Sociology and Anthropology

Andrea Alveshere

Associate Professor of Anthropology and Chemistry

"Anthropology provides these amazingly powerful, flexible tools that enable us to investigate every aspect of the human experience:  from tackling the social and environmental challenges of the digital age, to solving complex forensic and medical cases, to unearthing the greatest mysteries of the ancient past. I can’t imagine a better way to prepare for an unpredictable future than an experiential, holistic anthropological education."  - A.J. Alveshere

Andrea Alveshere

Dr. Alveshere's research focuses, broadly, on relationships between humans and their environments. Areas of interest include questions of diet and health; cultural and biological adaptations; genetic disorders such as Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1); effects of environmental factors (e.g., climate, burial deposit chemistry, vegetative cover, animal and insect activity, etc.) on the preservation of bones, plant remains, and the molecules within them; and the comparative utility of various field and laboratory techniques to produce informative archaeological, nutritional, and forensic data.

Please see my CV for a current list of talks, publications, and courses.


Dr. Alveshere earned her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Washington with an emphasis in Archaeology and an undergraduate research focus on the analysis of skeletal remains and geoarcheological deposits. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology, with a minor in Human Genetics, from the University of Minnesota, investigating factors that influence the preservation and detection of DNA in ancient and forensic specimens.

In addition to her academic experience, Dr. Alveshere worked for several years as a forensic scientist in the DNA/Biology section of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Forensic Science Laboratory. She led the WIU Archaeological Field School from 2017-2021, and has also conducted archaeological excavations in Israel, South Africa, and throughout the Midwestern United States.

WIU Courses Taught


  • ANTH 110 - Intro to Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 111 - Intro to Physical Anthropology and Archaeology
  • ANTH 201 - World Culture Regions: The Middle East
  • ANTH 310 - Physical Anthropology Methods
  • ANTH 215 - Fantastic Archaeology: Ancient Astronauts, Shape Shifters, and Bigfoot
  • ANTH 381 - Old World Archaeology
  • ANTH 325 - Archaeology Lab Methods (WIU Field School)
  • ANTH 326 - Archaeology Field Methods (WIU Field School)
  • ANTH 404G - Dynamics of Cultural Change
  • ANTH 405G - Forensic Anthropology
  • ANTH 410G - Anthrozoology
  • ANTH 417G - Primate Ecology, Behavior and Evolution (Crosslisted with ZOOL 417G)
  • ANTH 490 - Directed Research
  • ANTH 494 - Anthropology Internship

 Biological Sciences

  • ZOOL 417G - Primate Ecology, Behavior and Evolution (Crosslisted with ANTH 417G)


  • CHEM 390 - Junior Project Laboratory
  • CHEM 440 - Elementary Forensic Techniques
  • CHEM 451G - Applications of Forensic Chemistry
  • CHEM 455 WID - Forensic Serology and DNA Analysis
  • CHEM 485 - Internship in Chemistry
  • CHEM 490 - Senior Project Laboratory
  • CHEM 491 - Honors Thesis in Chemistry
  • CHEM 580 - Graduate Seminar
  • CHEM 590 - Graduate Internship
  • CHEM 591 - Graduate Internship Report

 Liberal Arts and Sciences

  • LAS 667 - Masters in Liberal Arts and Sciences Thesis

 Museum Studies

  • MST 560 - Museum Studies Practicum