Current Students

Nichole Ballard

Nichole L. Ballard 

Nichole's research explores Native American and indigenous religious traditions through material culture with a focus on North America. She is currently working with University of Missouri Museum of Anthropology archives to better understand Native American government mandated schooling and using GIS to analyze salvage anthropology collections. More broadly, her research interests include indigenous knowledge found within myth, ritual, and material culture and applying and making accessible this intangible cultural heritage with its source communities. Other areas of interest are: Native American religious traditions, religion as a system of knowledge, archaeology of religion, material culture, North American archaeology; ethnoarchaeology, GIS and the humanities, museum curation, NAGPRA, cultural heritage, and postcolonialism.

 

Zachary Montgomery

Zachary Montgomery

Zachary received his undergraduate degree from Marshall University and is currently a first-year graduate student in the Department of Religious Studies. His research interests include philosophy of religion and how pagan, occult, and esoteric communities experience religion in America—specifically, how these communities interact with mainstream American culture and other religions to create and maintain their religious identities.   

Adam Villanova

Adam Villanova

Adam graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University with his undergraduate degrees in Religious Studies and History, and is currently in his first year as a graduate student in the Department of Religious Studies. His research focuses on Hinduism through a Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies perspective. Adam is especially interested in the transformation of the Goddess from the Late Vedic period to contemporary Hinduism in Hindu mythography.

Cooper Sims-West

Cooper received his undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas and is currently a second year graduate student in the Department of Religious Studies. His research interests are the religions of the Indian sub-continent. He focusses specifically on Hindu and Sikh communities, as well as the use of religion in politics in modern India.

Cooper Sims-West