PULLMAN, Wash. — Kathey-Lee Galvin, a former doctoral student at Washington State University’s College of Liberal Arts, won an Outstanding Graduate Author Award and will have her dissertation turned into a book.

Her research, “Life after Death: An Ethnographic Analysis of Widowhood in Urban Nepal,” involved two visits to Nepal, months of on-site research and interviews with more than 50 widows in various regions of the country. Galvin, a cultural anthropologist, explored widowhood through religion; rituals and residence; and factors prominent in Nepali culture. She received a doctorate in anthropology from WSU in commencement ceremonies May 10.

“I can’t really tell you exactly how I ended up with the premise for my dissertation,” Galvin said, “but when I arrived in Nepal, I knew it was the right topic and the right place.” Hindu is the predominant religion of the country, which affects many non-Hindu Nepali families.

The Outstanding Graduate Author Award is a new WSU Graduate School recognition program in tandem with WSU Press. Each year, a doctoral student who has produced an outstanding dissertation is given the opportunity to publish research as a book. Dissertations are selected on excellence and publication merit. “Authoring a scholarly book is a critical first step toward launching an outstanding career,” said Howard Grimes, dean of the WSU Graduate School.

Galvin appreciates that being a published academic could make it easier to find a job. However, her true appreciation for the research experience lies in the knowledge she gained. “Knowing about other cultures gives us insight into our own and this knowledge can be used for developmental policy,” she said.