Current Board of Directors
President (May 2019–May 2021) Sarah Walshaw is a Senior Lecturer at Simon Fraser University, where she teaches African history and food history. Her research examines non-mechanized farming systems in eastern Africa, past and present, through palaeoethnobotany, oral history, archival documents, and ethnoarchaeology. Sarah’s primary research sites are in coastal Tanzania, where Swahili communities bridge(d) local practices of food production and trade with the Indian Ocean world, and adopted Asian plants and Islam. Her dissertation research was published in 2015 as a BAR monograph: “Swahili Urbanization, Trade and Food Production: Botanical Perspectives from Pemba Island, Tanzania, 700-1500AD.” Sarah enjoys learning from her teachers and students, in Tanzania and Canada, and is interested in pursuing educational and advocacy programs while on the Society of Ethnobiology Board. She also looks forward to building connections with scholars in related fields and organizations while on leave in the UK in 2018.
Vice President/President Elect (May 2019–May 2021) Elizabeth Olson earned her doctorate degree in Anthropology from Case Western Reserve University in 2009, and is currently Associate Professor of Anthropology at Southern Utah University, located in Cedar City, UT. She has conducted fieldwork in the USA, Mexico and Bolivia. Her doctorate research tackled questions about the constitution and distribution of indigenous ethnobotanical knowledge in west-central Mexico. She has used a blend of qualitative and quantitative approaches to study traditional ecological knowledge of medicinal plants and relate it to the processes of community development and community-based conservation. Currently, her research agenda is focused on the role of botanical knowledge in ethnomedical systems in Western Europe, the USA and Mexico. Liz is also very engaged in food and health sovereignty movements which she integrates in many of her classroom-based projects.
Treasurer (May 2014–May 2020) Denise Glover is an ethnobiologist of the socio-cultural anthropology ilk. Her research has focused on medicinal plant classification in Tibetan medicine and the changes within that classificatory system as it relates to shifts in ideas about natural kinds. She has also examined cultural productions about natural and socio-cultural environments (among British botanists in SW China, for example), and has facilitated conference panels (and publications—within SoE but also outside of it) on issues of medicinal plant commodification and conservation. She was SoE Conference Coordinator from 2009-2013. She teaches anthropology and Asian Studies (courses include Cultural Anthropology, Asian Medical Systems, Indigenous Peoples, Environmental Anthropology, and Linguistic Anthropology) at the University of Puget Sound, where she has been since 2008.
Secretary (June 2018–May 2021) Jade d’Alpoim Guedes is an environmental archaeologist and ethnobiologist who employs an interdisciplinary research program to understand how humans adapted their foraging practices and agricultural strategies to new environments and have developed resilience in the face of climatic and social change. She employs a variety of different methodologies in her research including archaeobotany, paleoclimate reconstruction and computational modeling. Dr. d’Alpoim Guedes’ primary region of focus is the Tibetan Plateau, where she directs an interdisciplinary fieldwork project in the Jiuzhaigou National Park in Western Sichuan. She has worked extensively in China, but also has interests in Nepal, Thailand and Pakistan. Dr. d’Alpoim Guedes also works closely with crop scientists to preserve and promote the use of landrace crops. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego where she mentors undergraduate and graduate students in her laboratory.
Board Members at Large
Publications Liaison (May 2017–May 2020) Chelsey Geralda Armstrong is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of archaeology at Simon Fraser University. She works and lives in Northwest British Columbia where she applies ethnobiological theory and method to archaeological practice. Along with her Tsimshian and Gitxsan collaborators, Chelsey studies the cultural landscapes of the Skeena watershed. In particular, she explores the timing and extent of ancient forest management practices that resulted in remnant forest gardens found at archaeological sites today. Chelsey has been a member of the Society for 8 years, previously served as the website and social media coordinator, she is a Barbara Lawrence award recipient, and considers the Society to be her intellectual home. In her new position as publications liaison, she works with JOE and EBL editors to broadcast our great publications to the world.
