Katie Kurtessis
2013 Valene Smith Winner – First Place

smith_kurtessis.jpgKatie Kurtessis is a M.A student of cultural anthropology at SUNY Albany. She graduated in 2011 with a B.A in International Relations and a B.A in Spanish from Roanoke College in Virginia before moving to Piura, Peru for a year to teach and research at the Universidad de Piura. The research she collected in Piura suggests that the pre-existing social relationship and perceptions between the host community and the tourist will determine the ability for tourism to develop. She hopes to pursue these findings further to understand how prior political conflict will affect the type of tourism that can be developed. The overall basis for her research is community-based tourism as an alternative to economic development in the neoliberal world. She will complete fieldwork for her master's thesis this summer in southern Nicaragua with a goal of creating a model for tourism that is socially and economically sustainable for the community.


Suzanna Pratt
2013 Valene Smith Winner – Honorable Mention

smith_pratt.jpgSuzanna Pratt is a 2013 graduate of the University of Notre Dame where she received a bachelor's degree in Anthropology and Peace Studies. During the summer of 2011, she travelled to southern Albania to participate in faculty-led archaeological research and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Butrint National Park. During the summer of 2012, she returned to the same site to carry out independent research about the impact of the site on local communities. The resulting interviews with individuals from five nearby towns provided the basis of an honors thesis examining local opinions about Butrint and activities related to the management of the cultural heritage site in order to provide a new perspective on the relationship between heritage management and local communities. Suzanna is spending the summer of 2013 excavating at Butrint and will be pursuing an M.A. in Applied Anthropology with and Archaeology track at the University of South Florida this fall. She hopes to ultimately pursue a career in cultural resource management.


Nicolas Rasiulis
2013 Valene Smith Winner – Honorable Mention

smith_rasiulis.jpgI grew up in Ottawa, Canada’s national capital, but my Québécois roots brought me frequently into ‘la Belle Province’. As a teenager, I became genuinely myself along canoe expeditions with a non-profit summer camp in Quebec. My genuine self transformed the way in which I live in both bio-diverse and anthropo-emphatic places. I live always in Nature, the living world, and feel the landscape with empathetic attunement of perceptual awareness.

I have been guiding teens along expeditions since I was seventeen years old. During the months of July and August, 2012, I conducted autoethnographic fieldwork along a twenty-seven day canoe expedition in Quebec. I am currently completing an undergraduate honours in sociocultural anthropology. In September, 2013, I begin my masters at the University of Ottawa, with which I will further explore canoe-camping’s transformative features and potentials.