Those of you who obsessively check our website will have noticed that we have had some new boardmembers join our crew, bringing our total number to 6! All are academics with a passion for both the Ancient Near East and public outreach - making them a perfect fit for our organization.
First up is Melina Seabrook, one of the recipients of our Summer Research Grants in 2019, and second-year Ph.D. student at Harvard University. She studies the changing relationship between humans and animals as urban centers develop. Her main research area is Mesopotamia, specifically in Southern Iraq, but she has also worked in Kenya and Northern Iraq. Her work incorporates zooarchaeological, spatial, micromorphological and isotopic analysis which allows for observations of shifting human-animal interactions at both a macro and micro scale. As well as the H.A.P.S. summer grant, she won an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Prize in 2019. Melina's recent blog post, "A Deafening Absence", highlights the struggles of being a Black student in a predominantly white field.
Second is Dr. Moudhy al-Rashid, possibly the most famous Assyriologist on Twitter, and an all-round excellent person. Moudhy's Ph.D. from the University of Oxford, and a B.A. from Columbia University's Columbia College. She is currently a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford University, researching the use of metaphor in descriptions of mental distress in cuneiform medical texts. This article gives a taste of her work, and an insight into what how the modern experience of depression goes back thousands of years. Her Twitter account is not only full of pictures of her rescue dogs (always a pleasure to see!), but is a fantastic model of public outreach done right.
Finally we have Bianca Hand, a Ph.D. Candidate in the History of Art Department at Johns Hopkins University. She received her B.A. in Archaeology and Art History from the College of Wooster. Her research primarily focuses on investigating questions of alterity, materiality, style, and interaction at the royal palace at Khorsabad during the reign of the Neo-Assyrian king Sargon II (721-705 BCE). Bianca is the Secretary for the Baltimore Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, and also serves on the board of KIPP Baltimore.
These women are a valuable and exciting addition to our team, and we're thrilled to have them on board!