Two UNLV students were recently selected as Fulbright scholars to study and teach overseas.
Cheryl Anderson, a doctoral student, is heading to Turkey to study skeletonized human remains for clues on health inequalities among the people of Anatolia. Bradley Davey, an undergraduate majoring in German, will teach English to students in Germany. They will each spend nine months abroad as cultural ambassadors as part of Fulbright’s mission for students and young professionals.
Looking to skeletal remains for clues on human health
At the excavation site of Kaman-Kalehöyük situated southeast of Ankara, the capital of Turkey, there are stories of how the ancient people of Anatolia lived and worked. It’s at this site where for the last three years, Cheryl Anderson – a doctoral student of anthropology – has been uncovering their lives through the examination of skeletal remains.
“Cheryl Anderson is particularly interested in the unfolding of human history as it relates to inequalities and how that is connected to poor health and early death. These are relevant questions for the ancient world, but have importance in thinking about the contemporary world as well,” said Debra L. Martin, a UNLV Lincy Professor of Anthropology. “Her research in Turkey will investigate a community that was undergoing interesting shifts in political-economy and subsistence and so may reveal how humans adapt and survive during periods of cultural change.”
Anderson, who already holds a UNLV master’s degree in bioarchaeology, will carry out the research for her thesis under the mentorship of Martin and Levent Atici, a UNLV anthropologist who studies in Turkey and introduced Anderson to the Kaman-Kalehöyük site.
“One of things I like about being an archaeologist is having the opportunity to directly examine the past through the materials uncovered in the present,” Anderson said. “When I am examining bones from an archaeological project, I am aware that I am studying people who lived thousands of years ago. It is really exciting to learn about these individuals and try to reconstruct what their lives were like.”
Fluent in string theory and German
Translating a 300-page German novel into English is not an easy task, nor is analyzing the microbial structure of clouds, water and snow to understand the Earth’s atmosphere. Yet, for Bradley Davey, a UNLV Honors College student, the combination of his love for the German language and science is just chemistry.
Davey, an undergraduate German major, is graduating this month with a 4.0 grade point average. He started his academic career at the age of 21, first entering College of Southern Nevada and then UNLV, where he enrolled in chemistry and pre-med classes. He has conducted studies with mentors from the Desert Research Institute, though it was an introductory German language class that set his future on a different path.
He struck friendships with German exchange students at UNLV and participated in a study abroad program in Germany where he lived with a host family and taught English to at-risk students.
"Bradley Davey is truly what we traditionally refer to as a Renaissance man. He is as comfortable with organic chemistry as he is with the translation of German poetry. The combination is rare and inspiring,” said Marta Meana, dean of the UNLV Honors College.
Davey is currently laying the foundation of his next chapter in life by working with The Lincy Institute at UNLV on educational policy matters – issues close to his heart because he feels someone encouraged him to take the leap to pursue academics even when odds were stacked against him.
At age 5, Davey lost his father to suicide. He had an admittedly difficult relationship with his mother, and at age 16 he dropped out of high school and was on his own. He had already faced obstacles in his personal life that could have easily set him back further. It was with encouragement from UNLV alum Kyle George, a friend and neighbor, that Davey went back to school.
Davey is a part of a select group who will participate in a special Fulbright diversity program aimed at giving non-English speaking students a perspective on American culture, education, and politics.
“I avoided college for a few years, not because I didn’t want to attend, but because I just didn’t think I could do it. A lot of students from my background feel the same way,” Davey said. “I can share my story to say that any student can feel a sense of not belonging, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can do this. Your past doesn’t define you.”
About The Fulbright U.S. Student Program
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide. Fulbright U.S. Student alumni populate a range of professions and include ambassadors, members of Congress, judges, heads of corporations, university presidents, journalists, artists, professors, and teachers. Approximately 325,400 Fulbrighters, 122,800 from the United States and 202,600 from other countries, have participated in the Program since its inception more than 60 years ago.
UNLV is a doctoral-degree-granting institution of more than 27,000 students and 2,900 faculty and staff. Founded in 1957, the university offers more than 220 undergraduate, master's and doctoral degree programs. UNLV is located on a 332-acre campus in dynamic Southern Nevada and is classified in the category of Research Universities (high research activity) by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.