Alyssa Crittenden

Professor of Anthropology
Dean of the UNLV Graduate College
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Expertise: Anthropology, Food insecurity (general and in higher education), Water justice, Nutrition, Human evolutionary biology, Hunters and gatherers, Educational sovereignty, Graduate education


Alyssa Crittenden is an anthropologist and the current Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate College at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

She began her academic career in 2011 as an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at UNLV, teaching courses in human biology, reproduction, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and research ethics. Her research explores the relationship between behavior, reproduction, and the environment (ecological, political, and social) with an emphasis on nutrition and maternal and infant health and well-being. For several decades, she worked with Hadzabe in Tanzania, a hunting and gathering community that still forages for a large portion of their diet. She is the recipient of the 2021 Conrad Arensberg Award from the American Anthropological Association for furthering anthropology as a natural science. Her current work with the Hadzabe community and her current role at UNLV both reflect her steadfast commitment to equitable access to education.

Additionally, Crittenden hosts "Food, Science, and the Human Body," a video series produced by The Great Courses and National Geographic, which answers perplexing questions about the evolution of the human diet, its relationship to our bodies, and why — from historical, cultural, and biological perspectives — we eat the things we eat.

Her work, both as an anthropologist and in the domain of higher education, is published in top-tier academic journals and highlighted in popular outlets, such as The New York Times, Smithsonian, National Geographic, the BBC, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and on National Public Radio.


  • Ph.D., Biological Anthropology, University of California, San Diego
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of California, San Diego
  • B.A., Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz

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food & nutrition, psychology & human behavior

Alyssa Crittenden In The News

The Chronicle of Higher Education
How a national project aims to give master’s and doctoral students the same level of attention as first-year undergraduates.
The Good Men Project
Have you ever found yourself perplexed in front of the honey aisle at your local grocery store, wondering what’s real and what’s not? You’re not alone. The world of honey is buzzing with more than just bees these days.
Take an apple, for example. This amazing fruit is brimming with pharmacologically (or better yet, nutrigenomically) active compounds, most notably ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C. Another compound it contains is phlorizin, over a dozen polyphenols, potent antioxidants concentrated in the skin of the apple and known to elicit multitargeted effects that reduce the impact of high blood sugar in animal models.1 But this strictly material layer of nutritional analysis barely touches the surface when it comes to appreciating the informational complexity of food.
Smithsonian Magazine
When human ancestors evolved to walk upright, they may have done so in trees, suggests new research published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

Articles Featuring Alyssa Crittenden

students in spring
Campus News | May 1, 2024

News highlights starring UNLV students and faculty who made local and national headlines.

U.N.L.V. Football players entering Allegiant Stadium
Campus News | May 2, 2022

A collection of news stories highlighting the experts and student changemakers at UNLV.