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.
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
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