Promotion and Outreach Coordinator: Publicity and Community Engagement (March 2019–May 2022) Kali Wade is the Lab Supervisor in John (Mac) Marston's Environmental Archaeology Laboratory at Boston University. Kali's primary role is facilitating research objectives for the projects in and out of the lab, which range in professorial, graduate, and undergraduate in scope. The research is focused on archaeobotanical materials and includes seeds, plants parts, wood charcoal, phytoliths, and starch primarily from archaeological sites across the world. Kali's own research pertains to phytoliths and she is currently investigating Near Eastern agricultural and funerary practices from two sites in modern day Israel. Kali has been involved in the Society of Ethnobiology for two years and hopes that through social media, we can continue sharing scientific literature, activist events, and the happenings of the Society in a light-hearted, enjoyable way. Feel free to email Kali with requests or ideas for Community Engagement or social media at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Promotion and Outreach Coordinator: Membership and Development (May 2018–2021) Daniela Shebitz is an Associate Professor at Kean University in New Jersey. She is a plant ecologist who researches the effects of land management on culturally and ecologically significant plants. She collaborates with local people to restore those plants and ecosystems which defined the region. Daniela serves as the Program Coordinator of Environmental Biology and Sustainability Sciences at Kean and she teaches courses in Field Biology, Conservation Biology, Medicinal Botany, Environmental Science, and Sustainability. She works with students on research in sites ranging from the urban parks of Union County and the wetlands of the New Jersey Pine Barrens to the rainforests of Costa Rica. She currently serves as the PI on a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant that investigates the effects of land management on diversity and ecosystem function in Costa Rica. Daniela first became involved with SoE in 1999 and is truly honored to be part of the SoE board.
Promotion and Outreach Coordinator: Student Engagement (May 2019–May 2022) Sam Bosco is a PhD student in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrated Plant Science at Cornell University, where he studies the intersection of sustainable agricultural and social justice through the case study of nut tree-based agroforestry in NYS. His PhD dissertation research examines the past, present, and future role of nut trees in both Indigenous and non-native communities through paleoethnobotany, ethnography, archival documents, agricultural experiments, as well as surveys and interviews. With community engagement as a core methodology, his collaborative projects with NYS nut growers and the Tuscarora Nation leverages research for advocacy.
Web and Social Media Liaison (interim) Annalee Sekulić is a research assistant in Dr. Joy McCorriston’s Near Eastern Archaeology and Archaeobotany Laboratory (NEAAL) Laboratory at Ohio State University. Annalee’s current undergraduate thesis is focused on analyzing packrat and hyrax middens to understand as proxies for ancient vegetation. She uses her data reconstructing the flora in archeological contexts within southern Oman. Since 2019, Annalee enjoys working with the Society of Ethnobiology to bridge the divide between academic and general audiences through social media. Feel free to email Annalee with requests or ideas for social media at firstname.lastname@example.org
Undergraduate Ethnobiologist Award Winner (May 2019–May 2020) Syndney Hunter is an undergraduate at Boston University studying archaeology with a focus on paleoethnobotany. Her current research focuses on the development of agricultural strategies in Central Asia using both micro and macrobotanical remains. Her undergraduate thesis examines early agriculture in the ancient city of Kath, Uzbekistan during a time of agricultural and economic transition. She hopes to attend graduate school in the near future to study agricultural sustainability and the role of trade networks throughout Central Asia in the historic periods. Sydney plans to apply her studies of sustainability in desert climates in the past to help modern societies adapt to climate change in the future. Through her position, Sydney hopes to make the Society of Ethnobiology more accessible to undergraduate students and to connect students with mentors to facilitate new opportunities for research within the field of ethnobiology.
Appointed Board Positions
Conference Coordinator Liz Olson earned her doctorate degree in Anthropology from Case Western Reserve University in 2009, and is currently Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Southern Utah University, located in Cedar City, UT. She has conducted fieldwork in the USA, Mexico and Bolivia. Her doctorate research tackled questions about the constitution and distribution of indigenous ethnobotanical knowledge in west-central Mexico. She has used a blend of qualitative and quantitative approaches to study traditional ecological knowledge of medicinal plants and relate it to the processes of community development and community-based conservation. Currently, her research agenda is focused on the role of botanical knowledge in ethnomedical systems in Western Europe, the USA and Mexico. Liz is also very engaged in food and health sovereignty movements which she integrates in many of her classroom-based projects.
Awards Coordinator Ashley Blazina is an ecologist who examines how different cultures interact with and manage the ecosystems they live in. She is particularly interested in how these differences affect restoration and land management decisions, both on a regional and global scale. Previously a full-time writer and editor, Ashley has recently become more interested in the "linguistics of place," or how various cultures describe plants, patterns, and activities on a landscape. Ashley received her M.Sc. in Environmental and Forest Sciences with a concentration in ethnoecology at the University of Washington. Ashley previously taught in the University of Washington's Environmental Studies department, but is currently a full-time research scientist at the university, where she is examining how fire suppression/lack of anthropological burning affect current fire risk and land management.
Graduate Ethnobiology Research Fellowships Coordinator Scott Herron is serving at the coordinator of the Graduate Ethnobiology Research Fellowships.