Staff and Volunteers

We have a superb group of students, volunteers and staff that take pride in the care and duties associated with the body donations and the research. We would like you to meet a few of them and learn about them.

Dr. Joan Bytheway


AARC Founder and Director Dr. Bytheway is a board certified forensic anthropologist and Professor of Forensic Anthropology. She specializes in forensic anthropology/human osteology and taphonomy with an interest in bone pathology and trauma. Her research interests are in effects of fire trauma to human skeletal remains, blunt and projectile trauma effects on the human skeleton, and non-metric anomalies of the human skeleton. Prior to joining the faculty at Sam Houston State University, Dr. Bytheway was a Forensic Anthropologist for an international project in Baghdad, Iraq involving the reconstruction and analysis of skeletal remains of individuals of the Iraqi population found in mass graves. She also has served as a peer reviewer in more than 250 forensic cases. She consults on forensic anthropology cases for multiple law enforcement agencies.

Haeli Kennedy

Lab Manager

Haeli has a BS in Criminal Justice, with a Minor in Forensic Science. She has been with the AARC since 2016, first working as a Lab Assistant, before becoming the Lab Manager. She has professional experience with search and recovery of remains, and assistance with casework. She supervises the Willed Body Donation Program, as well as the operations of the AARC. She deeply appreciates any donation AARC receives, as they are all valuable gifts.

West Ryan

Transporter-Lab Assistant

West Ryan is an Undergraduate at Sam Houston State University, with a Major in Criminal Justice with a Minor in Forensic Anthropology. He is the transporter for the AARC, helps with research, and helps with logistical/operational support. He has been with AARC since 2016, first as a student and volunteer before becoming an employee. He plans to go into crime scene investigation and to specialize in latent fingerprinting.

Jennifer Kiely

Doctoral Student

Jennifer is a doctoral student in the Department of Forensic Science at Sam Houston State University. She has been with the AARC facility since 2015 and has had the privilege of working closely with law enforcement to help solve cases and get valuable forensic anthropology experience. She also participates in training and speaking opportunities about the AARC and forensic anthropology. Jennifer's research interest include blunt force trauma to the skull, the effects of fire trauma to human bone, taphonomy, and microbial forensics. She would also like to thank each and every donor for their contribution to the AARC facility, without whom this research could not take place.