Megan Bond Receives Prestigious Lambda Alpha Scholarship for Anthropology

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"First in the nation" is not an unattainable title for many students at the Robert E. Cook Honors College. Megan Bond accepted her anthropology degree with the knowledge that, as the sole recipient of the National Lambda Alpha Charles Jenkins Scholarship, she is well on her way to emerging as one of the top minds in her field.

distinguished achievement by reason of noteworthy contribution in the advancement of the study of anthropology.

"First in the nation" is not an unattainable title for many students at the Robert E. Cook Honors College. Megan Bond accepted her anthropology degree with the knowledge that, as the sole recipient of the National Lambda Alpha Charles Jenkins Scholarship, she is well on her way to emerging as one of the top minds in her field. The $5,000 scholarship is awarded to one graduating senior per year by Lambda Alpha, the only national honorary society for anthropology. Of all the students nominated by the organization's 165 chapters, Ms. Bond was selected as the candidate who most strikingly embodied Lambda Alpha's ideals. According to Megan, the scholarship is awarded to the student who has made the most "distinguished achievement by reason of noteworthy contribution in the advancement of the study of anthropology." She was nominated by IUP's Department of Anthropology in January, and what was billed to her as a "long shot" has now become a very notable reality.

As this year's scholarship winner, Megan will also be afforded the opportunity to publish an article-length manuscript of her original work in Lambda Alpha's journal. Her study focused on the process of adjustment for students from Bangalore, India who came to study at IUP.

"I did the study with the Indian students at IUP for my class in ethnographic research methods with Dr. Chaiken last fall," Megan explains. "I became interested in that population when I realized that I was surrounded by Indian international students around my home at Copper Beech. I saw that they formed an enclave for themselves in this neighborhood and decided to investigate the changes they were in the process of undergoing. I had the opportunity to use the skills I was learning in class and apply them in the community, discovering that human life is truly interesting everywhere you look."

Megan attributes much of her success to the many advantages that were available to her as an RECHC student. "I think that I got the award because of my experiences made possible by the enhancement fund," she says. "I had many plans and goals but little resources, and the enhancement fund provided me with the opportunity to achieve what I have. It helped me begin what I want to do for the rest of my life."

Megan's plans have literally taken her across the world. Many students in the Honors College take advantage of the Robert E. Cook Enhancement Fund, a blessing for students who, like Megan, want to reach beyond the pages of their textbooks to gain real-world experience in their fields. During her years at IUP, she participated in an ethnographic field school in Peru, a study abroad program in Valladolid, Spain, and the Anthropological Study Odyssey to Belize and Guatemala.

"I have found that experiences abroad not only prepared me to live in an increasingly global world, but they have helped me grow personally, intellectually, and professionally. I have only been traveling and working abroad for two years, but in that short period of time I have been able to live in different cultures and understand and apply what I have learned in anthropology classes. I never would have imagined that I could move overseas for months at a time, not knowing anyone or even really comprehending the language that is spoken there, and live and learn in the ways that I have. Professionally, my international experience has led to accomplishments both here an abroad. I have been able to complete independent research projects and present at a national conference. These addition to my education definitely contributed to my future and helped ensure that I would be admitted into graduate school," Megan says.

While many other undergraduates were doing their research through Google Scholar, Megan was quite literally up to her elbows in world cultures. This kind of experience is precisely what made her a strong candidate for the National Lambda Alpha Charles Jenkins Scholarship and what will sustain her through her doctoral studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She will be pursuing a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology with a concentration in Medical Anthropology starting this fall.

"I want to investigate the sociocultural, behavioral, economic, and political factors related to food, nutrition, and health, especially in Latin America. I am interested in Applied Anthropology (my undergraduate concentration), with which I can take what is learned about food, nutrition, and health and develop possible solutions in attempt to ameliorate problems related to health and nutrition. As part of my education at SMU, I was also given a research assistantship and a teaching assistantship. I want to continue research, develop programs that promote positive change, and teach at the university level to introduce students to anthropology and the worldview that I think goes along with it."

Megan's auspicious beginning suggests that Dallas will serve as her launching pad for many international and academic adventures to come.

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