Each year, the Association of Graduate Anthropology Students (AGAS) is gifted the opportunity to organize something special, this being the Richard Frucht Memorial Lecture Series and Graduate Student Conference.
Founded in honour of the late Anthropology Professor Richard Frucht, this conference has been providing anthropology students with an outlet to showcase their current research being conducted within the Department of Anthropology for 11 years.
With this year’s conference falling under the theme of Archaeology, we were pleased to invite from the University of Wyoming and Director of the George C. Frison Institute, Dr. Todd A. Surovell. During his visit to Edmonton, Dr. Surovell delighted audiences with summaries of his research from across the globe. From the extinction of mammoths in North America to his recent ethnoarchaeological research on the Dukha reindeer herders of Mongolia, these presentations captivated our public audiences . With approximately 135 people in attendance at the Public Lecture on Wednesday night, Todd Surovell provided an excellent example for the public towards the valuable research that can be completed within the field of Anthropology.
Not only did our guest speaker impress audiences with incredible lectures, but he also played an active role within our student conference. Serving as a judge for all podium presentations, viewing all poster sessions, and taking the time to interact with our students and public audience, Todd Surovell went above and beyond what is typically offered by our guest speakers.
This year we were pleased to receive 43 presentations, which included 19 podium presentations, 22 posters, and 2 films. From middle stone-age tool industries to the evolution of Klingon species as seen on the television show Star Trek, these presentations highlighted the creativity and ingenuity of current University of Alberta Students. However, the conference is not limited only to students from the University of Alberta, and the 24th annual Frucht Conference also hosted presentations by visiting students from the University of Victoria, MacEwan University, and the University of Western Ontario.
New to this year’s conference, AGAS and the 50th Anniversary Committee hosted an Alumni Career Workshop designed to allow current students to ask questions with our panel of past graduates and representatives from outside institutions currently working within the field of anthropology. At this event, students were provided with great advice from University of Alberta Anthropology alumni Janelle Baker (McGill University), Darryl Bereziuk (Director of the Archaeological Survey Section, Alberta Culture and Tourism), and Kurtis Blaikie-Birkigt (Senior Archaeologist Tree Time Services). To round out this panel, our alumni were joined by our guest speaker Dr. Surovell, Dr. John W. Ives serving as panel moderator, Dr. Shabnam Dailoo (Athabasca University), and Christine Gertz (UofA CAPS Career Center). This collection of experienced individuals provided valuable insight towards what Anthropology students can do to prepare themselves for future employment after graduation.
Another addition to this year’s conference was the 50/50 raffle to raise funds for AGAS and the 50th Anniversary Committee.
In total $240 were raised with $120 of these funds going to our winner and current undergraduate, Julie Cork.
To bring the festivities to a close, we were pleased to announce the winner of the inaugural Bryan/Gruhn Award for Anthropology Research Excellence. The award has been created to honour the outstanding dedication to the Department of Anthropology by Dr. Ruth Gruhn, who is also one of our founding faculty members. With the highest-rated podium presentation score, Ph.D. Anthropology Student J. Jeffrey Werner became the first recipient of the Bryan/Gruhn Award for Anthropology Research Excellence .
With this year’s Richard Frucht Memorial Lecture Series and Student Conference behind us, we look forward to next year’s event and the interesting activities the theme of Socio-Cultural Anthropology will bring.
Andrew Lints and Aaron Coons,
24th Richard Frucht Memorial Lecture Series and Graduate Student Conference
Image 1 – Recent graduate Robert Gustas, MA'15 presenting his research during a podium session at the Frucht Conference.
Image 2 – Friday poster presentation session at the Frucht Conference.
Image 3 – Todd Surovell and his lecture on the Dukha Reindeer Herders of Mongolia.
Image 4 – The Alumni Workshop Panel (From Left: Christine Gertz (CAPS Career Center), Janelle Baker (McGill University), Darryl Bereziuk (Director, Archaeological Survey Section, Alberta Culture and Tourism), Dr. Shabnam Dailoo (Athabasca University), Kurtis Blaikie-Birkigt (Senior Project Archaeologist, Tree Time Services), Dr. Jack Ives (Workshop Moderator), and Dr. Todd Surovell (University of Wyoming)
Image 5 – Participating audience at the Alumni Career Workshop
Image 6 – Undergraduate student Emily Parsons (BA'16) and Chair of the 50Th Anniversary Committee Shirley Harpham selecting the winning ticket for the 50/50 raffle.
Image 7 – Ruth Gruhn presenting the Bryan/Gruhn Award for Anthropology Research Excellence to our winner Jeffrey Werner
Photographs Courtesy of Jen Hallson