Heather McInnis, Ph.D.

Senior Program Associate

Heather McInnis is a Senior Program Associate with the Research Competitiveness Program. In this role, she provides synthetic assessment, coordination, and research and development services to RCP clients seeking to build capacity, invest, and develop strategic plans in the broad areas of science, engineering, technology, and innovation. She is a broadly trained interdisciplinary researcher with 15 years of experience designing executing grant-funded international projects, assessing impacts to cultural resources, and conducting archaeological and museum collections research in domestic and international settings. Her collaborative research approach helps her evaluate, manage, and implement proposals bridging science research and development issues.   

Prior to joining AAAS, Heather worked for DePaul University in Chicago as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology where she taught undergraduate and post-graduate courses in Environmental Anthropology and the Science of Archaeology, and served as Faculty Adviser and Sponsor to several student organizations and honorary societies.

Heather obtained her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Oregon, a M.S. in Quaternary Studies from the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Maine. Her doctoral research synthesized archaeological, paleoenvironmental, and ethnographic data to document and analyze the relationship between changing land and resource use, regional climatic fluctuations, and local environmental conditions at some of the earliest prehistoric coastal sites known in the southern coastal Andes. Her M.S. research used zooarchaeological analyses to help identify the earliest evidence for maritime adaptations in coastal South America: the results were published in Science (Science 281:1830-1832). Most recently, Heather has been studying collections of prehistoric fishing technologies, obtained from archaeological expeditions to the northern desert coast of Chile in the early 1940s and housed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, to identify variability in land and resource use over the last 7,000 years.