Making Headlines

End of Semester Celebration Honored Graduating Seniors and Scholarship Winners

May 7

On May 3, the Department held its annual end of the school year celebration. Using the theme of Animal Farm, students and faculty enjoyed snacks, cake and ice cream, and great conversation.  It was a fun way to celebrate the end of the semester and celebrate our graduating seniors.

We also honored students who won our department awards.  This year’s awardees included:

  • Joy Query Scholarship: Camryn Anderson and Julianna Berg
  • Sociology and Anthropology Scholarship: Jacob Gayton and Emma Hoffman

Congratulations to our awardees and graduates!

Students Attend Midwest Sociological Society Conference with Faculty

May 1, 2024

Thank you to our undergraduate and graduate students for representing NDSU well at the 2024 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Sociological Society (MSS)  April 4-7. The Meeting's theme was A Sociology of Joy: Centering Joy in Research, Teaching and Practice.  Students enjoyed the opportunity to network with professionals in the field, attend talks by scholars, teachers and professional sociologists and explore the city of Des Moines.  Drs. Emanuelson and Mataic attended the meeting along with students.


Sociology and Anthropology Day


April 15, 2024

NDSU held its third annual Sociology and Anthropology Day on March 22, 2024. The event, organized by the Sociology and Anthropology Department, took place in the Dieterich Atrium at the Alumni Center. Featuring a diverse range of student research presentations during our student poster session, the day also included a panel of alumni sharing their post-graduation experiences and community work. 




Sociology/Anthropology Dept Holds First Movie Discussion on Great Gerwig’s “Barbie”

April 8, 2024

On March 26th, the Sociology/Anthropology department held a viewing of Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” A movie that has captivated audiences and sparked discussions on our culture, as well as feminist theory and discourse. After the movie, there was a discussion panel involving the participants and 2 lovely guests: Dr. Christina Weber, the chair of the Soc/Anth department, and Megan Talcott, NDSU’s Sexual Assault Prevention & Advocacy Coordinator, who has a background in sociology and cultural anthropology.

The discussion panel after the film touched on many topics of sociology and cultural anthropology. The panel and attendees discussed sociological theories like The Self vs. The Other, as well as the anthropology of Barbie as a cultural icon and as a physical doll. The event was an overall success, and we would like to thank all those who attended and participated!

Alumni Spotlight: Connor Crago

February 16

After graduating from NDSU in Spring 2023, sociology alumnus, Connor Crago, has gone on to graduate school at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington DC. He is studying Strategy, Cybersecurity, and Intelligence.  Speaking about his experiences in our program, he stated that “I have found that having a background in social sciences is immensely helpful for understanding complex problems from a variety of perspectives.  Additionally, the research and data analytic skills NDSU gave me have been incredibly helpful.”  Connor was also named one of the 30 under 30 Leader Developers for 2023 by the West Point Center for Junior Officers.

You can hear more from Connor on his first episode for the podcast Small World Big Problems titled, "The Dragon and the Bear: Unpacking Sino-Russian Relations Amidst War.” In this episode he interviewed Sergey Radchenko, a professor at SAIS Bologna and expert on Sino-Russian relations. He’ll be hosting more episodes over the spring 2024 semester.

Dr. Dane Mataic Named ND Water Resources Research Institute Faculty Fellow

January, 2024

The ND Water Resources Research Institute (NDWRRI) has named four NDSU assistant professors as Faculty Fellows. These experts will provide water research leadership and information to NDSU while providing interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research-based solutions to water quality and water access problems for the state and the nation.

NDWRRI Director Xinhua Jia and a committee reviewed an application for each individual detailing their unique skills and capabilities. "With a robust and strong pool of fellow applications, the chance to support four applications for this opportunity offers the potential to accelerate inter- and transdisciplinary collaborations around water," said NDSU Vice President for Research and Creative Activity Colleen Fitzgerald.

Sociology Faculty Receive Recognition for Innovation in Teaching Award

December 2023

Dr. Ellen Rubinstein (Assistant Professor of Anthropology) and Dr. Leretta Smith (Senior Lecturer) received the Recognition for Innovation in Teaching Award this fall.

