Hello, again! My name is Micayla Spiros and I have accepted a Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative returning fellow position this year. I am a fourth year biological anthropology doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology. I study human osteology exploring the multifactorial, interdependent causes of skeletal variation from a biocultural lens focusing on the postcranial skeleton. My previous CHI project, 3D MMS Initiative, was a pedagogical tool created to help forensic anthropologists, bioarchaeologists, and general osteologists visualize macromorphoscopic (MMS) variations utilized in the field. I created three-dimensional models of crania and postcranial elements from donated individuals in the Michigan State University Forensic Anthropology Laboratory. I expanded on this project over the past summer creating an interactive web of MMS literature allowing users to see the reach of the variations and associated scholarship.
My goal for this year is to explore more data visualization technology while simultaneously working on design. I want to practice the skills that I learned last year while also focusing on the meticulous details of building a project. I think that design is important because it gives the audience a consistent, clear narrative while also helping them stay engaged. Learning the small aspects that aids the functionality of a project such as web loaders, responsive design, and other stylistic aspects that professionalize the space. While these aspects can be tedious, especially when the content that you want is present and working properly, I think it adds a new level to the experience.
In my research, I work with a lot of quantitative data. I want to bring this aspect to the history and current position of forensic anthropology exploring patterns across the field since its inception. Many research articles talk about the relative contemporary nature of our discipline and I want to help new students and the greater public visualize this through various perspectives reach of practitioners and scholarship.
Overall, I am looking forward to another year of breaking and fixing things as a CHI fellow!