Hello HUBI alumni,
Greetings from hot and steamy summer in Bloomington. I hope this newsletter finds you well and flourishing in whatever pursuits you have been engaged in since graduation.
All is well in the Human Biology Program here at IU. We continue to thrive with over 500 majors, who we are able to accommodate by offering the full suite of Human Biology courses each semester. Core course topics included the relationship between human biology and climate change, empathy, the irrational mind, exercise and cancer, current trends in infectious disease, tuberculosis, and pregnancy and gestation. This coming year I will again offer HUBI B-150, our only non-majors course. A new topic this time: “what is “normal” human biology?”. I am very interested in how cultural norms about what human biology “should” be (e.g. body size, color, diet, etc.) are related to the statistical distributions of these traits in a population. My graduate student Jennifer Cullin (who some of you had as an AI in HUBI-B 200 or HUBI-B 300) and I received a grant from the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to hold a scholarly workshop on this topic in Fall 2019, and the topic fits well with my ongoing work on milk consumption and its effects on human biology and life history.
A highlight of this past academic year was that I was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS is the world's largest multidisciplinary scientific society and is dedicated to “advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people.” Best known for publishing the journal Science, it is also a major advocate for science education and science-based public policies. Fellows are elected by their peers in recognition of their contributions to science in a number of areas (e.g. research, education, communication, technology, etc).
In terms of non-academic pursuits, this past fall I was fortunate to be able to hike the West Highland Way in Scotland. Long distance walking is one of my favorite activities, and doing it amidst stunning scenery makes it all the more enjoyable. There are many long distance walking routes in the United Kingdom and I look forward to exploring more of them. Over winter break I spent some time in Joshua Tree National Park in California and at the coast in San Diego. This past week I returned from a trip to Colorado, where I did a lot of hiking around Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. I head west again in August to backpack with my sister in the Tetons!