(March 1, 2016)—This is the second of two posts checking in with a few of our recent field school alumni to see what they’re up to now. Although we’ve been focusing on anthropological career paths in this series, I’ve also enjoyed watching many former students go on to apply their field school skills and experiences to other professions. Sometimes these connections are obvious, as students choose careers like GIS technician or paleontologist. Others take paths that involve outdoor skills, teaching, teamwork, and research of every kind imaginable.
One of the field school experiences I look forward to every year is watching students discover new abilities, like the many dedicated urbanites who have embraced living in a tent and showering outdoors, or the willowy Canadian model who discovered mad skills with a pickaxe. Today’s post shows how a few more of our recent students have been using their own impressive skill sets since we saw them last.
Danielle Gilbert, Arizona State University (2014 field school)
It is hard to believe that it has only been about two years since I attended field school in 2014. I feel like so much has happened since then, and most of it I can attribute to the experiences I gained in New Mexico. I fell in love with excavation, and after hearing Sarah Herr’s lecture on Cultural Resource Management (CRM) when she visited our camp, I knew that I wanted to be a field archaeologist. I graduated from Arizona State University in December 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology (emphasis on Archaeology), and immediately went into the field.
I worked as an Assistant Curator of Anthropology on the Eagle Park Project in Mesa, Arizona, with Dr. Jerry Howard identifying and profiling Hohokam canals. For the past two seasons, I have been an Assistant Crew Chief to Dr. Howard for his field school at Mesa Grande. In this position, I have the pleasure of sharing the knowledge I have gained with aspiring archaeologists from Mesa Community College. My largest project thus far has been working on a Hohokam site in Queen Creek, Arizona, with Archaeological Consulting Services, Ltd., a CRM firm in Tempe, AZ. For this project I literally used every bit of experience I gained in New Mexico, including excavation techniques, mapping, profiling, artifact and feature identification, survey, and lab techniques—to name a few.
My next project will be surveying a mine area near Bagdad, Arizona, and I couldn’t be more excited to be back in the field! I am looking forward to attending graduate school soon where I will be studying Applied Archaeology. Who knows? Maybe someday I can run my own CRM firm!
Alexandra Covert, Hobart and William Smith College (2014 field school)
I graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in the spring of 2015 with a BA in Anthropology. This past summer I worked as an archaeological intern at Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook, Arizona. I was lucky enough to work with one of my close friends and fellow field school alumnus, Max Forton, as we surveyed the backcountry for previously unrecorded prehistoric and historic sites. Through this internship, I was able to conduct my own research project on shell trade and present it at the Pecos Conference in Mancos, Colorado, in August. I will also be presenting an updated version of this poster at the Society for American Archaeology’s Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, in April.
This past fall and winter I was a cultural resource intern at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Coolidge, Arizona. I conducted site condition assessments on prehistoric sites and surveyed for previously unrecorded historic sites. I also volunteered at the Arizona State Museum Archaeological Repository in Tucson, Arizona, where I conducted museum cataloging, record keeping, and data management with another friend from field school, Riley Duke. The lithics and ceramics lab work at field school really helped me when identifying artifacts at the repository.
Starting in March, I will be an archaeological monitoring intern with the Southeast Utah Group in Moab, Utah, which consists of Canyonlands and Arches National Parks and Hovenweep and Natural Bridges National Monuments. I will be conducting backcountry site monitoring at this internship. I hope to be attending graduate school in the southwest in the fall to achieve a Master’s degree in Archaeology.
My experience at field school shaped who I am as an archaeologist. I learned that studying Southwestern archaeology is what I want to do in life. Not only did I learn essential skills for excavating, laboratory work, survey, and public outreach, but I also gained wonderful friends and colleagues and made connections that have helped further my career.
Alexandra Norwood, Arizona State University (2015 field school)
I am in my junior year getting my bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University, majoring in anthropology and geology. One of the most important skills I developed at field school was designing and conducting an experiment then presenting the results to the public. Last month, I presented my field project—making ceramic paint from black walnuts—at the Southwest Symposium and was really glad to have the experience presenting my research in a formal setting.
Since field school, I have received a scholarship from the Origins Project at ASU to work with Dr. Michael Smith on an independent research project. My project focuses on the relationship between formal public assembly space (plazas and marketplaces) and governance in a number of preindustrial cities from several different cultural traditions. Basically, I want to know how the collectiveness of a government impacts the layout of the city and the lives of the people through the control of space. I’m looking forward to presenting this research at several symposia in the coming year, and I am so glad that the Preservation Archaeology field school was able to bring important professional skills like research presentation a little further into my comfort zone, as well as connect me with really incredible friends and mentors who can support me in these endeavors!