New Graduate Students

Chyna Lee

Chyna LeeB.A. in Anthropology, San Diego State University

Language Spoken: English (Native); Spanish (Intermediate); Portuguese (Novice)

Natural and Anthropogenic Disasters, Bioarchaeology, Historical Ecology and Sustainability, Human Impacts on Ancient Environments, Forensic Anthropology, Mortuary Practices, Museum Curation, Repatriation, Caribbean Anthropology, Latin American Studies, Warfare, Homeland Security, Boxing, Yoga, Cooking, Latin Ballroom Dancing.

Area of Expertise: Organization, Detail Orientation, Communication and more to be determined.

Past Research: N/A

Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. - Malcolm X

Nina Garcia 

Nina Garcia

B.A. in Anthropology, San José State University

Language Spoken: English


Archaeology, Travel, Video Games, Ethnographic Research, Music

Area of Expertise: Archaeology & Qualitative Research 

Past Research: N/A

If you see beauty in something, don't wait for others to agree.
- Sheriham Gamal

Juan Carlos Aguirre 

Juan Aguirre

B.A. Organizational Studies, Minor in Anthropology, San José State University

Language Spoken: English and Spanish 

My top interests are food, travel, music. My husband and I love to travel across the globe, and my top favorite cities, so far are Mexico City, Barcelona, and London. My expression of love is through food, cooking, and eating. I use cooking as a form of meditation and a method to get in tune with my ancestors and the universe. And, I love to pair the cooking experience with some salsa music or disco; or an excellent true-crime podcast. Finally, I love spending time with my dog Rocco, an 80-pound Staffordshire Terrier. 

Area of Expertise: Program Management, Program Development, Stakeholder Engagement, Fiscal Management, Grant Writing and Reporting, Fundraising, Impact and Evaluation, Research, Data Analysis.

Past Research:  Project Consultant, Queerifying Disaster Preparedness and Response, SJSU Spring 2022, Developed a formal proposal for an original organizational development project, Co-organized a small team to develop strategies to implement diversity, equity, and inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community in disaster response, Designed sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression training modules and needs assessment for disaster preparedness organization members through e-Learning, Proposed and was awarded the Laura Good Grant for Undergraduate Research. 

Sam Bass

Sam Bass

B.A. in Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz

Language Spoken: English

Food Culture, Travel, Hiking, Cooking, Mountain Biking, Maps, Trees, Old Cities, 90 Movies, Museums, and Cats. 

Area of Expertise: Writing/Editing and (Aspirationally) Economic Anthropology and Anthropology of Food.  

Past Research: Ethnographic Explorations of Housing, Homelessness, Gentrification, Bordering Practices, Market Ideology and Property in the greater Bay Area, Research on Regional and Immigrant Food Cultures as an assertion of (or challenge to) National Identities and Narratives. 

Perhaps wisdom... is realizing how small I am, and unwise and how far I have yet to go. – Anthony Bourdain

Ethan Kelley

Ethan Kelley

B.A. in Anthropology (Culture, Language, and Society), California State University, Sacramento

Language Spoken: English

Cultural Anthropology, Economic Anthropology, Globalization, Online Communities, Virtual Identities, Cryptocurrency, Cooking, Traveling, and Videogames. 

Area of Expertise: Cultural Anthropology, Qualitative Research, Virtual Spaces.

Past Research: Exploring Virtual Settings and Identities in Final Fantasy XIV, Assessing the Effects the Environment of Final Fantasy XIV has on the Development of Virtual Identities, Misinformation in Media: Digital Conflicts Among Nations.

Veronica Reyes

Veronica Reyes

B.A. in Anthropology, San José State University

Language Spoken: English 

 Music, Yoga, Running, Hiking, Mixologist, Anthropology of Addiction, Urban Planning. 

Area of Expertise: Cultural Anthropology, Qualitative research methods, interviewing.

Past Research: Effects of Cumulative Disasters of Social Support and Mutual Aid Among San Jose State Students during the Covid Epidemic. 

