From hooves to helicopters: the study of foot-and-mouth disease virus in African buffalo 

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) virus is one of the most infectious viral diseases in the world. FMD virus affects all cloven-hooved animals and there have been outbreaks all over the world except for in North America. While FMD virus doesn’t necessarily cause fatality in animals, it causes severe milk production losses and can leave affected individuals severely weakened and debilitated. This is particularly problematic for people who keep livestock as it can affect their livelihoods and economic welfare. Our guest this week is Cambrey Knapp, a 2nd year PhD student in Comparative Health Science who is studying wildlife-livestock interactions related to FMD virus around Kruger National Park in South Africa. African buffalo within Kruger National Park harbor FMD virus and it can spillover to livestock that are kept in the surrounding areas outside of the park. Cambrey’s research is investigating which viral lineages of FMD virus are most prone to spillover and the temporal aspects of transmission by looking at historic and contemporary African buffalo and cattle samples.

Curious to know how helicopters factor in to the whole story? Tune in to our interview with Cambrey this Sunday (June 2nd) at 7 pm PST on KBVR 88.7 FM. If you miss the live show, you can check out the interview wherever you get your podcasts, including on our KBVR page, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or anywhere else!   

Working towards sustainability in the doula workforce

Studies have shown that birthing mothers paired with doulas have better birth outcomes than mothers that do not work with doulas. For example, doula-assisted mothers are four times less likely to have a low birth weight baby, two times less likely to experience a birth complication and are significantly more likely to initiate breast-feeding, compared to non-doula-assisted mothers1. Yet, the doula workforce suffers from high levels of burn-out often due to being underpaid, overextended, and disrespected in their work, which often results in doulas leaving the profession2. Given the clear benefits of doula-assisted pregnancy and birth, these issues need to be solved. But, how? Well, one person on the job is Master’s student Katie Minich! Katie is in the Applied Anthropology program working with Drs. Melissa Cheyney and David Lewis. Katie’s research aims to better understand how we can improve the sustainability and best practices for doulas post-training.

Tune in to our interview with Katie this Sunday (May 26th) at 7 pm PST on KBVR 88.7 FM. We will be covering a whole range of topics, including Katie’s eight years of experience as a doula herself, why Oregon is one of the best places to be a doula in the US, and more! 

If you miss the live show, you can check out the interview wherever you get your podcasts, including on our KBVR page, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or anywhere else!   

If you’re interested in learning more about the topics discussed, check out the following resources:

Minich, K. I. (2023). “Listening to Doulas in Southern Oregon: Exploring Motivations and Experiences of Birthworkers.” McNair National Research Journal, 2. 

Minich, K. I. (2023) “Listening to Doulas in Southern Oregon: Understanding Value and Care.” Southern Oregon University Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program McNair Scholars Journal, 19. 

The Uplift Lab: Home – Uplift Lab

Profile on research award: Announcing the Deanna Kingston Scholarship for Graduate Student Excellence | Anthropology, Anthropology Academic Programs, Graduate Anthropology, Prospective OSU Anthropology Graduate Students | College of Liberal Arts | Oregon State University

Graduate Student profile: Anthropology Graduate Students | Anthropology, About Anthropology, Faculty & Staff Directory | College of Liberal Arts | Oregon State University


1 Gruber, K.J., Cupito, S.H., and Dobson, C.F. (2013) Impact of Doulas on Healthy Birth Outcomes. The Journal of Perinatal Education, 22(1): 49-58. 

2 MamaGlow Foundation. (2023) Birth worker burnout: Exploring integrative approaches to nurturing a healthy doula workforce.

Welfare, TANF, and Higher Ed: Students thrive when we remove the barriers

In 2023, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) distributed aid to nearly 20,000 families, and approximately 40,000 individual recipients in the state of Oregon (FY2023 TANF Caseload). The families and individuals who receive TANF often face unseen difficulties and obstacles, especially related to higher education. This week on ID, we speak with Terese Jones, a recent PhD graduate in Human Development and Family Sciences. Terese’s dissertation work centered around TANF recipients, the challenges they face with higher education, developing a pilot program to address these challenges, and assessing the outcomes. 

Terese’s research identifies many common obstacles that TANF students face, a few of which are a lack of information about resources, stigma surrounding the use of these resources, and practices and procedures that discourage students from using these resources. In the program she developed, she sought to eliminate some of these barriers. For example, she removed a requirement that certain students receiving assistance needed to provide a state issued form that tracked their class attendance, which had to be signed by their professors. This change was the most positively received component of the program among the participants because it eliminated a significantly embarrassing and uncomfortable experience for the students.

