The WAGS (Western Anthropology Graduate Society) is a not-for-profit student organization dedicated to informing the membership about news and current events. WAGS was created to coordinate social and academic functions, and to foster opportunities for leadership, academic advancement, and professional development in the field of anthropology. The WAGS promotes greater student cohesion and communication, and helps to welcome and orientate new graduate students into the Department of Anthropology at Western.

There is no membership fee, however donations in support of WAGS activities are always welcome. WAGS  was created to benefit all full and part-time Masters and Doctoral students, as well as Postdoctoral fellows, registered with the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in the Department of Anthropology, and Anthropology faculty members.

Please visit our Events & Conferences page for news of upcoming WAGS events!

Meet the 2023-24 WAGS Executive!

Natalia Parra

Natalia Parra (She/her, Co-President) : Hey there, I'm Natalia, one of the new WAGS co-presidents! I'm rocking my second year as a Ph.D. student in sociocultural Anthropology and diving deep into the fascinating world of immigration and borders, with a spotlight on the enigmatic Darien Gap – that wild stretch between Panama and my homeland, Colombia. I love reading, swimming (my zen zone), dancing and travelling! I am also seriously passionate about politics and its impact on societies, taking that passion a step further this year as the co-president. My virtual and physical doors (3436) are always open! Feel free to shoot me a message or stop by, whether it's to chat about research interests, share your latest book recommendations, or just have a good ol' heart-to-heart. Twitter: @NataParraC

Emily Henry

Emily Henry (she/her, Co-President): Hi everyone! I’m Emily (but feel free to call me Em), and I am a second-year archaeology MA student. My research looks at Inuvialuit cultural heritage, how it is handled/accessed/digitized, and how best to move towards Inuvialuit heritage data sovereignty and governance. In my free time, I like painting, reading, listening to Taylor Swift,  going for walks, forcing my friends to play board/card games with me, and hanging out with my cat Stevie. Always down to be distracted from my work so reach out or swing by the office at any time!   

Ashley Ward

Dima Kassem (she/her, Outreach Committee Member): Hi everyone, I’m Dima, a second-year Sociocultural MA student. My research looks at complex and rare medical conditions that begin in childhood. I’m studying the social networks for Persons Living with a Rare Disease, their experiences within children’s hospitals and health systems, and their transitions from pediatric to adult health systems in Canada. So, I’m exploring the lives of individuals living with a rare disease and their family members who have received support from children’s hospitals and document how the support and relationships change after they transition into adult health services. In my free time, I love to cook and bake (always open to trying new recipes), draw, read, knit/crochet, go on walks, and play various sports. Looking forward to a great year!  

Blair Kingdon

Blair Kingdon (They/Them, First-Year Rep. Sociocultural): Hi I’m Blair, I am the sociocultural Anthropology first-year representative. I am in my first year as an M.A. student in sociocultural Anthropology, and I plan to write my thesis on local transportation norms and ideologies in London, ON, to help inform effective environmental activism and policy in the region. I enjoy hiking, running, cycling, canoeing, music, and baking in my free time. Feel free to stop by my office (3304), I love to chat about activism, the environment, politics, disability and health, art, or wildlife.  

Charmaine LovattCharmaine Lovatt (she/her, PhD Department Representative): Hi! I’m a second year PhD student with a bioarchaeological focus. My research interests include isotopic analysis of teeth, osteology and paleopathology. My PhD research will explore diet-disease linkages in the late- and post- Medieval populations from the Netherlands, to better understand the health of mothers and children. Before moving to London, I lived in BC working for a CRM archaeology company which allowed me to experience both commercial and forestry excavations. My academic career has led me to spend time living in England, where I completed my MSc, and in Nova Scotia, where I took part in a bioarchaeological excavation. I have moved around a lot in the last few years to say the least! 

Instagram: @charmainelovatt

Sarah BidinostiSarah Bidinosti (she/her, MA Department Representative): Hey everyone! I am a first year MA student in the Archaeology & Biological Anthropology stream. My research interests mainly revolve around bioarchaeology, paleopathology, violence & crime, societal structures & inequality, mortuary practices, and medical anthropology. I love film photography and spending time outside, whether it’s camping, hiking, snowboarding, or hanging out with my goats. Otherwise, I can be found with a good book & a chai latte in hand.   

Anonya TanchangyaAnonya Tanchangya (She/her, Director of Communications): “Gom Aago!” – Greetings in Tanchangya language. Hey everyone! I am Anonya, a first year MA sociocultural anthropology student. I am joining Western as an international student from Bangladesh. Let me tell you that this is kinda fun to me when I tell people that I am from Bangladesh and they tell me, “But you don’t look like one!”  To clear things up- I belong to an indigenous (Tanchangya, also my surname) community of the Chittagoong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh. That is why we look quite different from the other majority of Bangladeshi people. My research is basically on CHT indigenous women and their relationship with nature. In my free time, I love listening to Selena Gomez, painting, learning origami, watching random YouTube videos and also I am a big foodie!  

