Dr. Ruth Thompson-Miller has had a productive career in academia, winning many awards and honors, while publishing and presenting her work in many forums. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in 2004, as a McNair Scholar and University of Florida Scholar. She later when on to receive her doctorate in Sociology from Texas A & M University in 2011. After graduate school, she accepted an Assistant Professor position at the University of Dayton. Her research focuses on the long-term psychological consequence of trauma in the black community in the south; a form of collective PTSD—segregation stress syndrome. She anticipates that future research will delve deeper and focus on the impact of violence against women of color and how the legal system played a part in sanctioning human rights violations and crimes globally.

Dr. Thompson-Miller on her time at UF:

I have fond memories of walking through Turlington Hall at the University of Florida. As an undergraduate, I wasn’t sure about a major until I attended a class taught by Dr. Kesha Fikes. Dr. Fikes powerful insights, brilliance, intellect, and her thoughtful way of giving students the tools to grapple with our common sense knowledge, changed my life. Her class created an avenue for me to reevaluate the way that I viewed the world and my life in ways that still resonates with me today.  The professors in the department of anthropology sparked a passion that continues to inform my research, scholarship, and academic career. I will be forever be thankful for the Dept of Anthropology at the University of Florida.

Publications and Presentations

  • Currently, she has published two books, four articles, nine book chapters, and three essays—one in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and two in the American Sociological Association newsletter.
  • She has published seven encyclopedia entries; three other published academic works (including a podcast for the journal Violence Against Women, a three part series in the BlackAtlanticStar, and a teacher’s handbook for the documentary, You Belong To Me).
  • Dr. Thompson-Miller was featured in the documentary, “You Belong to Me” and featured on the Discovery Channel show, “A Crime to Remember: The Shot Doctor.”
  • Recently she completed a Ted Talks type Video where she talks about her research on segregation stress syndrome
  • She was also recently invited to be a Michael Davis Lecture Series at the University of Chicago
  • She has given more than 20 academic conference presentations, including two internationally in South Africa. She has presented in Seattle, Washington; New York, Chicago, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Philadelphia. The conference focuses on social justice and human rights issues throughout the United States.

Honors and Awards

Dr. Thompson-Miller’s commitment to scholarly productivity has also been acknowledged in the honors and awards she has received throughout her career.

  • She has received the University of Dayton Seed Grant in 2012, 2013, and 2015
  • She was awarded a National Institute of Mental Health Fellowship by the American Sociological
    Association from August 2006 to 2009
  • Additionally, she received honorable mention two years in a row for the prestigious Ford
    Foundation Minority Fellowship; one year she was the first runner up
  • In the summer of 2011, she was selected to attend a summer training workshop at the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research Institute for Social Research (MCUAAAR).
  • Currently she is in the process of rewriting a grant to resubmit to the National Institute of Health for the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities
  • In addition, she has applied for the Ford Foundation Postdoc Fellowship


Ashley Sharpe (PhD ’16) has accepted a position at STRI, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute [posted 2016]

Ellen Lofaro (PhD ’16) has accepted a position at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville as Curator of Collections [posted 2016]

Jessica-Jean Casler (PhD ’16) has accepted a two year Health Services Research and Design postdoctoral position with the Denver VA. She will be conducting a project focusing on health inequalities among veterans and the accessibility of care. [posted 2016]

Zack Gilmore (PhD ’15) was offered a tenure-track position at Rollins College starting Fall 2016. [posted 2016]

Nick Kawa (PhD ’11) Assistant Professor at Ohio State University, recently published his new book: Nicholas C. Kawa. 2016. Amazonia in the Anthropocene: People, Soils, Plants, Forests published by Texas University Press. [posted 2016]

Matt Watson (PhD ’10) will be an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Mount Holyoke College starting Fall 2016.


