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Anthropology Student and Alumna Earn National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships

April 21, 2022

SU News

Katelyn Bajorek ’21, an alumna with degrees in history and anthropology from the Maxwell School and member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program; and Odlanyer Hernández de Lara, a Ph.D. student in anthropology in the Maxwell School, are among those who have been awarded prestigious graduate research fellowships through the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). The fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in the U.S. The five-year fellowship includes three years of financial support, including an annual stipend of $34,000.

Bajorek studies medieval history and human osteology, with a research focus on the intersections of medieval medicine and religion. This fellowship will allow her to pursue her Ph.D. in medieval studies at Cornell University and provide important professional advancement resources to further her academic career. With a passion for fieldwork, Bajorek hopes to one day work as an archaeological field director at medieval cemetery sites.

“As a child, I was fascinated by books about dinosaurs and Egyptian mummies,” she says. “An archaeological field school with Dr. Guido Pezzarossi in 2018 showed me that a career in archaeology was possible in real life. I envision that a significant portion of my career will be spent leading excavations. I eventually want to become a professor of medieval archaeology, where I can direct a teaching lab of new generations of students.”

Hernández de Lara has been interested in archaeology since volunteering with the Cuban Speleological Society in his home country of Cuba. Pursuing his Ph.D. in anthropology with a focus on historical archaeology, his research interests include conflict and battlefield archaeology and the archaeology of the contemporary past, heritage and memory. Hernández de Lara says the NSF fellowship will support his doctoral research, and potentially open the door for future grants to continue developing his research project.

“I have met great professionals at SU who have expanded my limits in unexpected ways,” says Hernández de Lara. “Interacting with professors and other graduate students in the Department of Anthropology and the Maxwell School as a whole contributed to shaping my approach to the discipline, and life in general.”

He hopes to ultimately become a college or university professional, with a significant interest in museums, historic preservation agencies and other public service positions in archaeology.

Read more about the fellowship and awardees in the SU News article, "Students and Alumna Earn National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships." 

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