July 14, 2017
UTM Anthropology is very pleased to welcome Dr. Lauren Schroeder as Assistant Professor, Biological Anthropology, focusing on Evolutionary Anthropology.
Although only a year out from her PhD at the University of Cape Town (December 2015), Dr. Schroeder already ranks as a top researcher in paleoanthropology. She has two first-authored articles in top-tier journals, with a third under review, and seven co-authored articles, nearly all in top peer-reviewed journals. These articles relate to her use of sophisticated quantitative methods applying quantitative genetics and 3-D scan data of hominins to investigate morphological variation in hominins, especially the transition from australopith to Homo lineages in the Pleistocene. This research was possible only because of Dr. Schroeder’s extensive network of research contacts and collaborations across Africa, Europe and North America. In addition, Dr. Schroeder has been and continues to be involved in the discovery, description and analysis of the exciting new Homo fossil material from both the Malapa and Rising Star projects, and was selected as part of the Rising Star Workshop to take the lead for the cranial and mandibular (skull) remains of Homo naledi for the first publications in Science, a tremendous recognition of her standing as an emerging young star in the field. More recently, she has become involved in a ground-breaking collaborative project with both Cape Town and Buffalo, among others, on the morphological signatures of hybridization in primates and other mammals, a project with significant potential for the recognition of hybridization in hominin lineages.
Dr. Schroeder’s fellowship record is impressive, including a prestigious fellowship from the Leakey Foundation. Her references refer to her independent thinking and intellectual agility, outstanding quantitative skills, and strong theoretical underpinning, describing her as a talented evolutionary morphologist and paleoanthropologist. She is praised for her exceptional abilities as a teacher and mentor, stressing her range of teaching abilities and patient guidance of students. In addition to covering major paleoanthropological topics, Dr. Schroeder will bring expertise in quantitative methods, statistics and modeling to our undergraduate and graduate courses. She has mentored and trained Honors undergraduate and Masters students at Cape Town, including a formal appointment to provide academic leadership and mentorship for students, especially students of colour, and participated in numerous science outreach programs to encourage appreciation of the human past and minority involvement in anthropological training. She was named as one of the Top 200 Young South Africans for 2015. She is already engaged in significant service to her discipline in both U.S. and South African associations, even as such a junior scholar.