Heather McIlvaine-Newsad (PhD ’00) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Western Illinois University. [posted 2004]

Amanda Stronza (PhD ’00) is Assistant Professor with the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Science at Texas A&M University. [posted 2004]

Tara Boonstra (JD ’01) is the Assistant General Counsel at St. John’s Water Management District, Palatka, Florida. [posted 2004]

Kathryn (Katie) Lynch (PhD ’01) is the Partner and President of the Institute for Culture and Ecology, Portland, Oregon. [posted 2004]

Mark Swanson (MA ’91, PhD ’01) is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Rural Sociology at the University of Kentucky. [posted 2004]

Tanya M. Peres (PhD ’01) is now Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN. [posted 2006]

Noemi Porro (PhD ’02) is a post-doctoral researcher with the IDRC in Canada. [posted 2004]

Fred Smith (PhD ’02), currently at Western Michigan University, has accepted a position as Assistant Professor at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, starting Fall 2005. [posted 2005]

Rodney Stubina (MA ’97, PhD ’02) is a research scientist with the Global Public Policy and Programs Operations Evaluation Department with the World Bank. [posted 2004]

David Mayorga (BA ’03) is Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the House of Representatives Committee on Science. [posted 2005]

Matthew McPherson (PhD ’03) is the Caribbean regional research coordinator for the Nature Conservancy. [posted 2004]

John Schultz (PhD ’03), Assistant Professor at University of Central Florida, appeared in the Discovery Channel’s “Mummy Autopsy” programs. [posted 2005]

Ronaldo Weigand (PhD ’03) is the Director of the Protected Area Program and the Secretariat for Coordination of the Amazon with Brazil’s Ministry of the Environment. [posted 2004]

Richard Wallace (PhD ’04) is working as a Researcher on a project with Brazilian universities and NGOs in a consortium funded by USAID-Brazil to support community forestry and links with markets in Brazil’s Amazon and Atlantic Forest regions. [posted 2005]

Jamie Anderson-Waters’s (MA ’04) thesis research on the archaeology of children in colonial St. Augustine was featured in Science magazine’s “Science for Kids” in May 2005. [posted 2005]

Christian Russell (PhD ’05) is Research Scientist for the UF Land Use and Environmental Change Institute. [posted 2005]

Matthew C. Curtis (M.A. ’95, Ph.D. ’05) is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. [posted 2006]

William Schumann (PhD ’05) has assumed an NEH- Endowed Chair in Appalachian Studies at Berea College, Kentucky, where he will develop an ethnology of Appalachian and Welsh communities’ post-coal economy. [posted 2005]


Kate Hoffman (PhD ’90) is Vice-President of Janus Research, Inc., a historic preservation and archaeology consulting firm based in St. Petersburg. [posted 2005]

Elizabeth Higgs (PhD ’90) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, Georgia. [updated 2011]

Jonathan Dain (MA ’91) is the Student Development Coordinator and Instructor with the UF Center for Latin American Studies. [posted 2004]

Kathleen Barnes (MA ’89, PhD ’92) is a faculty member in the school of medicine at Johns Hopkins. [posted 2004]

Gloria B. Bryan (PhD ’92) is a health education specialist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. [posted 2004]

Avecita Chicchon (PhD ’92) is a Program Officer at the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago, Illinois. [posted 2004]

Christopher McCarty (MA ’85, PhD ’92) is the UF Chair of the Department of Anthropology in addition to working as the director of survey research at the UF Bureau of Business and Economic Research.. [posted 2016]

Gene Ann Shelley (MA ’88, PhD ’92) is employed by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. [posted 2004]

Lee Ann Newsom (BA ’82, MA ’86, PhD ’93) was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2002 to further her research in how fossilized plant life in the Southeast and the Caribbean can provide insights into farming practices of early Amerindian societies. [posted 2004]

David Price (PhD ’93) is Associate Professor of Anthropology at St. Martin’s University, Lacey, Washington. [posted 2006]

Holly Ann Williams (PhD ’95), who works for the Malaria Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, received the 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Nursing at the University of Pittsburgh. [posted 2005]

Constance (Connie) Campbell (PhD ’96) is a Social Science and Biodiversity Advisor with the USAID Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade and the Office of Natural Research Management in Washington, DC. [posted 2004]