Terese found that eliminating some of the barriers the students identified allowed them to expand what is called “possible selves” which refers to the futures that students can imagine and identify as possible for themselves. Students who initially sought to become phlebotomists changed their career trajectory towards nursing when they realized they would have the support to do so. Additionally, the participants also expanded their “public selves” which refers to how they see themselves within their community/public life. Many of these students saw themselves going back to their communities as health professionals, addiction and counseling professionals, and social service and welfare professionals. 

Terese says that she found herself relating to these students because she also has a background of poverty that drove her through her higher education journey. She is now continuing her work in a position at LBCC, where she is developing more programs centered around deep poverty in Linn-Benton county with the hopes of making a difference in the lives of people in our community. To learn more about Terese and her work, check out this week’s episode of ID. Also take a look at some of the resources Terese provided below!

Emergency Financial Assistance — Vina Moses Center

Family Support Program – Corvallis Public Schools Foundation (

South Corvallis Food Bank

Full cream: The power of milk on infant development

Our upcoming guest is Jillien Zukaitis, a first year PhD student in Nutrition, College of Health. Her lab, fondly referred to as the ‘Milk Lab’, studies at all things milk. With a clinical background as a dietitian, Jillien now couples her practical experience with translatable research.

Partnering with OHSU, Jillien assesses the composition, nutritional value, and potential health benefits of human milk on the development of preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This involves analyzing various proteins and peptides in the different types of milk fed to these infants and seeing how they are digested to isolate their roles in infant health and development. One way she does this is by isolating milk peptides from infant stomach and intestine and testing these on macrophage cells, examining the immune function of some of the peptides identified. By assessing the processing methods, milk types, and milk contents, she aims to discern what milk is best to feed infants. She plans to compare these results against other sources of nutrition such as infant formula in the future.

One innovative element of her research is through use of an in-vitro “digestion machine” known as SHIME (The Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem), which essentially mimics the entire digestive process from start to finish, allowing valuable insights at each stage involved. This revolutionary machine is one of the few in the USA and is right here at OSU!

To learn more about her research, passion to improve the lives of infants, and the unorthodox pathway that led her to pursuing her PhD, tune in to our prerecorded conversation on KBVR 88.7 FM this Sunday, May 12. You can listen to the episode anywhere you listen to your podcasts, including on KBVRSpotifyApple, or anywhere else!

Translating language and transferring knowledge

Native English speakers enjoy a distinct privilege in academic publishing due to the outsize impact of the English language on global publishing and media. But how has the dominance of English impacted the research of non-native speakers? What is the role for non-English language scholarship, particularly in the post-colonial era? These are some of the questions that Danlu Yang, our next guest, investigates in her graduate research.

Danlu is a second year master’s student and anthropologist in the Applied Anthropology Graduate Program at OSU, working with Prof. Shaozeng Zhang. Her main subject of study is a collaborative project dedicated to translating anthropological research between Chinese and Portuguese. Contributors to this project come from four countries and include anthropologists, editors, and other researchers and community members . Danlu is conducting an ethnographic study of the people involved in this translation project. She is herself highly multilingual, able to speak Chinese, English, Portuguese and Spanish. This gives her a unique vantage point to document how individuals produce and transfer knowledge across cultures and languages. Danlu is also interested in what motivates anthropologists to study rural China and what is gained when local knowledge is able to be expressed without English as an intermediary.

To hear more about Danlu’s experiences and personal background, visit her Linkedin profile and tune in Apr 28th at 7PM to KBVR 88.7 FM or wherever you get your podcasts!

Wind Farms and Fisheries

30 by 30. No, not the critically acclaimed ESPN documentary series — the phrase refers to the Biden Administration’s goal for the US to produce 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power generation by 2030. To support this target, large scale construction projects are planned off the coast of Oregon and the rest of the West Coast. Here to tell us about the potential effects of this planned construction on marine life is our guest this week, Margaret Campbell.

Margaret is an MS student in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences on fisheries working with Prof. Will White on population dynamics.  She uses theoretical and historical modeling approaches to forecast the impact of wind farm infrastructure on fisheries. One such model quantifies offshore parcels in terms of their distance from high-quality fish habitats and projects the redistribution of fish biomass when particular parcels are closed for construction. Margaret also employs a species distribution model to predict the population dynamics of fish like ling cod, yellowtail rockfish, and dover sole. She compares the predictions with fishing industry logbooks and oceanic sensors. Numerous environmental, tribal, and commercial groups have an interest in wind farm placement and Margaret hopes that her research will help these stakeholders respond to a changing coastline.

