Student Spotlight

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Orientation 2019 students with balloons

The Student Spotlight highlights University Honors Program students for their hardwork, dedication, and passion to Southern Illinois University and the University Honors Program. The students are nominated by mentors, faculty, and/or other students for displaying impressive qualities during their time in the University Honors Program. These students particiapte in various activites including RSO's, research, volunteer opportunities, internships, and many more while doing great work in the classroom.;They are an essential part of SIU and the UHP!;

Current Student Spolight: Amanda Leppert-Gomes

Amanda Leppert-Gomes student spotlight Picture


This is Amanda Leppert-Gomes, a Senior Anthropology major with minors in Chemistry and Latino and Latin American Studies. She is currently the VP of the Undergraduate Student Anthropology Club and was the PMEL lead for Engineers without Borders' project for bringing clean water to a community in Jancko Marca Bolivia until this semester.  Outside of school, she enjoys hiking, taking ZUMBA classes, and hanging out with the wonderful people she has met at SIU.

This past summer Amanda conducted ethnographic fieldwork under the advisement of Dr. Roberto E. Barrios, the McNairs Scholars Program, and with funding from the REACH award and the Anthropology Department where she had student visitor status at CIESAS-Pacifico Sur. Her research in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico looked at the assumptions and social implications of green energy wind farm megadevelopment projects, and how inequity was produced through the way the negotiation process ensued. She also conducted field work as a research assistant for Dr. Roberto E. Barrios for his project with Dr. Antoinette Jackson from USF and their work for the University of the Virgin Islands for FEMA and VITEMA's 5 year hazard mitigation plan in the Virgin Islands this winter break. This project had applied objectives, and it hopes to work on confronting issues of community, resilience, and hazard mitigation among various groups on the islands.

She is looking forward to continue to work on these projects, presenting at the Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting this semester in Albuquerque, the CSAS Annual Meeting, and presentations on campus as she continues to analyze data. After SIU, Amanda wants to go to graduate school studying medical anthropology, although her work intersects various subfields such as anthropology of environment, energy, and development. Her goal is to become an activist scholar and continue to confront issues of inequity in society. Keep fighting the good fight, Amanda! Best of luck with grad school!