My name is Patricia Halleran-Cislo. I am earning a Baccalaureate of Science Degree in Anthropology with a minor in Native American Studies, and anticipate graduating summa cum laude in December 2014. I grew up in New York, where at a young age I developed a deep respect for cultural diversity and I marveled at the complexity of human society and all of the variation within it. I became socially and politically involved in my community as a young teen and worked on numerous campaigns for peace, environmental sustainability, economic equality, women’s rights, and social justice. The urban setting offered many wonderful opportunities for my early development; however, I yearned for a place where there were clean rivers, healthy forests, and open spaces. When I was 18 years old, I relocated to the beautiful Rogue Valley of southern Oregon and have called this bioregion home ever since.
My primary field of interest is environmental anthropology, which focuses on the ecological relationship people have with their biophysical world while examining the complex ways that populations shape their environment. My research interests include advancing our cultural and scientific understanding of the environmental challenges we face in the 21st century such as climate change, water scarcity, excessive industrial development, and species extinction. I am also interested in the traditional methods of sustainable ecological practices that enabled human beings to survive for millennia, and how we can use these practices as a model to explore viable solutions to the contemporary problems we face. Anthropological knowledge offers a unique perspective to these critically important ecological issues as it holistically examines the role gender, class, “race”, and cultural differences play in one’s interaction with the landscape, while searching for a deeper understanding of the multifaceted dimensions of the human world.
I have been a key organizer for the Native American Ecological Education Symposium (NAEES) at Southern Oregon University for the past two years. The mission of NAEES is to connect Native American ecological practices with educational development and contemporary actions in order to foster environmental restoration and stewardship. The symposium offers a forum for local tribes, government agencies, and campus and local communities to share ideas concerning environmental justice and sustainability. This two-day event takes place during Native American month at SOU in April as a way to honor the indigenous people of our bioregion as well as to address the ecological wounds left behind by the colonial era.
I have been fortunate to be the recipient of several scholarships in my academic journey from the American Association of University Women, American Association of Women in Community College, Chapter CP – PEO Foundation , Margaret D. Stephen Foundation, Miller Foundation, and the Second Step Foundation. In 2010, I received the prestigious Gilman Foundation Scholarship that enabled me to study abroad in Florence, Italy where I explored my mother’s cultural heritage and the ecological niche my ancestors once occupied. This experience changed the way I felt about my place in the world and inspired me to take a deeper look at myself in relation to my own cultural background.
I am a student member of the American Anthropological Association as well as the Anthropology and Environmental Society. I am also a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society. I am actively involved with the Native American Studies Program at Southern Oregon University and I am working on collaborating with local tribes and non-profit organizations to build an eco-cultural network that focuses on cultural revitalization and ecological restoration. After completing my undergraduate studies at Southern Oregon University, I will be applying to PhD programs in applied anthropology for fall 2015 entry. I am eager to advance my understanding of human society and intend to use the knowledge and skills I develop to improve our collective quality of life. My motivation to academically and professionally succeed is driven by my conviction to leave behind a healthy and sustainable planet on behalf of future generations.
McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jessica Piekielek, Assistant Professor of Anthropology