A woman leaning against a sign for "Hike the Hoodoos"
May. 9, 2022

Rylan Hawke Tegtmeyer graduated from UNLV with a Ph.D. in 2017. She is currently a Forensic Anthropologist for SNA International supporting the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. She is also a project coordinator for the Tarawa Project in Hawaii.

On the Spring of 2021 we reached out to our alumni to ask what they were doing after graduating from UNLV with an Anthropology graduate degree. This was the response:

Where are you now?

I work as a contractor Forensic Anthropologist for SNA International supporting the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency as of September 2017 (July 2017-September 2017 I had worked as a postdoctoral fellow for ORISE for DPAA). I am also the Tarawa Project coordinator supporting the Tarawa Project Lead, which is one of the World War 2 battle projects currently being worked on at DPAA in Hawaii.

I live on the central-west side of Oahu (Hawaii).

From undergrad to current job, my path was BS in Anthropology/BA in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University (2006-2009), MA in Anthropology from Texas State University (2010-2012), and PhD in Anthropology from University of Nevada, Las Vegas (2013-2017).

Current research/projects?

I just recently co-published a paper in Human Biology as third author (currently a pre-print) titled: Navigating Identity: The Intersection of Social and Biological Identity from the WWII Battle of Tarawa which examines the complexities of identity in a forensic context for war dead. Beyond that, I am very focused on the project that I am assigned to. I have been working on the Tarawa Project since starting at DPAA in 2017, and the resolution of the missing individuals from that battle (project) is a great focus to me.

What do you do for fun or to unwind in these days of COVID?

I volunteer for an international charity that focuses on performing random acts of kindness within the communities in which we live. It has given me the opportunity to connect with people from so many different places and has created a great international support system. Additionally, I have cultivated a tremendous community of friends online through fandom (sounds nerdy, but I have made some incredible bonds that have kept me emotionally balanced, especially during the peak of COVID when we were in locked down when we were not allowed to leave our houses). So, I have built a great virtual community. I also participate in an annual (and sometimes more that annual) international scavenger hunt for good which involves a combination of completing creative tasks and doing good in the local and worldwide community that is a blast. So, I try and keep myself pretty busy. I'm also a big movie buff, so I like the see the new releases when I can!