Before coming to OSU, Margaret attended the University of Maine, where she was involved with the NOAA Sea Grant program and earned a bachelor’s in marine science and history. She has gained experiences in diverse areas of marine biology, including estuary surveys, otolith analysis, phycology, and aquaculture. To hear more about her research and offshore wind generally, tune in to KBVR 88.7 this Sunday or listen wherever you get your podcasts!

Training the trainers who train trainers of little humans

Do you feel dizzy after reading that title? Me too, after writing it, but this week on the show we did indeed speak to a trainer of the trainers who train trainers of little humans! Meet Maya Johnson, a 3rd year PhD student in the School of Human Development and Family Sciences. For her research, Maya studies early childhood education policy and the childcare system within Oregon, with a pretty applied policy focus. Alongside doing her research, in her capacity as a graduate research assistant at OSU, some of what Maya does is to write trainings and coaching systems for individuals who train early childhood educators (hence the trainer of trainers who train trainers).

Check out our interview with Maya wherever you get your podcasts, including on our KBVR pageSpotify or Apple Podcasts! We cover a whole range of topics related to early childhood education, such as the HeadStart program, the childcare crises, why we don’t know a whole lot about the education stats of children under the age of 6 in Oregon, and what Maya is doing to hopefully change that problem!

If you’re interested in learning more about some of the topics discussed, check out the following resources:

  1. A “policy brief” that Maya put together for a final project in a social policy class she took: Toward Just and Livable Wages: Early Educator Compensation Reform in Oregon
  2. The Oregon Child Care Research Partnership is where a lot of the early childcare education policy research in Oregon comes from if you want to know more about the kind of research that goes into child care policy. 
  3. Maya works on the Early Learning System Initiative (ELSI) in helping build a system of support for Oregon’s early educators. 
  4. If you want to learn more about Maya or get in touch with her, here is her OSU profile page:

Sniffing for science

On our last episode for winter term, we interviewed Kayla Fratt, who is currently a PhD student in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences. However, aside from being a graduate student, Kayla is also one of the founders and trainers for K9 Conservationists, an organization that unites highly trained conservation detection dog teams with researchers to collect scientific data. For her graduate research, Kayla is working with her canine colleagues, Barley & Niffler, to understand island biogeography effects on diet and movement for sea wolves in southeast Alaska and basic natural history of pumas in El Salvador.

If you’re curious to hear all about how Kayla became a certified dog behavior consultant, how and why in the world you train a dog to sniff out poop, and the plans for Kayla’s PhD dissertation, check out the podcast episode anywhere you listen to podcasts, including on our KBVR page, Spotify or Apple Podcasts!

The Spectacular Humpback Whales of Bahia De Banderas

Several species of humpback whales coalesce off the coast of Mexico to breed every Winter. Near Puerto Vallarta, in Bahia de Banderas (Banderas Bay), whale watching tours are abundant and the primary mode of transportation in this area is by water taxi. Water traffic is busy and this causes a unique risk for humpback whales in this region, particularly the Central American humpback which is endangered and the Mexican humpback which is threatened. These whales are at risk of boat strikes or entanglements in fishing nets, which could potentially be a factor in their low population growth rates. This is the central issue at the center of Charlene Perez Santos’ research. Charlene is a first year Masters student at OSU, working within the Marine Mammal Institute. Her work focuses on tracking humpback whale movement via satellite tags and comparing them with sea vessel routes in Bahia de Banderas in relation to habitat use and exposure to human impacts. 

Charlene has had a passion to work with marine mammals since day one. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico, where she also attended the University of Puerto Rico. While completing her bachelor’s degree in marine biology and  wildlife management, she sought out any opportunity she could to engage in research. Despite her passion for marine mammal research, she got involved in research experiences involving a variety of sea-adjacent animals and non-adjacent animals (including anoles) simply to gain as much experience as possible. Charlene was also the first Puerto Rican to receive the coveted NOAA IN FISH internship, which led to her establishing connections at OSU and eventually starting in the grad program here. 

Tune in Sunday, March 3rd to listen to Charlene’s interview live, or catch it online and learn all about humpback whales, navigating the science community as a Latina woman, and chasing your dreams.

A surprise trip to the coldest continent on Earth!

Due to some unforeseen circumstances, we had a very impromptu guest join us for our show on February 18th. Rachel Kaplan is a 4th year PhD student in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, who researchers whales and krill around the world to better understand predator-prey dynamics. Part of her PhD research involves going to Antarctica so we sat down with Rachel to chat about what it’s like conducting field work on the coldest continent on Earth!

You can listen to the episode anywhere you listen to your podcasts, including on KBVR, Spotify, Apple, or anywhere else!