Although it’s only been a few years since graduating from Calvin College, my archaeology minor has provided me with just the right interdisciplinary framework needed to deeply engage within archaeology in a variety of places and situations.
I transferred to Calvin in my junior year of college, where I began my archaeology minor while majoring in history, two fields I fully intended to pursue since early in high school. During my college studies, I quickly became acquainted with Prof. Bert de Vries, taking several classes under him, and eventually working in his archaeology lab as a research assistant. I participated in the 2009 and 2010 field seasons at Umm el-Jimal, Jordan, where I participated heavily with the virtual reconstruction of the site’s ruins. These experiences, combined with my Calvin education, prepared me well for the many different travel experiences I’d have with archaeology.
After graduation, I relocated to my home state of New Jersey. While there I volunteered at my state museum’s archaeology department, where I implemented archaeological site locations into their GIS database. I did not do this for long; soon after I moved again to begin work with the Illinois State Archaeological Survey on the New Mississippi River Bridge project in East St. Louis, Illinois. There I participated in the field excavation of a Mississippian Mound center, recovering the remains of a prehistoric Native American town.
My work hasn’t stopped there; it has taken me to even more places. In spring 2011 I began a season-long internship through the Student Conservation Association at Yosemite National Park. During my internship I worked under the park’s fire archaeologist, analysing and updating archaeological records on their site and GIS databases, and creating maps for their fire reports. Aside from learning much about their procedures with fire, I gained good insight into archaeology work and responsibilities at the federal level and in the national parks. I even participated in a few site survey evaluations in the park while there, despite the mostly inclement winter weather.
Currently, I’ve returned to work on the lab portion of the Mississippi River Bridge Project, where I’ve assisted with preparing the project’s immense material collection for further analysis, and digitizing the many site maps for the project’s GIS database. In the near future, I intend to enter graduate school for anthropology, where I will further my skills and interests in GIS, spatial analysis, and archaeology.