Andrea Waters-Rist named as a Western University Faculty Scholar for 2023

April 27, 2023

Andrea Waters-Rist, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology

Andrea Waters-Rist, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, has been named as a Western University Faculty Scholar for 2023.

She is considered a world leader in the application of isotopic approaches to understanding diet, health, and disease in the past. Her research is broadly concerned with the relationship between nutrition and health in the past. She had used innovative approaches, including uses stable isotope and synchrotron-based trace element methods to reconstruct the diets of past populations. She has increasingly focused on infants and children, who have been generally understudied, but whose well-being plays a critical role in the rise and fall of past and modern populations. She has also studied pathology and health, using human skeletal and dental remains for evidence of disease and assessment of growth and development patterns.

“I feel deeply honoured to be named as a Faculty Scholar and appreciate the support of my Department, Faculty and the University,” Waters-Rist said. “I am lucky to work with great colleagues here at Western. Their example and the encouragement offered by this award is great motivation to continue doing my best work to further our understanding of the diet-disease nexus.”

Waters-Rist has published 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and a further 7 papers in non-refereed books, averaging five to six papers per year, with many of these publications in top-ranked journals in the field, including International Journal of Paleopathology and the American Journal of Biological Anthropology.

Her work has been highly cited. She also co-authored a 2018 review paper, which was published in the third edition of the landmark Wiley-Blackwell book “Biological Anthropology of the Human Skeleton”, an important book in the field of bioarcheology. This paper has been cited more than 800 times since its publication and much of her other work has been widely cited above the average rate of papers in the discipline.

Waters-Rist has developed several new courses since coming to Western in 2017, and has supervised many graduate students, including more than 50 Master’s level students. She also developed a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC)’ for Coursera entitled, “Osteoarchaeology: The Truth in Our Bones” which has had over 32,000 participants.

“At its core, my ability to balance research and teaching comes from the joy I find in curiosity, whether of students as they learn about anthropology, or myself as I learn new methods, tackle new questions, or open new avenues of exploration. I really enjoy the interplay of teaching, mentoring and conducting research with my graduate students,” she said. “I find student curiosity highest when I integrate my research into my teaching, which in turn can inform my research in interesting ways. All in all, I simply embrace that research and teaching go hand in hand.”

Established in 2005, the Faculty Scholars Award recognizes significant recent scholarly achievements in teaching or research. Nominated by faculty deans and selected by the Faculty Selection committee chaired by the Provost, the recipients have an international presence in their discipline and are considered all-round scholars. Winners hold the title “Faculty Scholar” for two years and receive $7,000 each year for scholarly activities, as well as receiving a citation.