Kaye Reed, Director and President’s Professor of Arizona State University’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change, remembers the first time she held the remains of an ancestor who lived 2.8 million years ago.
In 2013, a team of ASU scientists and students, including Chalachew Seyoum, the graduate student who discovered the fossil, and Reed, garnered new evidence surrounding our understanding of the human species with a single discovery.
Since then, the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at ASU has been a leader of the pack, ranking No. 1 for anthropology-related research expenditures this year. According to Reed, the difference has been investing in programs such as global health and applied math.
“Understanding humans touches all of these things, so you really need to have a faculty who can branch out and connect to all of those and then come back together to share ideas,” Reed said.
Unlike other anthropology schools, the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at ASU is committed to calling the department home to many of the university’s social scientists, global health experts and faculty in applied math, and giving way to new approaches to century-old questions. In 2017, an astounding three of seven ASU fellows elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science were anthropologists.
One of ASU’s main strengths in anthropology is that the faculty are working together across multiple disciplines and learning platforms to understand the extent of the human species. ASU Online offers a bachelor’s degree in global health, where Reed helps online students learn through her extensive field knowledge and published research.
For now, anthropologists at ASU continue to search for the next clue in the human puzzle by better understanding the origin of our species through innovative and traditional methods. Will there be another history-changing discovery? Only time will tell.
Kay Reed, a tenured faculty member at ASU, teaches courses online in the Bachelor of Arts in global health degree.