Meet the Director
Dr. Jane Wankmiller is the Director of FROST. She holds a Ph.D. in Physical Anthropology from Michigan State University (MSU), in addition to Masters degrees in Forensic Science (focus in Anthropology) and Bioarchaeology, also from MSU. Prior to arriving at NMU, Dr. Wankmiller worked for the Michigan State Police (MSP), first within the Statewide Network of Agency Photos (SNAP) Unit, where she conducted facial recognition searches for the purpose of developing investigative leads and more recently as the Unidentified Remains Coordinator in the Missing Persons Coordination Unit (MPCU). Dr. Wankmiller was also a forensic artist for the MSP, drawing composites of suspects based on witness/victim interviews and reconstructing faces of unidentified decedents to help with their identification. She is also a certified death investigator, with five years of experience as a Medical Examiner Investigator with Sparrow Forensic Pathology in Lansing, MI, and has investigated over 200 cases, involving all manners of death.
Dr. Wankmiller’s dissertation research focused on a bioarchaeological analysis of human remains from the archaeological site of Jícaro, a pre-Colombian village in northwestern Costa Rica that was occupied between AD 800 and 1350. Her Master’s thesis involved a study of positive identifications made by comparisons of antemortem and postmortem lumbar spine radiographs. Dr. Wankmiller’s research continues to focus on topics involving identification of unidentified human remains, and she hopes to return to Costa Rica to continue collaborative research with the archaeologists who conducted the excavations at Jícaro. Dr. Wankmiller is excited about her future with NMU and FROST, working with undergraduate students on innovative research projects, and building collaborative relationships with researchers and law enforcement throughout Michigan, the U.S. and abroad.
Beth Roberts serves as the Body Donation Program Manager and Lab Assistant for FROST. She received her Bachelor's in Biology with a Physiology emphasis from NMU in 2010. After two years of medical education at Wayne State University School of Medicine, where she studied Gross Anatomy with dissection, Human Pathology, and Biochemistry, she returned to the Upper Peninsula. Beth began work on her Masters of Public Health from George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health in Washington, D.C., graduating in 2016, and completing her practicum with UP Diabetes Outreach Network in Marquette. Her masters thesis work involved the study of male victims of sexual assault on college campuses and in the military. She graduated in 2016 with honors.
Beth served on the steering committee to establish FROST. She is currently a nursing student at NMU, working on her BSN, with hopes of becoming a nurse practitioner.
Dr. Scott Demel serves as the Deputy Director for FROST. He is an Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Sociology & Anthropology Department. Scott earned his BS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, his MA from the University of Illinois-Chicago, and his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a major in archeology and a minor in geology. His research interests are in the ethnic groups that have used the Great Lakes regions throughout prehistory and into the mid-19th century, along with the natural environment and cultural landscape that influenced them. Prior to coming to NMU, Scott was the Head of Collections for Department of Anthropology at the Field Museum in Chicago.
Scott's current and past courses can be found on the Sociology & Anthropology page.