Chelsea Shields Strayer

Our Students

Chelsea Shields Strayer

strayerMatriculated September 2005

Chelsea Shields Strayer completed both the biological and cultural coursework requirements and the PhD qualifying exam in 2008. Chelsea recently returned from conducting her dissertation research on the interactions between biology and culture in Asante indigenous religion and ritual healing ceremonies in Ghana, West Africa, and has cumulatively spent over 23 months conducting fieldwork in Ghana. Chelsea is interested in the dialectical interrelationship of biology and culture in stress and relaxation responses, placebo studies, epigenetics, and the evolutionary psychology of religion. She is currently writing her dissertation.

Chelsea’s research explains why the Asante people of Ghana incorporate ritual drumming into their traditional healing ceremonies, and its potential implications on Western medicine. View a feature article on Chelsea’s research: Body Beat.

View Chelsea’s blog.


  • Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
  • Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Grant
  • Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship