Hannah is a third year graduate student interested in the reciprocal relationship between social, environmental, and physiological interactions in health and development. Specifically, she is interested in studying how conditions of prenatal environment, including maternal experience through nutrition and psychosocial stress, shape fetal development and long-term health risks. More broadly, she is interested in the ways cultural understandings, practices, and care shape biology and experience.

Hannah’s master’s thesis analyzed how care shapes mode of delivery outcomes in Ecuador, where the rate or cesarean section has risen sharply in recent decades. Her dissertation research will examine prenatal psychosocial stress in women in the Galapagos and its effects on infant HPA axis development. Read more about Hannah’s projects here!

On campus, Hannah is a member of the Human Biology Lab. She is also a Predoctoral Trainee at the Carolina Population Center.

Areas of Interest: Ecuador, Cuba


MA, Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 2016.

Thesis: Social and Economic Change and Rising Rate of Cesarean Section Deliveries  in Ecuador

BA, Anthropology, Northwestern University. 2012.

Thesis: Socialism and Self-Interest: Understanding Cuba’s Infant Mortality Rate

Abstract Presentations

2016                JR Jahnke, KM Houck, ME Bentley, AL Thompson. Social and economic change and rising rate of caesarean-section deliveries in Ecuador. Poster presented at the Human Biology Association 41st Annual Meeting. April 2016. Atlanta, Georgia.