Today’s guest blog post is by Julie Lesnik (U Illinois at Chicago). Dr. Lesnik has volunteered to lead a program in the Anthropologists Back to School initiative. Her program will take place at The Field Museum. This new initiative seeks volunteers to lead and assist programs at various host sites throughout Chicago on Wednesday, November 20 from 9am to12pm. Share your passion of anthropology while giving back to this year’s host city – Chicago. Learn more about how you can participate in Anthropologists Back to School and register today!
I moved to Chicago from Ann Arbor, MI in 2011. I was very active in community outreach in Ann Arbor, especially regarding science education for young girls. I have not had a chance to get involved with a program yet here in Chicago, so the Anthropologists Back to School initiative is especially appealing to me.
I have spent the last two summers working on an archaeological project and field school in highland Peru. Working in Peru is a new endeavor for me, and I found the prehistoric cultures of the region absolutely fascinating. I am excited to co-chair the Ancient Americas program at the Field Museum this November and bring what I have learned about the dynamic history of this region to students of the Chicago Public Schools.
My research focus is on bioarchaeology; the analysis of human skeletal remains in archaeological contexts. One activity that students will be able to take part in includes taking measurements on replicas of skeletal materials and estimating the height of individuals. I will use this exercise to describe how growing up at high altitude affects the human body, not only through shorter statures, but also through adaptations to breathing effectively in low atmospheric pressures. I hope that students will walk away from this experience with a better understanding of human variation and adaptation.