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Bethany Usher

PhD in Biological Anthropology
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Bethany Usher

Dr. Bethany Usher earned her PhD in Biological Anthropology from Penn State in 2000. She is the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education at George Mason University and a faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Mason. Prior to her appointment as Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, Bethany served as Director of the Students as Scholars program at GMU, where her leadership has transformed the program into a leading national hub of undergraduate research. Her success in promoting undergraduate research has led her to speak to international audiences about the importance of research opportunities for undergraduates. Her own research focuses on the bioarchaeology of cemeteries and burials, in order to understand past human health. Her research informs her popular classes “Humans, disease and death” and “Food and human evolution”. Bethany notes,

“While I was immersed in the technical aspects of my bioarchaeological research at Penn State, I had no idea how applicable the same models would be to understanding college students! The Anthropology program at Penn State taught me to use data to analyze human communities, appreciate human diversity, and to see populations through the lens of human ecology and evolution, which have been invaluable in every professional position I’ve held. Working with my fellow students and faculty reinforced the joy of exploring hard questions in anthropology, and I hope I’ve transmitted that enthusiasm to my students, too. I’m proud to say that I have my PhD from Penn State Anthropology!”

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