2013 Spicer Winner
Isabella Chan is a dual-degree MA/MPH student in applied anthropology and public health at the University of South Florida. She received her BA in anthropology in 2008 from Georgia State University. Her research interests include maternal health, maternal decision-making, the political economy of health, health disparities, the Peruvian Andes, participatory action research, and social justice. Her master’s thesis research focuses on maternal decision-making regarding prenatal care and childbirth in several rural communities in the Peruvian Andes. As a part of her fieldwork, she conducted participatory action research workshops regarding the maternal experience and facilitated the production of community materials aimed at stimulating open conversation between health workers and the local community in an effort to improve care. This work also inspired the formation of a local women’s group that aims to continue with this and other issues uncovered during Isabella’s fieldwork. After completing her MA/MPH, Isabella plans to return to rural Peru to continue working with the women’s group and other community organizations and individuals regarding maternal health and other community-relevant issues.
2013 Spicer Winner
Amy Samuelson is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her dissertation, which explores environmentalism in the Republic of Moldova, is based on 14 months of ethnographic field research funded largely by a grant from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. It considers the diverse forms of environmentalism that have emerged in Moldova, including rural sanitation initiatives, nature conservation, and urban youth activism. It pays particular attention to the perceived and real divisions between older and younger generations of activists and between urban and rural areas in the context of environmental projects.
Amy has also conducted ethnographic research in Romania as a fellow at the New Europe College in Bucharest and with support from the Council for European Studies. Most recently she has focused on two environmental campaigns fighting the influence of foreign corporations on Romanian communities and local ecologies. One campaign targets a planned gold mine in Transylvania and the other aims to prevent the exploration and exploitation of shale gas reserves using hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in eastern Romania. Amy received her MA in anthropology from Colorado State University. Her master’s thesis examined conservation decision making by agricultural producers in South Dakota.