CAP interns where are they now-Part I
Campus Archaeology is proud that we can give undergraduate students at MSU such an intensive, hands-on experience in archaeology. Our interns are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in every aspect of archaeology, from the research, to the lab work, all the way to full-scale excavations. Because of this, our interns continue in their careers/studies with a solid background in archaeology. We always like to keep up with what our previous interns are up to and get their feedback on how well CAP prepared them for their future careers. Kaitlin Scharra and Bethany Slon are two such previous interns, check out what they are up to.
I graduated from MSU in December 2012. During the following spring and summer, I was both a Laboratory Intern and Summer Survey Crew Member with Campus Archaeology. My focus during my time as a Laboratory Intern was on creating a functional classification for the artifacts from Saint’s Rest. The aim was to create an interpretation of the collection that the public could identify and engage with. Creating this personal bridge between the artifacts and the public became very important to me at this time and is now my biggest motivation.
After deciding to move to Detroit to be closer to my family, I was encouraged to check out Wayne State University’s program by none other than Kate Frederick. I was fortunate enough to join the Unearthing Detroit project. This is a collections-based research project which reanalyzes collections recovered from the salvage digs in the mid-1900s. Our biggest and most researched collection comes from the construction of the Renaissance Center. Like the collections at Michigan State, these are historic artifacts dating to the 19th Century. They are the artifacts from family households, hotels, a marketplace, bars, and boarding homes for the working class of trade commerce on the river and the Grand Trunk Railroad. The area, which is only about the size of West Circle, tells us the story of a very diverse and continually changing community. I also have enjoyed being able to compare this urban collection to that of my work in the Campus Archaeology collection. It really illustrates the differences between urban and rural settings in the 1800s.
My main job on the Unearthing Detroit team is to develop public outreach. This means I am the one who writes our weekly blog series, develops our face-to-face programs, and is constantly interacting with the public and other programs through social media.
This fall I will be beginning my Master’s in Anthropology here at Wayne State. I will be exploring the different avenues of public outreach. I hope to discover what are the advantages and disadvantages of public outreach and work towards creating efficient and useful methods.
I had the pleasure of working with CAP for two years, but sadly I had to say goodbye to the team last month, in order to pursue my research interests. Right now I am spending five months in Central Mexico, where I am assisting a Ph.D. student from the University of California Riverside with an excavation of a pre-Aztec elite residence.
We’ve only been digging for a couple of weeks, so a lot of what we are going to find is unclear, but I can say for sure that all of my experiences with CAP have really prepared me for what I’ve been here. I’m used to being on the digging side of things, but here I was entrusted to managing my own section of the excavation. This means that I have to use everything I’ve learned with CAP to make sure everything is perfect in regards to correct archaeology. This includes setting up grid units, taking substantial field notes, and directing my crew in ways that will be most efficient to the excavation. Thankfully. Campus Archaeology has taught me everything I need to know, and I will forever be thankful for the time I got to spend with CAP. As for future plans, I’ll be applying to graduate school while in Mexico, and I hope to be entering a graduate program in the fall of 2015.