January 5, 2010
Twelve SMU undergraduate students dominated the pool of winners in a writing competition sponsored by the Center for Public Anthropology.
Nearly one-third of the winners from the approximately 2,175 entrants were SMU students, all enrolled in professor Carolyn Smith-Morris's “Introduction to Cultural Anthropology” class.
Smith-Morris credits the winning students with initiative and leadership in tackling the assigned topic: the request by the Yanomami, a forest-dwelling tribe in the Amazon rainforest, for the repatriation of relatives’ blood stored in research laboratories of prestigious institutions. Yanomami beliefs hold that deceased relatives can only die in peace when all their bodily parts, including blood, are ritually destroyed.
“The Center invites students to prepare short written arguments on a topic, the background reading for which is shared through the website,” Smith-Morris said. “Students are graded by anonymous peers through the website, and themselves evaluate the written pieces of three other students.”
The winning SMU students are Kathe Lee, Hillary Talbot, Kendall Moore, Emily Ciuba, Rebekah Boyer, Natalie Chao, Michael Canaris, Grace Ann Whiteside, Bethany Suba, Den Cralle, Hartley Mellick, and Charlene Dondlinger.
The winners for the fall semester were selected by peers in the center’s Community Action online community, which includes students from 28 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.
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