The Daris Swindler Endowed Fellowship in Biocultural Anthropology supported its first two graduate students this winter – Jerusha Achterberg and Kathy Wander.
Jerusha’s research examines the co-evolution of humans and infectious disease from a population-based evolutionary theory standpoint. The tools to study these topics seem to lie primarily at the intersection of anthropology, epidemiology and demography.
Kathy’s research investigates the development of the immune system and the early life environment among children in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. She’ll be leaving to do the final phase of data collection this spring.
A lovely reception marked the awarding of the fellowship. Guests included members of the Swindler family and many of the donors to the fellowship: Kathy Rantala Swindler (wife of the late Daris Swindler), Linda Venters (daughter of Daris) and her husband Wayne Venters, and Richard Pelman, lead donor and the individual dedicated to seeing a fellowship established.
In honor of Daris, we include a prose poem by Kathy Rantala Swindler about evolution and a book that Daris had discussed wanting to write.
He had been staring into his coffee when she noticed he was also smiling.
He was happiest when he had a plan.
“It would be a good book or a monograph,” he said. “Flat Feet. It would draw connections between Watson’s book, ‘Darwin: The Indelible Stamp,’ and people’s understanding of human anatomy; how to interpret the 'scars of human evolution’ – you know, the very non-useful things we have inherited like weak backs, tailbones and flat feet.”
It was Saturday morning and a fine, dense Seattle mist clung to the windows. While he continued to think, she listened to Brahm's Third Symphony on the radio. As the second movement was giving way to the third, the mist began to accumulate into drops and merge together with other drops and as they grew heavier and bigger and more complex they sagged and ran down the glass in wavy wet lines making a kind of curtain.
(From Traveling With the Primates)
The fellowship always welcomes donations. For those of you who are interested in making a contribution, visit our support page.