Catherine Miller, Guarini


What do you consider your hometown? 
I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

Where did you earn your undergraduate degree and what was it in?>I attended Indiana University and received a degree in Biology. 

What is your graduate degree in? 
I am part of the Ecology, Evolution, Environment, and Society graduate program. 

What is your area of research? What inspired you to pursue this research? 
I am a biological anthropologist interested in human evolution. I am particularly interested in the evolution of upright walking.

I originally became not only interested in, but aware of, anthropology after taking an introductory course my freshman year of college. In the human evolution section of this course, my professor displayed a number of skull casts of our fossil human ancestors. I vividly remember these skull casts and my immediate fascination with them. Having not given much thought to our evolutionary history before, I was suddenly curious about the various ancestral species that preceded modern humans.

As a junior in college, I participated in a field school in the famous paleoanthropological site of Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania where I gained first-hand experience in human fossil research. This experience solidified my interest in human evolutionary study. From there, I continued to explore courses in human evolution, ultimately refining my interest specifically in human fossil research and later the evolution of our unique mode of locomotion.  

What does it mean to you to receive the award? 
I genuinely love talking about my research, whether it's with people within my discipline or outside of it. Part of this enjoyment stems from being able to talk with others about a topic that concerns every one of us as my research interests lie with our shared evolutionary history as humans. I am grateful to receive this award because it means that I was able to communicate my research clearly and effectively and, hopefully, generate excitement around the evolution of our species.

Why did you choose Dartmouth for your degree?
My primary reason for choosing Dartmouth for my graduate degree was to work with my advisor Dr. Jeremy DeSilva. Not only were his research interests in line with my own, but his successful research career and open-minded approach to science were both attributes of the mentorship I was looking for in my graduate career.

Outside of my specific research focus, I was drawn by the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of the Ecology, Evolution, Environment, and Society graduate program as well as its supportive community of faculty and graduate students. I was equally drawn by the beautiful setting and small size of the area in which Dartmouth is located. I've thoroughly enjoyed my time hiking, camping, kayaking, and just being outside here in the Upper Valley.   

What do you like best about Dartmouth? 
I really enjoy the people here at Dartmouth. The members of the EEES program are exceptional and I have found great support and friendship from my colleagues within the Anthropology department. Throughout my time here I have learned a lot about my specific field of interest as well as how to be a well-rounded scientist and successful science communicator. I credit the development of these skills to the community here at Dartmouth.