Never Give Up

Spencer Shook  


  B.A. in Anthropology from San Francisco State University 

  Languages Spoken: English (Native), French (Novice), and German (Novice)

Interests: Mesoamerican Archaeology, Cultural Anthropology, The Aztec Triple Alliance, The Maya, Teotihuacan, Cross- Cultural Interactions (and their influences on cultures), Ming China, Early Showa Japan, History, Fashion, Subculture (especially internet-based ones), Religion, Mythology, Virtual identities and their Construction, Foxes


Jonathan Santaella 

Santaella B.A. in Anthropology from San Jose State University  

 Language Spoken: Spanish (Fluent), English (Fluent), and   Japanese (Novice)

 Interests: My interests include cultures, languages, and food. Passionate about the sociocultural structure in restaurant and bars. I have a strong interest in forensic anthropology as well and love to learn about traditionsm and rituals revolving around death across cultures.

Past Research: Mosaic America Virtual Atlas


Jario Ivan Rosas Heredia 


 B.A. in Anthropology from San Jose State University

 Languages Spoken: English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese

 Interests: Hiking, basketball, soccer, video games, traveling, stadiums, climate change, disasters, fan culture, food, history

 Places Traveled: Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, France, England, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Chech Republic, Vatican, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Macau, Hong Kong


Sammer Abu Alragheb 

Abu Al Ragheb B.A. in Film & Digital Media from California State University
Los Angeles, A.A. in Journalism from Cabrillo Community  College 

Languages Spoken: English (Native), Arabic (Native), and French (Novice)



Interests: Ethnography Archaeology/Underwater & Maritime Archaeology. History of the Golden Age of Piracy, swimming, video games, history of the Transatlantic Slave Expansion, classical music, black metal, death metal, thrash metal, heavy metal, philosophy (ethics,) guitar, bio-anthropology, screenwriting, filmmaking, film production, chess, human behavior (condition), storytelling, Egyptian, Greek & Norse
myth, & socializing with ones community

Places Traveled: Jordan, had the opportunity to visit many ancient cities and historical sites, including but not limited to Petra, Jarash, Roman Theater, Temple of Hercules in the Citadel, Qasar al Mashatta (Winter Castle) the Kharana, Castle, Aqaba. Sinai Peninsula. The Red Sea. Channel Islands.

Past Reasearch: Ethnography on the homeless population ethnography on story and characters for a historical film, archaeology on a neolithic manufacturing (chert) site c. 8k BC.


Aaron Horwitz 


B.A. in Behavioral Science, San Jose State University

Languages Spoken: English

Interests: Health and fitness, music, Lego, philosophy, travel

Places Traveled: 35 U.S. States, Mexico, Belize, Peru, Japan, Canada, Israel

Past Research: Assessing the impact technology has on                                                      social anxiety

Chloe Nguyen 

Chloe Nguyen B.A. in Behavioral Science from San Jose State University

Languages Spoken: Vietnamese and English

Interests: Archaeology, Forensic Anthropology, Cultural
Anthropology, Economic Anthropology, Vietnamese
Cultures and History

Places Traveled: Vietnam, Thailand, and Hawaii

Past Research: Effects of Cumulative Disasters of Social
Support and Mutual Aid Among San Jose State Students
during the Covid Epidemic

Elizabeth "Lizza" Popova 

popovaB.S in Marketing, San Diego State University. Minors in Interdisciplinary Studies and French

Languages Spoken: Russian, English, French (Intermediate), Spanish (Beginner)

Interests: Medical and business anthropology, political economy, healthcare management and finance, ethics, health and femme tech, comparative governmental studies, aquascaping, terrariums, botany, and mycology.

Places traveled: North and Central America, Europe, Balkans, Eurasia, Macaronesia.

Past Research: Regional Market Demand for Second-hand and Thrift Stores in San Diego (not published)

Mayela Sanchez 

Mayela SanchezB.A. from San Jose State University; A.A. from De Anza College / Foothill College

Languages Spoken: Spanish, English

Interests: I like to go foraging and learn about state parks. I travel often to be exposed to new environments. I enjoy, reading, gaming, and going to museums.

Places Traveled: Mexico, Nicaragua, Grenada, Dominican Republic, England, Denmark, Ireland, France, Belguim, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, Greece, and parts of the United States outside of California.

Past Research: I have been a part of the Los Altos History Museum's Oral History Committee's research into their oral history archives for digital archiving.I participated in the 2023 Colfax Lime Kiln Site archelogical field school with Dr. Meniketti to uncover any artifacts of human habitation.