Ibtesum Afrin

Ibtesum Afrin (She/Her; TA Union Rep.): Hey folks! I'm Ibtesum, just returned from my fieldwork in the world’s largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh where the longest sea beach is also located. My research experience was incredibly enriching, and filled with eye-opening stories. Currently, I'm diligently working to translate these experiences into written narratives, amplifying the voices of the Rohingya community. Home and homeland are at the heart of my research, but they raise significant questions about humanitarianism, displacement, and the state. When I'm not in deep dissertation mode, I'm basically powered by sleep, memes, relaxing music, delicious food, and captivating stories. ✍🏽😴🤌🏽😃

& one more thing – this year, I'm your go-to person for all things TA union-related. If you have questions, work disputes, or just want to chat Drop me a line at iafrin@uwo.ca 

Maris SchneiderMaris Schneider (Outreach Coordinator): Hi! My name is Maris (she/her). I’m a second year bioarchaeology MA student from Calgary, Alberta. My research interests include mortuary archaeology, non-destructive/digital methods of archaeology, and osteology. My thesis will be focusing on CT scanning of Egyptian animal mummies. In my free time I enjoy reading, watching movies, baking, playing field hockey and golfing. Feel free to reach out at any time!


Maddie Hertz

Maddie Hertz (She/her, Outreach Coordinator): I’m a second year bioarchaeology PhD student. I completed my MA in Anthropology here at Western in March 2023. My thesis focused on the effects of long-term swimming on the relative distribution of muscle and fat in the upper and lower limbs. My PhD research focuses on the effects of aging as related to long-term activity patterns, again, namely in swimmers. I intend to CT scan female swimmers between the ages of 45 and 55 years old to examine their upper and lower limb bones compared to age-matched runners and a control group. Not only are women less represented in this type of research, but this is a key window in aging, as it is when bone loss begins to speed up and osteoporosis (which is especially prevalent in women) begins to set in. In my free time, I like to hike, play video games or board games, and go birdwatching. I’m excited about connecting with my community and working to provide experience-based anthropology opportunities and resources to more people. My office is in SSC 3308 so feel free to swing by and say hi! Email: mhertz3@uwo.ca 

Daniel AmackerDaniel Amacker (He/Him, First Year Representative): Hi there, I’m Daniel. I am a first year Archaeology and Biological Anthropology MA student, and my research interests include age estimation methods, dental analysis, and skeletal biology. In my free time, I love to go hiking, birdwatching, and really anything else involving nature! I also like to sketch and I am a big fan of horror movies, so feel free to give me recommendations! As first year representative, I am excited to get to know all of you and listen to any requests or concerns you may have. Please reach out either in person at SSC 3303 or at damacker@uwo.ca, or amackerdaniel on Instagram! 

Luis Melendez Guerrero Luis Meléndez Guerrero (He/Him, Social Science Grad Council Representative): Hi everyone! I'm Luis, a fourth-year Ph.D. student. My academic interest is focused on socio-state dynamics in extractive contexts, mainly in the Andes. My doctoral research is on the process of formalization of artisanal miners in the Peruvian Andes, with whom I conducted a collaborative ethnography for almost a year. I seek diverse perspectives by reading across different fields and topics. I love to explore. I love anthropology. Twitter: @luis_anthrope:

Kate WoodleyKate Woodley (Financial Director)




Katie BrentKatie Brent (SOGS Representative)




Kate MahoneyKate Mahoney ( GTA Union Representative)




Bryn James-CavanBryn James-Cavan (Outreach Committee Member): Hi everyone, I'm Bryn. I am in my first year of a master's in sociocultural anthropology. My research interests are in disability and caregiving. In my free time, I enjoy crocheting and playing video games. I joined outreach because I believe it is important for anthropological knowledge to be accessible to the general public. I'm excited to practice doing so!  Email: cjamesca@uwo.ca


Alexandre Mendes Cursino Alexandre Mendes Cursino (They/he, Outreach Committee Member): I’m a Kariri-Puri person born in Kúánãpará, also known as Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. I’m a member of the Indigenous resurgence Maraká’nã Village in Kúánãpará. I'm a PhD student in Sociocultural Anthropology at Western, and my research delves into humans and more-than-humans relations, and Indigenous Environmental Knowledge. I live on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak and Chonnonton peoples, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties, and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum. Email:amendesc@uwo.ca 

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