From Forensics to Family Bonds, Lab Provides Students the Opportunity for Hands-On Research into Humanity

HSU’s Biological Anthropology Research Center is dedicated to providing research experience for students. “Students in our program don’t just take a class,” laboratory founder Mary Glenn says. “What makes us so unique is that we have so many hands-on opportunities.”
“We’re trying to answer fundamental questions about why we are the way we are,” says Marissa Ramsier, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and lab Director. Current projects include research ranging from evolutionary medicine, comparative anatomy and forensics to ecology and conservation.
“We would lay out skeletons and I would help her do biological profiles of the remains,” says Ariel Gruenthal-Rankin, former student. “That kind of good, hands-on training is the best way to learn.” The next year, she landed an internship with the coroner’s office and began assisting with autopsies—an experience which ultimately helped Gruenthal secure a position as deputy coroner.
Students can also build the skills they’ll need after graduation to be successful in the community or graduate school. “Undergraduates don’t always have opportunities to get research experience,” Ramsier says. “At Humboldt, both undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to get involved, get experience, and even get published.”
Beyond the research and professional experience, students who utilize the Biological Anthropology Research Center have the opportunity to further explore their own love for Anthropology, cultures and humanity. Professors will even help develop research ideas based on a student’s interest.
“Everything we do teaches us about ourselves and our humanity,” Ramsier s