This year I will be creating a website focused on the development of forensic anthropology. A bit different from my CHI project last year (3DMMS Initiative), the motivation of this project is to use data visualization to tell a story about the professionalism related to the discipline. This project will serve as an interactive, concise guide to the field from student through professional. By creating an enhanced interactive website, students will be able to explore the paths of board certified diplomates from the American Board of Forensic Anthropology (ABFA) of the field in a more hands-on, engaging way.
This tool will be able to be used as a guide for students to understand the length and rigor of becoming a forensic anthropologist. The website will also serve as a resource for students beginning their exploration into forensic anthropology by accumulating the graduate programs available to students in one place. With anthropology being a four-field discipline, it is difficult to discern, especially as a high school or undergraduate student, what the options are for a focused biological anthropology education with a forensic focus. Having this resource available for students will allow some of the uncertainty and question surrounding graduate programs to begin to begin to dissipate. This project will simultaneously work as a community building tool for the discipline by making the field seem more accessible. In higher education it can feel daunting to meet the prolific researchers and professionals; the authors of research, creators of methods used in the laboratory, and directors of forensic projects may seem less formidable if they can be humanized.
The targeted audience for this project is primarily students— from high school through the doctoral level. The scholarship will include the professional history of the field, allowing more novice students to grasp where our field has come from and see the direction it is heading. The personal element of the project will be highlighted through the ABFA diplomates. Showing professionals who are board certified in the field will give students further insight into the field, allowing some illumination into the paths that forensic anthropologists have taken. A goal of this project is to also collect photos from professional conferences, specifically from the ABFA historian. These photos, putting faces to names, will allow for a more open, approachable community.
The data from this project will come from various sources. Primarily, data will be extracted from the ABFA website. These data include names, year of certification, and location of active ABFA diplomates and a historical list of all diplomates. Second, I will be collecting information illustrating which universities each diplomate attended for their doctoral programs. I will also catalogue a list of graduate programs focusing on forensic anthropology with specific inclusionary criteria.