Craig Wilkes (he/him) is a senior from Franklin Lakes, New Jersey studying Anthropology and Statistics. This summer, Craig was able to do research in Anthropology through the SLU fellows program. His research focuses on the ways in which the Covid-19 pandemic affected funeral directors' work and the mourning process. This topic was inspired by an Anthropology course that covers how people and cultures deal with death, and was developed with the help of his faculty mentors.
As of September 2021, over 650,000 Americans have lost their lives to the Coronavirus, and the lock-down has affected so many aspects of our culture (New York Times, 2021). Specifically, the funeral industry was heavily affected and barely given much recognition (Zavattaro, 2020). The goal of this project was to explore the challenges faced by funeral directors and mourners alike in times of mass casualty. To assist with this, I spent most of my research period reviewing recent literature online as well as various media forms, such as YouTube and TikTok regarding both the experiences of funeral directors and mourners throughout the pandemic.