Kayla Hurd is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Anthropology, and holds a M.A. in Anthropology from Wayne State University and a B.S. in Chemistry from Grand Valley State University. She is a biocultural anthropologist that investigates how people use food to cope with stressful situations and how these consumption practices impact the body. More specifically, her interdisciplinary research addresses the entanglement of social, cultural, political, and economic factors that often construct what people consider to be edible—particularly, insects and other meat-like substitutes—as well as how these structural and social forces shape and constrain people’s agency regarding health, wellbeing, and their ability to obtain food. Her research is a dynamic examination of meaning-making surrounding food, perceptions of edibility, and how people use food to cope with unexpected crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic presented itself as a novel opportunity to examine how her long-term participants in Oaxaca are coping with this sudden shift into their homes and its impact on their choices about health and wellbeing.

At Notre Dame, Kayla is a Doctoral Student Affiliate of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and a Senior Consultant in the Office of Grants and Fellowships. Her research has been supported by the Graduate School, Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, Eck Institute for Global Health, Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Explorer’s Club, and most recently, Kayla is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant. Kayla is a Notre Dame Deans’ Fellow.

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