Karla Slocum (PhD ’96) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. [posted 2004]

Anthony Michelraj (PhD ’97) is the chancellor of a diocese in southern India. [posted 2004]

J. Keith Akins (MA ’95, PhD ’98) is Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Houston–Victoria. [posted 2010]

Peter Cronkleton (MA ’93, PhD ’98) is the Bolivia Adaptive Collaborative Management Coordinator at the Center for International Forestry Research in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. [posted 2004]

Christina Espinosa (MA ’95, PhD ’98) is the Assistant Director at the UF Center for Latin American Studies. [posted 2004]

Francisco Cartaxo Nobre (MA ’98) is the Secretary for Technical Assistance and Rural Extension with the state of Acre, Brazil. [posted 2004]

Dr. R. Celeste Ray , UF Honors graduate (BA ’98) and Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, was interviewed on National Public Radio’s program, The Tartan Spangled Banner. Dr. Ray’s UF Honor’s thesis, “Erin Go Braugh,” concerned Irish culture and society. [posted 2005]

Dr. Angela Stuesse (BA ’98) is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at University of South Florida. She recently released her first book: Scratching Out A Living-Latinos, Race, and Work in the Deep South. You can view her website for the book here: http://www.angelastuesse.com/. [posted 2016]


Nicholas Honerkamp (PhD ’80) is Chair of the Anthropology Department at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. [posted 2005]

Richard Pace (MA ’83, PhD ’87) is Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work at Middle Tennessee State University. [posted 2004]

Charles Ewen (PhD ’87) was promoted to full professor in the Anthropology Department of East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. [posted 2005]

Karen Ramey Burns (PhD ’87) is Adjunct Professor, Universities of Georgia and Utah, and Consultant in Forensic Anthropology.  She devotes most of her time to international human rights work, writing, and consulting.  At present, she is working several months a year in Bogotá, Colombia with EQUITAS (el Equipo Colombiano Interdisciplinario de Trabajo Forense y Asistencia Psicosocial). [posted 2006]

Nawal H. Ammar (PhD ’88) is Associate Professor in the Department of Justice Studies at Kent State University, and is affiliated with the Department of Anthropology at KSU. She is known for her work in restorative justice, Islamic jurisprudence, women and the law in Arab Islamic societies, and social service delivery.

Michael J. Evans (PhD ’88) is a senior anthropologist for the Midwest region of the National Park Service. [posted 2004]

Bonnie G. McEwan (PhD ’88), Director of the San Luis Archaeological and Historical site in Tallahassee, was awarded$1 million from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the San Luis research program and $2.6 million from the Florida legislature to reconstruct the 17th century Spanish fort of San Luis. [posted 2005]


Dr. Barbara Purdy, UF Professor Emerita (PhD ’71), was profiled in the May 2005 issue of The SAA Archaeological Record . [posted 2005]

Richard W. Sapp (PhD 1976) is a freelance writer & photographer in Gainesville. [posted 2006]

Mercio Pereira Gomes (PhD ’77) is now President of FUNAI, the Brazilian Indian Protection Service. [posted 2004]

UF Alumni Ed Gonzalez-Tennant’s work in Rosewood, FL was recently featured by WFSU. See the link below to read the article:


Anthropology alumni Drs. Laurel Freas and Paul Emanovsky both passed the Board Examination for the American Board of Forensic Anthropology in February at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting. They join a list of 114 forensic anthropologists who have been awarded Diplomate status by the ABFA since 1978.

Also, former C.A. Pound Lab Coordinators Dr. Traci Van Deest and Dr. Katie Skorpinski have both been hired as civilian anthropologists with the DoD’s Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. Katie will work out the the DPAA’s new Omaha Offet AFB Laboratory and Traci will be stationed at the Central Identification Laboratory in Haw’aii. They will helping to recover and identify the remains of U.S. combat casualties from prior conflicts.

Carrie Brown, who just successfully defended her dissertation on Wednesday 9th, will return to the Omaha Laboratory where she is already employed as a forensic anthropologist.