Laura McCarty holds a Neanderthal skull.

Laura McCarty, a senior in anthropology at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, earned a J. William Fulbright Scholarship that will allow her to implement 3-D methods to detect the amount of skeletal variation of Neanderthals in Germany during the 2010-11 school year. McCarty is the fourth Fulbright scholar to come out of the Department of Anthropology at UMSL in four years.

The 25-year-old from Oakville, Mo., is excited to start this academic adventure in September.

“I was astonished when I got the letter (from Fulbright),” McCarty said. “This is the opportunity of a lifetime.”

McCarty will help produce 3-D images of Neanderthal skulls and bones at the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen. She will work with Katerina Harvati, professor and chair of paleoanthropology in the Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology and the Tübingen/Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Paleoecology at University of Tübingen in Germany. Harvati specializes in Neanderthal evolution and modern human origins. McCarty also will teach in a German school while she is there.

Donna Hart, director of undergraduate research in anthropology at UMSL, said McCarty is embarking on important and thrilling research at a prestigious university.

“The quest for clues to human origins and our relationship to the Neanderthals is one of the most exciting aspects of anthropology and also one of the most prized fields enter as a researcher,” said Hart, McCarty’s mentor. “Laura was determined to pursue her dream of excavating, analyzing and unraveling the mysteries surrounding Neanderthal fossil remains. This Fulbright award allows her to work in the field at Paleolithic sites and in the lab with cutting-edge technology. We are extremely proud of her accomplishment and of the quality of UMSL student she represents.”

Fulbright is the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program in the world, supported for more than half a century by the American people through an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress and by the people of partner nations. The research award program seeks out individuals of achievement and potential who will be outstanding cultural ambassadors for the U.S. and selects nominees through a nationwide open, merit-based competition. In the past four years, UMSL has had one faculty and four undergraduate award-winners in the research category, all from the Department of Anthropology.

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Kylie Shafferkoetter

Kylie Shafferkoetter

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