Let’s give it up for Anthropology and their good news for 2022-2023!


Dr. Caity Placek was named Director of Social Science Research for SURCI and ACDC with the College of Health, and published two articles featuring her research on drug use and eating behavior:

She also organized/co-organized three symposiums:

  • American Anthropological Association, session chair: “Women and Drug Use in a Cross-Cultural Perspective,” Seattle, WA, November 2022
  • Society for Anthropological Sciences, session co-chair with Douglas Hume, “The Nuts and Bolts: Ethnographic Research and Methods Mentoring,” Salt Lake City, UT, March 2023.
  • Society for Anthropological Sciences, session chair, “Cultural Models of Illness and Health (SAS),” Cincinnati, OH, March 2023.

And gave three talks on her OUD/SUD research:

  • Placek, Caitlyn, Kelly, Eilish, and Peck, Micah (Ball State U), Phadke, Vandana and Singh, Maninder, The Impact of Cultural Models of Addiction among Reproductive Aged-Women in India, Society for Anthropological Sciences, Cincinnati, OH, March 2023.
  • Placek, Caitlyn, “Collecting Traumas: Childbearing Women’s Motivations for Seeking Drugs and Sustaining Treatment,” Indiana Academy of Science, March 2023.
  • Placek Caitlyn, Peck Micah, Kelly Eilish, Jain Ishita, Preet Simmar, Phadke Vandana, Singh Maninder. Supportive Factors and Barriers to Addiction Treatment for Women in Delhi, India, International Conference on Recent Advances in Medical and Health Sciences (ICRAMHS), February 2023.

In her role as Assistant Director of the Center for Middletown Studies, Dr. Jennifer Erickson initiated a Qualitative Research Interest Group. The group brings together scholars across academic disciplines and colleges to learn from and teach one another about a range of qualitative methods. Topics include transcription and coding methods and technologies, focus group and semi-structured individual interview protocols, participant observation, photovoice, free listing, mapping, and more. Meetings include round tables, panels, and individual presentations based on the interests and expertise of attendees.

  • Dr. Erickson leads a group of seven BSU scholars from nursing, social work, education, economics, and health sciences to teach classes to and learn about new neighbors from Afghanistan who now call Muncie home. Classes address financial literacy, driving, parenting, health and wellness, and more. Classes began in spring 2023 but will be expanded, hopefully with grant funding, in fall 2023.
  • Dr. Erickson serves as the Treasurer for the Society for the Anthropology of North America, a position for which she was elected in fall 2022 and will serve at least until 2024.

Dr. Cailin Murray has been selected as the College of Sciences and Humanities Faculty Champion for Student Success position for the social sciences for AY 2023-24.

  • Dr. Murray’s ethnographic short story, Don’t Say His Name, will soon be published in an international collection, Living with Monsters: Ethnographic Fiction about Real Monsters (Punctum Press, 2023), edited by Yasmine Musharbash and Ilana Gershon. The anthropologists who have contributed to this volume were challenged to write short fictional pieces highlighting monsters they have studied in different cultures. Dr. Murray’s monster is Sasquatch and her story examines consequences that emerge when indigenous knowledge and western science collide in the 21st century.

Current Students

Pepper Heimann has been accepted into and fully funded for an 8-week field school this summer titled, Archaeological Investigations of Colonial Maryland. This program is a collaboration between St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) and the Maryland Archeological Conservation Lab (MAC Lab). The goal is to provide undergraduates experiences in archaeology including the latest scientific and methodological approaches to fieldwork, artifact curation, materials analysis, curatorial interpretation and public engagement with scholarly content.

Eilish Kelly’s abstract for an oral presentation was accepted for the SFAA conference in March 2023. She also was the recipient of an ASPIRE Student Travel award and a Troyer Fellowship. Kelly, Eilish, Williams, Cecil, Peck, Micah, and Placek, Caitlyn (Ball State U) Gender-Based Barriers in Treatment for Substance Use Disorders, Society for Anthropological Sciences, Cincinnati, OH, March 2023.

Jessica Melvin has been selected as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) for 2023-2024 in South Korea. This program places Fulbrighters in classrooms to provide assistance to local English teachers where they help teach English while serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. Jessica has also been designated a recipient of Academic Honors in Writing for 2022-2023. She is only one of eight seniors across campus to receive this recognition. Well done, Jess!

Chloe Nye was accepted into the forensic anthropology program (located within the Master of Science in Human Biology) at the University of Indianapolis and will begin graduate school in fall 2023. Congratulations, Chloe!


Dana Northam (BS Anthropology 2020) has successfully defended her thesis as part of her MA program in Sociology here at Ball State. Prof. Caity Placek served on her committee. Her thesis is titled, “Factors Impacting How Healthcare Professionals Manage Chronic Pain.” Congratulations, Dana!

Jamie Leeuwrik (BSU MA 2018) is now working with Virginia State Parks through the Department of Conservationphoto of Jamie Leeuwrik canoeing at Virginia State Park and Recreation. She is the Chief Ranger – Visitor Experience at Mason Neck State Park in Lorton, VA. Through this role, she manages the interpretive program in the park; oversees all interpretive, educational, and recreational programs/activities; manages the park’s volunteer program; and oversees the preservation of over 30 archaeological sites within the park. One site includes the foundations of Lexington Plantation, and 18th century plantation home owned by George Mason V. Some fun tasks that take Jamie outside of her day-to-day work include being a member of the agency’s prescribed burn crew, serving as a certified kayak instructor, and certified playground safety inspector. Jamie writes, “It’s an accurate statement that park rangers wear many hats.” Impressive work, Jamie!

Jessica Clark (BSU MA 2017) is based in Columbus, Ohio and works as the Cultural Resources Director for Ohio Valley Archaeology, Inc. (OVAI). In this role, she oversees a diverse range of cultural resources management projects throughout the continental U.S., and has also participated in work in Hawaii and abroad. She is also currently serving as a Trustee for the Ohio Archaeological Council. Outstanding work, Jessica!

Ball State Anthropology Alumni, we want to hear from you. Send your updates to Dr. Erickson or any of the faculty. We love hearing from you!


For more information, please visit the College of Sciences and Humanities and learn more about the Good News of years past!