Whether it’s solving the world’s biggest problems or investigating the potential of novel discoveries, researchers at UCF are on the edge scientific breakthroughs that aim to make an impact. Through the Research in 60 Seconds series, student and faculty researchers condense their complex studies into bite-sized summaries so you can know how and why Knights plan to improve our world.

Name: Ty Matejowsky

Position:  Professor of Anthropology

Why are you interested in this research?

As an anthropologist, I find that food is one of the most evocative and relatable ways of expressing a culture. I currently conduct research in Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, but generally my research interests include fast food, economic anthropology, globalization, urbanization, culture change and development, and disaster studies. Most recently I’ve published a book, Smothered and Covered: Waffle House and the Southern Imagery, which traces discusses the chain restaurant’s roots in established southern foodways and considers its place in American and southern popular culture.

Who inspires you to conduct your research?

My family, friends, and colleagues. I cannot express how many times informal conversations with these folks have led to new insights and research directions, ultimately, enhancing my work.

How does UCF empower you to do your research?

UCF cultivates an atmosphere of collaboration and interdisciplinarity that invigorates my research imagination and agenda.

What major grants and honors have you earned to support your research?

The UCF In-House Research Award in 2006. Over the years I’ve also received travel funds from the College of Sciences.

Why is this research important?

In a world where intentional and unintentional misunderstandings abound, my work offers on perspectives on common issues we all as humans confront, highlighting commonalities and differences related to matters of food production and consumption.