We are thrilled to announce that Rashika Verma, a recent Anthropology graduate, won first place in the Lambda Alpha National Honor Society Student Paper Competition for her paper, “Climate Refugees: Redefining Refugee Status and the Implications for Cultural Identities.”

Lambda Alpha is a national honor society recognizing academic excellence in the study of Anthropology, and is open to students who meet Anthropology credit and GPA requirements. Each school chapter is invited to submit one entry to the annual paper competition, and despite many strong submissions to our internal competition, Rashika’s paper stood out. The paper was originally written for her Anthropology of Humanitarianism class, taught by Dr. Aubrey Graham (16PhD and current Interdisciplinary Teaching Fellow at Emory’s Institute for the Liberal Arts).

“This paper is a reflection of my combined interest in climate change and humanitarianism,” says Rashika. “Dr. Graham’s Anthropology of Humanitarianism class was a powerful experience for me because medicine in many ways is a form of humanitarianism, and critically analyzing it’s successes and shortcomings through anthropological theory was eye-opening as I hadn’t really considered that angle before … The idea of climate refugees is still relatively new and I feel that as a society we haven’t had the difficult conversations about what we can/will do about the fact that people will be displaced from their homes because those homes are underwater and completely uninhabitable. Overall, it was a challenging and nuanced topic to explore, but it was fascinating to research and is something I know I’ll be thinking about moving forward in my personal and professional life.”

Rashika graduated from Emory College of Arts and Sciences this spring with a degree in Anthropology and Human Biology, and completed an honors thesis exploring doctors’ perspectives on food insecurity in an urban food desert. She is currently working as a Clinical Assistant at a Neurosurgery practice and plans to attend medical school next year.

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