The Innovation in Teaching Award came out of a taskforce that was created to explore how to develop and promote innovative teaching at NDSU. The award provides recognition for the many great things happening in our classrooms. The majority of the nominations came from students, which makes this recognition even more special. Congratulations to Drs. Smith and Rubinstein!

Sociology Major Receives Prestigious Scholarship

November, 2023

Joelle Hannam received the Obama-Chesky Voyager Scholarship. Hannam is double majoring in sociology and psychology. Hannam research study centers on her interest surrounding mental health. More information can be found at this link:

Department Open House Features Cacti, Cookies, and Homemade Chili

October 2023

On Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology hosted its first annual Open House. The Department Open House is an opportunity to bring current students, prospective majors, faculty, and staff together in an informal setting to eat, chat, and learn more about one another. Students completed a scavenger hunt for prizes and extra class credit, which had the added benefit of introducing them to the Department’s nooks and crannies—and to some of their instructors’ more interesting characteristics.

Tasked with taking a variety of selfies to receive extra credit for their cultural anthropology course, students tracked down favorite instructors past and present, Sociology Club and Anthropology Association officers, and fellow Open House attendees, cajoling them into posing for photos. Special thanks are due to Anthropology Association Vice-President Kyla Larson, who spent several hours fielding questions, signing off on completed scavenger hunt sheets, and gamely posing for an impressive number of selfies.

With midterms on the horizon, students enjoyed meeting new people, chowing down on homemade chili and cookies, seeking out the elusive office cacti, and generally taking a break from their hectic school and work schedules. “I found it to be a great bonding experience with my fellow classmates I may have never spoken to,” said one sophomore Psychology major. Added a sophomore Anthropology major, “I’ve yet to meet anyone (student or faculty) within the department that isn’t incredibly genuine and easy-going.”

Anthropology Major Attends Summer Field School in Poland

September, 2023

This summer, Kyla Larson, an anthropology major in our department, attended a mortuary Archaeology field school in Poland. Below Kyla shares some of her experiences. 

“The field school was about 3.5 weeks and entailed fieldwork in a cemetery and lab work with human remains. There was also an osteology course which taught me a lot. This program was through the Slavia Foundation and they have field schools each summer and different locations throughout Poland. Most sites are Medieval period Archaeology and the field school provides credit if you’d like. I attended the Gać location that focused more on Osteology and excavation and, don’t worry, the program is in English!  (But I would advise picking up some Polish if you’d like to solo travel.)

“I experienced the fascinating differences between European and American Archaeology, the ‘Polish smile,’ and different Medieval historical sites. It's not just a ‘get your work done and leave’ kind of experience; it's truly an immersive experience. I will forever remember this educational opportunity not only because of the coursework and cultural exposure but the fun and informative instructors and peers I have met throughout the field school. I won’t forget the adventures of solo traveling throughout Poland either, but that’s a story for another time. “

If you are interested in the Slavia Field School please visit their website for more information.  They are looking for more students from NDSU to attend.

Kyla is in the blue. Photo Credit: “Slavia Field School in Mortuary Archaeology, Gać”

Walk into My Future


On August 3rd, NDSU, MSUM , and Concordia hosted K-5th graders from the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club as they toured booths introducing fields of study that students can pursue while in college. Dr. Kristen Fellows hosted a booth that introduced students to archaeology. They talked briefly about how people use “stuff” (i.e., artifacts) everyday, and that archaeologists use artifacts to understand how people in the past lived. Using an oversized photo from an excavation site in Jamaica, Dr. Fellows explained how archaeologists carefully dig, screen all of our dirt to recover all of the artifacts, and take lots of notes. Students then had the chance to “excavate” artifacts from bins filled with sand. They used trowels and paintbrushes and they talked about what the artifacts were and how people would have used them. Over the course of the day, Dr. Fellows interacted with approximately 25 groups of 10-15 kids per group.

NDSU Anthropology Faculty Collaborates with Fargo Public Libraries

On April 15, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology welcomed students from the Fargo-Moorhead area (Grades 3-7) to get some hands-on experience in an archaeology lab.  Dr. John Creese (Associate Professor of Anthropology) ran archaeology labs for students. In total, there were four tours with 46 children attending throughout the day. Students completed an archaeology scavenger hunt and had a chance to see and hold artifacts, try a microscope, and learn about life in the ancient past.

