Scholarships and Fellowships

Katherine MacCord (Anthropology)
Gates Cambridge Winner, 2009

MacCord is completing the Bachelor of Philosophy degree in Pitt's Honors College. She has been accepted into the Department of Biological Anthropology at the University of Cambridge's Churchill College, where she will pursue a Master of Philosophy degree in human evolutionary studies. Her two main areas of interest are environmental influences on growth and development as well as evolutionary theory, mechanisms, and process. In addition to pursuing future work in human evolution, MacCord plans to continue her previous research in juvenile osteology in the Duckworth Laboratory at Cambridge, where she plans to work on the complex effects of disease, malnutrition, and environment on skeletal growth.

“Ms. MacCord has blossomed into one of the brightest and most inquisitive students-undergraduate or graduate-I have had the pleasure of teaching and advising in my 35 years at the University,” said Jeffrey Schwartz, Pitt professor in the Departments of Anthropology and History and Philosophy of Science and president of the World Academy of Art and Science.

Under Schwartz's guidance, MacCord has conducted independent research on the human skeleton, questioning anthropologists' long-held tenet that the presence of disease and malnutrition in children retards their skeletal growth. In her research, MacCord has explored the effects of environment and disease on bone growth to determine the exact nature of a connection, and she has conducted an analysis of renowned osteological collections at three natural history museums on three separate continents. Her research shows that disease and malnutrition do not significantly retard growth.

MacCord served as a teaching assistant (TA) in Schwartz's human skeletal course, a position she held for two years; she was the only undergraduate to ever have been a TA in the anthropology department. She received the Chancellor's Undergraduate Research Fellowship, a Brackenridge Fellowship, the Chancellor's Undergraduate Teaching Fellowship, and a University Honors College Research Grant, all in 2007; a United States Steel Foundation, Inc., Undergraduate Research Award, a Berner Fellowship, and an International Studies Fund Grant, all in the summer of 2008; and a Berner Fellowship for the 2008-09 school year.

A member of Pitt's undergraduate Anthropology Club, MacCord has helped to organize field trips to local archeological sites. She has been a speaker and member of the undergraduate teaching panel at Pitt's Experiential Learning Fair, a program of the Office of Experiential Learning in Arts and Sciences held to stimulate undergraduate interest in teaching and research. MacCord also lectures for Pitt's High School Apprenticeship Program.

Not only interested in academia, MacCord calls herself “a confirmed film nut.” She regularly attends the opera and musical theater, writes humorous poetry, and enjoys completing daily crossword puzzles, knitting, and baking.

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