As a cultural anthropologist, Dr. Hippert is fascinated by the ways that culture shapes people's thoughts, behaviors, and customs. Since 1998, Dr. Hippert has conducted anthropological research in Mexico (Summer 1998), Bolivia (2002-2009), and most recently in the Dominican Republic (Summer 2011-March 2015). Her primary research focus examines community development and food security (or the ways that people access sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to have a healthy and active life).
Every anthropologist has to conduct fieldwork in order to complete their professional training. This often includes living for long periods of time in another culture, usually far from home. In 2004, Dr. Hippert worked in a rural community outside of Cochabamba, Bolivia, a city right in the middle of the Andes mountains in South America. They lived in Huancarani (pronounced 'Wankaranee') for 18 months, working with local people to better understand their engagement in community government and development projects after a national law was passed that required them to do so. During this time, their oldest son, Eli, was born, and their family has grown with the addition of Eli's younger brother, Jonah. Dr. Hippert traveled back to Huancarani in the summer of 2009 when she directed the Ethnographic Field School in Bolivia. Dr. Hippert supervised anthropology undergrads while they conducted their own research projects in Cochabamba.
Dr. Hippert conducted another long-term research project on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic while on sabbatical for the 2014-15 academic year. Her research examines household food security among Haitian migrants who gain access to buying food on credit at local corner stores through their social networks (their family, friends, and other people that they know). She is currently writing up the results of this research as a book, tentatively entitled, "But I Am Not A Racist!" The Moral Economy of the Corner Store and Haitian-Dominican Relations in the Dominican Republic.
In March 2012, Dr. Hippert led a class of 10 UW-L students on the first Alternative Spring Break Trip to the Dominican Republic. For more information about this trip, please click here.
When Dr. Hippert is not working, she's playing with her children, traveling, camping, canoeing, running, or reading novels (her favorites are anything written by Isabel Allende, Junot Diaz, Julia Alvarez, and Edwidge Danticat).