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Jenna Watson

Ph.D. Candidate


Preferred pronouns: she/her

Subdiscipline: Biological Anthropology


Jenna Watson is a Ph.D. candidate in biological anthropology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her research interests broadly include bioarchaeology, paleopathology, human migration, human skeletal biology, stable isotope analysis, and forensic anthropology. She received her B.A. in anthropology from Wellesley College in 2013. From 2013 – 2014 she served as a Corps Member with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) – FEMA Corps providing administrative support to FEMA’s disaster preparedness, response, and recovery projects in Missouri (Kansas City), Texas (Denton), and FEMA headquarters in Washington D.C. From 2014 – 2016 she worked in New York City as the executive assistant to the executive director of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), a global non-profit organization whose mission is to use medicine and science to document and call attention to mass human rights atrocities.

In 2016 she left PHR to begin graduate school at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she earned an M.A. in anthropology in 2018. As a Master’s student at UTK, Jenna worked as a research assistant on a Department of Defense grant-funded research project assessing different techniques for locating clandestine graves. Jenna also worked as the communications and correspondence manager for the Body Donation Program. Her master’s thesis research involved assessing ArcGIS as a tool for positive identification using frontal sinus radiographs.

As a Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Jenna has worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Biological Anthropology and Human Anatomy, worked with the Forensic Anthropology Center assisting with the Body Donation Program, community outreach, and forensic casework, and completed an internship at the West Tennessee Regional Forensic Center in Memphis, TN.



Curriculum Vitae


Bioarchaeology, medieval Romanian bioarchaeology, paleopathology, human migration and mobility, stable isotope analysis, human skeletal biology, forensic anthropology, epidemiology, human identification,  and human rights.


M.A., Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 2018.

  • Thesis: Positive Identification via Frontal Sinus Morphology: A Geographic Information Systems Approach.

B.A., Wellesley College. Anthropology. 2013.

Professional Service

American Association of Biological Anthropologists, Paleopathology Association, European Association of Archaeologists

Awards and Recognitions

Fulbright Open Research Award 2021-22, Mae Scheib Scholarship for International Research, Newton W. and Wilma C. Thomas Graduate Fellowship, The William M. Bass Endowment



Watson, J. 2021 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a Tool for Positive Identification form Frontal Sinus Radiographs. Forensic Anthropology (Early View).

Turingan, R.S., Brown, J., Kaplun, L., Smith, J., Watson, J., Boyd, D.A., Steadman, D., and Selden, R.F. 2019 Identification of Human Remains Using Rapid DNA Analysis. International Journal of Legal Medicine. 134(3):863-872.

Constantinescu, M., Watson, J., Crist, T.A. 2016 Short Anthropological Report on the Bronze Age Cemetery from Hăpria. Studii de Preistorie (13):175-186



Conference Presentations:


2020           Watson, J.M. Fracture Patterns Associated with an Airplane Propeller Strike: A Case From the West Tennessee Regional Forensic Center. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, 72nd Annual Meeting, Anaheim, CA. pg. 93.


2019           Watson, J.M. Positive Identification via Frontal Sinus Morphology: A Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Approach. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, 71st Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD. pg. 104.


2013    Watson, J.M., Constantinescu, M., Crist, T. The Bronze Age Cemetery from Hăpria, Romania. American Association of Physical Anthropologists 82ndAnnual Conference, Knoxville, TN.


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