Meet the 2021 – 2022 Campus Archaeology Program GRADUATE FELLOWS

Meet the 2021 – 2022 Campus Archaeology Program GRADUATE FELLOWS

Photo by ©Nick Schrader, All Rights Reserved

In September Michigan State’s Campus Archaeology Program (CAP) archaeologists wrap up our summer field work here on campus and return to the routine of classes, personal research, and teaching that each semester brings.

The start of a new semester also means welcoming in a new cohort of CAP Graduate Fellows. We are lucky to have all five of last year’s Fellows return this year and welcome Aubree Marshall, who after working as part of our CAP Crew all summer, choose to continue as a Graduate Fellow. We are all excited to continue CAP’s mission to mitigate and protect the archaeological resources on MSU’s historic campus and to share that history and artifacts with our local, professional, and student communities.

Learn more about the CAP 2021 – 2022 staff below!

Campus Archaeologist:

Jeff sitting at a green table, hands folded



Jeff Burnett (he/him/his) is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the department of Anthropology. This will be Jeff’s second year as Campus Archaeologist. His research focuses on the archaeology of the 19th and 20th centuries and using community-based practices to explore the intersections of class and race in the construction, maintenance, and memorialization of place and space in the United States. Jeff is looking forward to working with CAP Fellows to write about and share the results of CAP’s summer field projects, to continue re-thinking outreach and work in the ongoing pandemic, and planning (fingers crossed) the CAP 2022 field school.

Campus Archaeology Program Graduate Fellows:

Ben standing in a wooded area looking at an artifact.


Benjamin Akey (they/them) is a third-year doctoral student and graduate research assistant, with an academic focus on North American historical archaeology. They received their BA in Anthropology from University of California Santa Cruz in 2018. Their personal research focuses on the intersections of identity, immigration, and labor in industrial sawmill communities of the Pacific Northwest during the early twentieth century. Benjamin joined CAP as a fellow in Fall 2019, and is looking forward to working with other CAP personnel to continue developing opportunities for creative public outreach, analyzing existing archaeological collections from campus, and performing archival research.


Jack peering out of a cave


Jack Biggs (he/him/his) is a Ph.D. candidate, specializing in Biological Anthropology and is a returning CAP fellow. His research is focused on the ancient Maya of Mesoamerica and how their cultural ideas of age, identity, and cosmology intersect and record themselves within their bones and teeth. As a big proponent of using 3D technologies to teach and show others about MSU’s cultural heritage, Jack is hoping to use this skill-set to bolster CAP’s digital outreach during the current COVID-19 crisis so that anyone can have access to the rich history beneath our feet.


Rhian taking notes at a case site



Rhian Dunn (she/her/hers) is a third year biological anthropology doctoral student, focusing in forensic anthropology. Her research interests include human variation and improving aspects of the biological profile (i.e., human identification). Rhian is starting her third year as a CAP fellow and hopes to continue getting more experience in archaeological surveying and with identifying historical artifacts. She is also interested in public outreach and archival data used to provide context for archaeological work. 




Aubree Marshall (she/her/hers) is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology, with a focus in bioarchaeology. Her research will focus on the health and diet of the ancient Maya from Belize, specifically through dental analysis. This is her first year as a CAP fellow and is excited to expand her skills on archaeological surveys and report writing, as well as public outreach in a virtual setting.


Emily in the High Andes holding a field camera

Emily Milton (she/her/hers) is a third-year dual-degree doctoral student in Anthropology and Environmental Science and Policy. Her research combines archaeology and historical ecology to study changing cultural practices in the Rocky and Andes Mountains. Emily is beginning her second year as a CAP fellow and is excited to mobilize CAP’s archaeological waste collections as a mechanism to encourage sustainable thinking and practice.


Amber Plemons: (she/her/hers) is a fifth year Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology, focusing in Biological Anthropology. This is her third year serving as a CAP fellow. Her research focuses on understanding the causative forces of human variation in craniofacial morphology, specifically the impacts of climate and genetics. Amber assisted in building a database for CAP artifacts recovered and housed at Michigan State University and aims to continue to improve and modify the database and prepare a public searchable front end for the database this year. Additionally, she will continue her work with the Girl Scouts organization to teach the future women of archaeology by creating an online platform and help with other CAP duties, such as site research, report writing, and researching the history of minorities on MSU campus.

Amber using a total station to record measurements


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