Cynthia Mason, the Fargo Public Library organizer of the event, stated that “The kids learned so much and Dr. Creese was incredibly patient and kind in making himself available and answering everyone’s questions.”  The event was a great success and a valuable collaboration between NDSU and Fargo Public Libraries.

Dr. Creese’s Archaeology Lab was part of the “Red River Valley Kids Read” project. Area kids read the book, Summer Ruins by Deb Waley, which tells the story of a young girl who travels to South Dakota on an archaeological dig with her parents.

Anthropology graduate, David Hubin, is the new curator of Bonanzaville.

“Hubin wants the future of Bonanzaville to be more interactive, rather than what some might consider a catch-all drawer for local artifacts of interest.”  Follow the link to read more about the great work he is doing.


Red River Valley Kids Read project visits NDSU's Archeology Lab

The Fargo Library and NDSU are partnering up to offer kids in grades 4 to 6 the opportunity to learn more about archeology with tours of NDSU’s Archeology Lab.  Dr. John Creese will be giving tours on Saturday, March 25 at 9:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2 pm and 3:30 pm.

The tour is part of this year’s Red River Valley Kids Read project, which runs through March 31. Click here for our previous coverage of the project.


A Celebratory Sociology and Anthropology Day

With over 10 student posters, presentations from alumni, and an engaging networking lunch, we had a successful Sociology and Anthropology Day on Friday, March 3. This was the second year of this event and it was once again a great success.  It was an exciting day and demonstrated the valuable contributions that anthropology and sociology provide to understanding our social world. 

Below are the winners of the student poster contest.  We plan to showcase the posters in our department and on our website. I encourage you to take a look at them.  For those of you who did not present this year, please think about doing this next year. It was a fun event and is a great way to show others the work you have been doing in your classes.  For all presenters, I was impressed by the fantastic work you all are doing. Keep up the great work and consider submitting your poster to NDSU Explore.

Research Day Student Poster Winners

  • Best in Show: Megan Schlangen: “Exploring Comics & Nationhood in Argentina”
  • Students’ Choice: Grace Rebel, “"I Think That I'm Broken: An Oral History Examination of Disability in Academia”

We also held a raffle for students who voted in the Students’ Choice award.  The raffle winners include: Audra Buysse, Kyla Larson, and Lauren Schluter.

Congratulations to all our winners! 


Sociology Faculty Receives Recognition for Innovation in Teaching Award

Dr. Dane Mataic (Assistant Professor of Sociology) received the Recognition for Innovation in Teaching Award this fall.

This new recognition for Innovative Instructors came out of a taskforce that was created to explore how to develop and promote innovative teaching at NDSU. Instructors from across campus noted there are many great things happening in our classrooms, and they wanted a way to recognize more of these efforts. The majority of the nominations came from Dr. Mataic’s students, which makes this recognition even more special. Congratulations to Dr. Mataic!

August Faculty Success Story: Dr. Kristen Fellows


Dr. Kristen Fellows was quoted in the Summer 2022 edition of American Archaeology. The article, “The Story of Marshall’s Pen,” examines the archaeological research being done at Marshall’s Pen, a 19th Century coffee plantation in Jamaica. Dr. Fellows has worked at this site for a number of years, taking students to participate in archaeological digs.  In the article she explains, “Marshall’s Pen ‘is by far one of the best documented [colonial-era] coffee plantations in the Caribbean,’ and the finds there ‘have helped widen our view of how these places operated and how enslaved people experienced them” (p. 42). 

An excerpt of the article can be accessed at:


Congratulations on a successful Student Research Day 2022!


On April 19, 2022, four undergraduates and two graduate students from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology presented their original research in front of the University community. Their work came from a variety of classes and projects and represented a diverse range of interests, including: care and disability during Covid-19, North Dakota Prohibition and flooding in the Red River Valley, and the “immoral madams” of Greensboro, NC. Anthropology professors Dr. Kristen Fellows and Dr. Ellen Rubinstein served as faculty mentors to the students.


