"I feel incredibly fortunate to finally do a Ph.D. focusing on Forensic Anthropology, which is a field that I have been passionate about since my undergraduate degree."

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Student Profile: Marianna Cervantes

Archaeology PhD student in the Faculty of Environment

December 22, 2020
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I am a first-generation graduate student who took a non-traditional path, working for almost 15 years between my undergrad and graduate degrees. Part of that time was spent as an archaeologist and eventual permit holder in Northeastern BC. The rest was spent assisting at autopsies in my home province of NB, which I did while working on my Masters degree part-time. I feel incredibly fortunate to finally do a Ph.D. focusing on Forensic Anthropology, which is a field that I have been passionate about since my undergraduate degree. 

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

Several factors were involved in my decision to come to SFU. The SFU Archaeology department is one of the best in North America. With forensic anthropology being under the umbrella of this department, I was very optimistic. There is also the association of the archaeology department with the Centre for Forensic Research. The prospect of having academic research experience as well as practical experience was a deciding factor.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.

I am investigating how stress caused by marginalization impacts the development of the skeleton in childhood and the eventual shape of the adult skeleton. The impact of stress on skeletal variation has been largely overlooked in forensic anthropology. I hope to learn more about it, eventually improving the biological profile that all forensic anthropologists use to help identify remains.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

I most enjoy having the opportunity to do meaningful research that I am passionate about. It is made even better by being surrounded by other individuals with similar interests and goals, even in the current virtual environment.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?

I am a recipient of a SSHRC doctoral fellowship. This funding has been instrumental in having the ability to concentrate on my research and work while affording to live in the expensive Vancouver area.
I have also received departmental graduate funding and the Travel and Minor Research Awards. These awards are invaluable to me. They ensure my ability to attend conferences (when travel is safe) and defray research-associated costs.

Contact Marianna: marianna_cervantes@sfu.ca
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/mariannacervantes