Anthropology major’s research paper earns top conference award

Student Success Zaakiyah Cua Award

Karen Webb-Johnson, left, division chair of the Association of American Geographers, presents a first-place undergraduate paper award to YSU senior Zaakiyah Cua

Senior YSU Anthropology major Zaakiyah Cua took top honors at a regional geography conference for her research on how three small primitive cultures adapted to depletion of their natural resources.

Cua’s paper, titled “Resource Exploitation By Outsiders And The Shaping Of Forager Societies Over Time: Comparisons of the Agta, Inuit, and Dobe Ju/’Hoansi,” took the first place undergraduate paper award at the joint meeting of the East Lakes and West Lakes Divisions of the American Association of Geographers. The event was held Oct. 16-18 at Western Michigan University.

“Zaakiyah displayed a great deal of poise and preparation for her presentation,” said Geography Professor Ron Shaklee, who also presented at the conference. “She took on a particularly challenging concept, but she was clearly comfortable with the material.”

A native of Bristolville, Ohio, Cua plans to graduate in the fall of 2015 with a major in Anthropology and a minor in Geographic Information Science. She decided to add the minor after a summer 2013 internship in Italy where she worked on an archeological dig and realized the connection between anthropology and the mapping aspect of geography.

She hopes to find work that combines her two fields of study, possibly at a government land management agency. “I’m not ruling out grad school,” she said, “but I want to get some work experience first.”

Two other YSU students also presented papers at the conference. Jayne Catlos, a junior from Poland with a double major in social studies education and Spanish education, presented a paper titled “An Analysis of Areas Surrounding Four Former Youngstown City Schools.” Samantha Yannucci, a senior Geography major from Youngstown, presented “Creating a GIS Network to Support Redevelopment Efforts in Boardman, Ohio,” based on her summer internship experience in Boardman Township.

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