Prairie Public Roundtable Discussion on Ukraine

March 9, 2022

Dr. Christopher Whitsel participated in a roundtable discussion on Ukraine on Prairie Public with two other NDSU faculty. You can listen to the discussion at the following link:


Department of Sociology and Anthropology’s First Research Day Event Held on March 2

With over 14 student posters, presentations from faculty, and an engaging networking lunch, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology had a fantastic Research Day. We had a high turnout of students, which helped make the event a success.

In addition to faculty presentations, undergraduate and graduate students presented posters, showcasing research they have done in their anthropology and sociology courses. We had three awards that students could win at the poster event. These included, Undergraduate Best in Show, Graduate Best in Show, and Students’ Choice. Best in Show awards were determined by faculty votes.  The Students’ Choice award was determined by the students who attended the event.  Below are the winners of those awards.

Research Day Student Poster Winners

  • Undergraduate Best in Show: Emma DuPont: “Every Body is a Rugby Body: The Effect of Rugby on Collegiate Women’s Body Image”
  • Graduate Best in Show: Magda Lopez Rodriguez: “Beyond Better: Undocumented During COVID-19”
  • Students’ Choice: Floyd Althoff: “Ekenier: The Land of Unyielding Sound—Making the Familiar Strange”

We also held a raffle for students who voted in the Students’ Choice award.  The raffle winners include: Emily Sjelin, Emily Vieweg, and Sara Flint.

Congratulations to all our winners! 

Red Cliff Field School Featured in Episode of “Human Powered”

July 30, 2021

Dr. John Creese’s collaborative work with the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is featured in the latest episode of Human Powered, titled, “The Power of Indigenous Knowledge.” Human Powered is a podcast produced by Wisconsin Humanities. 

In this episode, the host, Jimmy Gutierrez, traveled to the Red Cliff Reservation to learn more about a community archaeology project that is helping to reclaim and revitalize the deep history and culture of the Anishinaabe people—and training a new generation of scholars committed to centering indigenous knowledge. Listen to learn what they are doing to reclaim and revitalize the deep history and culture of their people—and to help train a new generation of scholars committed to centering indigenous knowledge.


NDSU Sociology Researcher Received Grants to Study the Impact of Routine Voter Roll Maintenance

June 28, 2021

NDSU assistant professor of sociology Dane Mataic has received two grants in collaboration with three researchers from Pennsylvania State University to study how the process of routine voter roll maintenance impacts individual voters. The first, a $283,053 collaborative grant from the National Science Foundation, and the second, a $97,000 grant from the Russell Sage Foundation, will result in a public database of voter maintenance policies for every state as well as an assessment of voter registration inequality.



Anthropology Major Poster Presentation Wins Honorable Mention at 2021 NDSU EXPLORE Showcase of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity

April 23, 2021

Anthropology major Helen Wax was awarded an honorable mention for her poster presentation, “The Cost of Death in the Upper Midwest: An Ethnographic Analysis of the American Funeral Industry,” at NDSU EXPLORE, a virtual event held during Undergraduate Research Week, April 19-23. Her work was also recognized as being among the top presentations in the category of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Education, and Business. Helen’s poster was based on research she completed in Dr. Ellen Rubinstein’s Ethnographic Research Methods class in Fall 2019. This research examined how local commercial funeral workers interact with grieving families, how the development of skilled funeral labor has altered the public’s relationship to the dead, and ultimately how funeral industry professionals perceive their work. Congratulations, Helen!


Sociology Club Wins Bison Leader Award

The Sociology Club has won the Non-Service based award for the Bison Service Challenge.  The NDSU Bison Service Challenge was created to promote service throughout NDSU. The program is a friendly competition among campus groups including athletic teams, fraternity and sorority life, residence halls, and student organizations. Throughout the year, members in each category compete to complete the most service hours. The hours are submitted to the Volunteer Network. Winning teams receive recognition at the Bison Service Challenge Award Ceremony at the end of each academic year.  This year, the Bison Leader Awards Ceremony starts at 5:30pm on April 28th in the Memorial Union - Plains Room.  

The Sociology Club is led by President Delaney Halloran under the leadership of Dr. Leretta Smith. 

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