Dr. Alexandra R. Klales, D-ABFA is an Associate Professor of Forensic Anthropology at Washburn University in Topeka, KS and leads their B.S. Anthropology (Forensics Concentration) program in the Sociology and Anthropology Department. Dr. Klales is a board-certified Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology (#123) and is a Member of the Anthropology Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. She is the founder and director of the Washburn University Forensic Anthropology Recovery Unit (WU-FARU), which completes active forensic anthropological casework for local, regional, and state agencies in Kansas and Western Missouri. She has worked on over 300 active forensic cases and has published numerous research papers in forensic/biological anthropology journals, as well as edited a volume on sex estimation in biological anthropology. She currently 1) teaches courses in biological anthropology, forensic anthropology, and the forensic sciences; 2) offers continuing education training through forensic anthropology summer short courses at Washburn University; and 3) serves as Editor of the journal Forensic Anthropology.
Dr. Klales read an article on Dr. Bill Bass and "the Body Farm" (University of Tennessee Forensic Anthropology Center) in the Philadelphia Inquirer in June of 2000, when she was a sophomore in high school. She was always interested in true crime and thought Forensic Anthropology sounded like an interesting career choice that combined her love of science and forensics. Her mom saved the article (pictured below) and it still hangs in her office today!
Dr. Klales began her undergraduate career at the University of Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh, PA and after taking a Cultural Anthropology course as a general education requirement her first semester, she decided to major in Anthropology. She graduated with a B.S. in Anthropology major with a focus in Biological Anthropology in 2006 (advisor Dr. Margaret Judd). She spent her sophomore year at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville as an Anthropology major before returning to Pittsburgh to complete her degree. During her time at Pitt she completed an internship at the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office which, in addition to her coursework, solidified her decision to pursue graduate work in Forensic Anthropology.
Dr. Klales began her Master’s Degree in Forensic and Biological Anthropology at Mercyhurst College in 2007. Under the guidance of Dr. Dirkmaat, Dr. Symes and Dr. Ousley, she had the opportunity to work on forensic cases and to conduct research in Forensic Anthropology. Her master's thesis research was on the estimation of sex using morphological traits of the pubic bone and various statistical analyses (Klales et al. 2012). She began teaching as a graduate student at Mercyhurst, first as a teaching assistant, and then later the opportunity arose to develop her own courses at Mercyhurst. From these early teaching experiences, she discovered that not only was she passionate about the field, but she was also extremely passionate about teaching and sharing that knowledge with students. Upon graduating in 2009, Dr. Klales remained at Mercyhurst for an additional year as a research fellow on two of the department’s National Institute of Justice grants on mass disaster and fatal fire recoveries. While at Mercyhurst, she also taught during their forensic anthropology summer short courses.
She then went on to the University of Manitoba to pursue a Ph.D. in Anthropology. Dr. Klales completed her Ph.D. program, under the supervision of Dr. Hoppa and Dr. Elias, in August of 2014 with the successful defense of her dissertation on “The Computed Tomography Analysis and Reconstruction of Ancient Egyptians Originating from the Akhmim Region of Egypt: A Biocultural Perspective.” During her Ph.D. studies, Dr. Klales also worked for two seasons as a field osteologist and instructor for the Slavia Foundation Mortuary Archaeology Field School Program through the Adam Mickiewicz University in Drawsko, Poland. Dr. Klales returned to Mercyhurst as a postdoctoral fellow in August of 2014 and then transitioned to an Assistant Research Professor in 2015. From 2009-2016, Dr. Klales taught Biological and Forensic Anthropology courses at Mercyhurst University, Dickinson College, Gettysburg College, the University of Manitoba, and the University of Winnipeg.
In August of 2016, Dr. Klales accepted an Assistant Professor position in Washburn University's new Forensic Anthropology B.S. Program in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. She currently teaches courses in forensic science, forensic anthropology, forensic archaeology, human skeletal biology, and human osteology. In 2017, Dr. Klales founded and directs the Washburn University Forensic Anthropology Recovery Unit (WU-FARU), which assists law enforcement and coroner/medical examiners in Kansas and Missouri on approximately 75 active forensic anthropology cases per year. Dr. Klales launched the Morphological Pelvis and Skull Sex Estimation (MorphoPASSE) program and database in 2018. In 2019, she was certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology (Diplomate #123) and in 2020, Dr. Klales was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor at Washburn University. Her first edited volume, Sex Estimation of the Human Skeleton: History, Methods, and Emerging Techniques, was published in May of 2020 by Elsevier. She currently serves as one of the editors of the journal Forensic Anthropology.
Last Updated 5 June 2020