Penn State Anthropology welcomes all people, regardless of gender, color, nationality, religion or sexual orientation. Each of our faculty can be approached personally for help or guidance, and our department can be thought of as a safe place for all people.

Diversity is not only central to anthropological research, it also benefits us all in our daily lives. Research has shown that diverse environments promote greater creativity and cognitive complexity, as well as comfort, compassion, trust, and respect. As is reflected in the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts statement on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, we strive to increase diversity and fully include members of underrepresented groups among students, staff, and faculty. We are committed to creating an inclusive departmental climate that values a broad range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives—and to cultivate these values in our students.

Diversity-Related Research

We conduct research on a broad range of topics relevant to diversity, including research on cultural differencesgenetic ancestrygender and sexuality. More information can be found on our Research page. Check out Professor Nina Jablonski’s TedTalk ‘Skin color is an illusion’”

Heather Self
Heather Self works with Drs. Puts and Shriver to understand the genetic and hormonal mechanisms underlying variation in sexual orientation and other aspects of sexuality.
McNair Scholar Jason Bundy. Jason completed his thesis research on sexual selection on the human voice in the lab of Dr. David Puts.
Bianca Gentil is a Bunton-Waller Fellow studying Late Classic Maya political infrastructure under the supervision of Professor Ken Hirth.

Student Funding Opportunities

Our graduate and undergraduate students have been funded on diversity initiatives, such as the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program for undergraduate students and Bunton-Waller Graduate Awards Program. These programs provide undergraduate and graduate scholarships, mentorship and professional development opportunities to members of underrepresented groups in order to foster academic excellence and support the development of successful careers in and beyond academia.

International Students and Scholars

We welcome international students and post-graduate research assistants, postdoctoral researchers, and visiting scholars. Find more information about university policies and requirements for incoming foreign nationals here.

Usmanu Danfodiyo University (Nigeria) Ph.D. candidate Muhammad Musa with host Professor Joan Richtsmeier

SAFE Committee

This committee serves as the cornerstone of our departmental efforts to promote inclusivity in anthropological fieldwork by fostering a climate of mutual respect, cultural sensitivity, freedom from discrimination, and safety from sexual harassment, assault, and gender-based misconduct. Important outcomes of the SAFE Committee’s work are the PSU Anthropology Goals and Expectations for Field Experiences document and the PSU Anthropology Field Reference Guide, which have served as models for similar efforts in other departments across the country.

Department Field Safety Coordinator: 

Student Resource Officers: 

SAFE Committee: Faculty – PJ Perry, Joan Richtsmeier

Graduate Students – Richard Bankoff, Nadia Johnson, Raining Wang, Julie White