniors Risa Luther of Portland, Ore., and Katherine Meier of Madison, Conn. She was chosen for this award from a qualified group of graduate and undergraduate students that did either poster or podium presentations.

“The conference was actually life changing – it affirmed my love and appreciation for physical anthropology and gave me new opportunities to consider,” said Mayer. “I also made wonderful connections with other physical anthropologists.”

The topic of Mayer’s presentation is also her capstone, (a senior presentation is made up of a capstone paper and an oral presentation) which came out of a 10-week research project in 2015 with Legge and Luther that was funded by the Educating Sustainability Ambassadors Collaborative Summer Research Grant. They worked at the University of Minnesota with the NC Tappen collection, which contains primate skeletons collected in the mid-20th century, and analyzed the bones for evidence of healed skeletal trauma in three monkey species.

Mayer plans on graduate school in physical anthropology after a year, during which she will go to Malang, Indonesia, for a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Indonesian. She studied abroad in Indonesia in the fall of 2014 and is excited to return. After CLS, she will stay in Indonesia for a year to be a research assistant at the Tuanan Orangutan Research Project Site in Central Kalimantan with fellow Anthropology major Katherine Meier.

“My ultimate goal is to combine Indonesian and physical anthropology, and this is the best possible way to do that,” said Mayer.

This prize was created in honor of Sherwood L. Washburn (1911-2000), whose teaching and research were important in shaping the face of physical anthropology during the last half of the twentieth century.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,138 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. Learn more at macalester.edu.

May 3 2016

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