Valko Guest Speaker in “Anthropology in Action” Series

Posted on 9/28/2015 8:13:37 AM

Amanda Valko, MA kicked off the Anthropology Department’s 2015–16 Anthropology in Action series on Wednesday, September 23, 2015, with a program titled “Paleobotany: the Secret of Seeds.” 

Anthropology in Action is a monthly series highlighting the work of today’s anthropologists in the real world. Recent topics include women’s rights in Western Sahara, the impact of incarceration on female inmates’ sense of identity, and representations of North African minorities in the French media.

This year, the department is additionally focusing on bringing IUP alumni to campus to speak on their work and how their IUP degree influenced their career trajectory.

Lara Homsey-Messer introducing Amanda Valko
Photo: Lara Homsey-Messer introduces Amanda Valko at Anthropology in Action Lecture Series

Valko began her early career in nutrition, having earned a degree in dietetics from IUP in 1979. After several years working in food services as a nutritionist, Valko decided to follow her passion and pursue a career change, this time in anthropology. She earned an MA in Anthropology from Kent State University in 2001; since then she has worked as an archaeologist for established cultural resource management firms throughout western Pennsylvania.

Specializing in the identification of plant remains at archaeological sites, Valko combined her interests in past cultures and nutrition by examining the diet and health of a prehistoric Monongahela population in southwest Pennsylvania.

Valko’s talk highlighted the difficulty in recovering and analyzing fragile plant fragments as well as discussing what archaeologists can learn about past cultures’ diet, health, and the creative use of plants as medicines, herbal supplements, and fabric dyes.

The next Anthropology in Action lecture will be Laurie Occhipinta (Clarion University) discussing missionary tourism on October 7.

Department of Anthropology