The vast majority of theses in this collection are open access and freely available. There are a small number of theses that have access restricted to the WWU campus. For off-campus access to a thesis labeled "Campus Only Access," please log in here with your WWU universal ID, or talk to your librarian about requesting the restricted thesis through interlibrary loan.

Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Mosher, M. J. (Anthropologist)

Second Advisor

Torres, Nicole I.

Third Advisor

Bruna, Sean


The international tragedy of the coronavirus pandemic disrupted lives, livelihoods, and operations across the world. We as global citizens saw a massive upheaval in nearly every daily process, including health systems and education. In the spring of 2021, I had a fully developed research proposal, had won grant funding, and was making contact with local family practice clinics to study how patients experiencing culture-bound syndromes were being treated, in both the literal and medical sense of the term, by their physicians. After several years of trying and failing to complete this proposed clinical research in the midst of a global viral pandemic, I was forced to step away from my original thesis project. Instead, I present a summary and collection of the other research endeavors I was able to pursue during my graduate school years, as a discussion of gaining professional training despite ongoing extenuating circumstances. This thesis argues that the traditional structures of the academy must be able to adapt in order to survive, and takes a critical examination of ways that an anthropology master’s program can be improved to support a student’s professional development when a traditional thesis is an unviable product.




pandemic learning, professional degrees, institutional failure, burnout, marginalized identities, social science education


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subjects – Names (LCNAF)

Western Washington University. Department of Anthropology

Subject – LCSH

COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020- --Social aspects; Social sciences--Study and teaching (Graduate)--Research; Social sciences--Study and teaching (Graduate)--Evaluation; Universities and colleges--Washington (State)--Bellingham--Graduate work--Evaluation; Universities and colleges--Study and teaching (Graduate)--Washington (State)--Bellingham--Evaluation; Dissertations, Academic--Evaluation

Geographic Coverage

Bellingham (Wash.)




masters theses




Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.

Included in

Anthropology Commons