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Alumni Profile: Megan Bear '18

Posted on 01.31.19 by Hillary Crane in College of Arts & Science

Megan's story

Megan with Professor DeVisser and cadaverMegan Bear, ’18, spent her last semester in college profiling a human skeleton. Megan developed her interest in forensic anthropology by completing a biological profile of a skeleton owned by Chemeketa Community College. For Megan, the project was “the highlight of my time here at Linfield.”

A biological profile provides insight into the person the skeleton was by “determining certain characteristics such as age, sex, ancestry, dental, measurements, taphonomy, pathology, stature, and trauma,” according to Megan.

Her project was a collaboration with Elizabeth DeVisser, the anatomy lab coordinator at Linfield. DeVisser completed an undergraduate degree in anthropology at Linfield and has worked as a death investigator and forensic anthropologist. The guidance and support from DeVisser were crucial to Megan throughout the process. Megan said, “Liz showed me what to look for and gave me opportunities to try before showing me what I could have done better or techniques that help her measure or assess skeletal features.”

The experience profiling a skeleton gave Megan a taste of the mental and emotional demands of a profession that requires frequent encounters with violence and death. “Essentially, because of this project, I have been able to critically think about the difficulties of this sort of career, and why, despite those, I would want to pursue it.”

Taking what she learned from this project and her time at Linfield, Megan aspires to be a forensic anthropologist. “With a love and appreciation for the human body, the stories people have to tell, and the motivations of different people, I hope to pursue a career in forensic anthropology so that I can use my skills to reveal the answers that bones are able to provide.”