Anthropology Conference & Student Participation

From May 3rd through May 5th, the HEE lab and their faculty advisor, Dr. Stacey Rucas, attended the California Workshop on Evolutionary Social Sciences (CWESS) 2024 Conference held at UCSB. Students who attended listened to diverse presentations exploring different topics that examined human behavior through an evolutionary lens. The HEE lab proudly presented two posters investigating comfort food-seeking behavior from an evolutionary perspective: “The Cultural Stickiness of Comfort Food” and “Craving Comfort: Stress Relief on a Plate.” Amidst the poster session, students seized the opportunity to connect with graduate students and faculty from various institutions, particularly those considering graduate school. Moreover, through being a part of the 2024 HEE Lab, students gained valuable hands-on experience conducting research, including project formation, data collection, analysis, presentation of findings at an academic conference, and working collaboratively in a group setting.

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 This group presented “The Cultural Stickiness of Comfort Food,” focusing on the sense of belonging and in-group versus out-group theory within the student population at Cal Poly in relation to comfort food. From left to right, this group consists of Leno Bertozzi, Joseph Leeman, Savanna Goodpaster, Ashley Pearce, Sophia Neal, and Cecilia Lozano.

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This group presented “Craving Comfort: Stress Relief on a Plate,” exploring the relationship between different stressors (social, economic, and environmental) among Cal Poly students and their influence on comfort food-seeking behavior rooted in evolutionary tendencies for individuals to seek quick energy sources in response to a perceived threat. From left to right, this group consists of Madeline Sickert, Jack Tierney, Zoe Miersma, Laura Elliott, A.J. Nicholson, Caroline Boer, Kendall Tarman, and Kylee Zinnen. 

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This picture shows the combined teams and the full Human Evolutionary Ecology (HEE) 2024 lab. From left to right, starting in the front row, are Madeline Sickert and Zoe Miersma. From left to right, the second row includes Kylee Zinnen, Cecilia Lozano, Leno Bertozzi, Laura Elliott, Caroline Boer, Sophia Neal, and faculty advisor Dr. Rucas. Lastly, in the back third row, we have Ashley Pearce, Jack Tierney, Savanna Goodpaster, A.J. Nicholson, Joseph Leeman, and Kendall Tarman.

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