Graduate Studies

Outstanding Thesis Award to Derek Boyd

Derek Boyd stands in the physical anthropology lab.

Derek Boyd, who graduated with a Masters of Arts in Anthropology with Distinction from California State University, Chico in Spring 2016, received the 2017 Outstanding Thesis Award. Boyd is currently a Ph.D. student in the biological anthropology program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His research interests are in biological anthropology, which broadly includes human skeletal biology, paleopathology, bioarcheology, and forensic anthropology.

While enrolled at CSU Chico, Boyd “assisted with the forensic recovery and analysis of human skeletal remains through the CSU Chico Human Identification Lab,” and in summer 2014 he served as the Forensic Anthropology Intern at the Harris County Institute of Forensic Science in Houston, Texas. In 2015, Boyd served as co-coordinator for the 12th Chico Forensic Conference, and in July of that year he “traveled to London to collect data for his M.A. thesis at the Museum of London, Centre for Human Bioarcheology.” His Master’s thesis, Putting Fracture Reduction on Repeat: An Analysis of the Long-Term Health Consequences of Differential Treatment in Industrial-era London, examined patterns of socioeconomic status differences in access to treatment for traumatic injuries in Industrial-era London, with further examination into how differences in treatment influenced observed patterns of accumulative skeletal trauma. This past summer, following the completion of his Masters of Arts degree, Boyd also worked as an intern with forensic anthropologists at the Department of Justice.

For his dissertation research, Boyd is “trying to identify populations at-risk of suffering from (and dying from) respiratory disease in the archaeological record” with specific focus on northeastern England during the Bronze Age through the Post-Medieval periods. He will also be applying a novel statistic method to this sort of research endeavor, but notes that the research design is still in process. Boyd’s ultimate career goal is to work as a forensic anthropologist at an Office of the Medical Examiner, or as a tenure-track anthropology professor at an academic institution. As the University of Tennessee, Knoxville speaks very highly of Boyd on their website, it seems safe to say that he is well on his way to fulfilling his goals.