Thursday, July 29, 2010

Alumna Profile: Stephanie B. F. ('04) in Chicago

Stephanie writes about her experiences after graduating from UE in 2004.

My double major in Art History and Archaeology from UE led to a wealth of opportunities in non-profit, research-oriented work at art museums and libraries. Following my graduation from UE in 2004, I entered the graduate program in Art History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. I completed the MA in 2007 and was awarded an academic year internship at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC for the 2007-2008 academic year. At the National Gallery, I worked in the Department of Image Collections, part of the institution’s art library, and the Adult Education department, the branch of the Department of Education that managed lectures, organized study weekends, and coordinated the museum’s highly competitive fellowship and internship programs. Upon completing my internship, I worked as a graduate intern in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago and then obtained a job there as a visual resources cataloger in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, a position that built on my work in Image Collections at the National Gallery.

Today, I am Program Assistant and Spotlight Exhibitions Coordinator at the Newberry Library, a research library whose vast collections of books, manuscripts, genealogical materials, and maps focus on early modern Europe, the Americas, and the Midwest. I am half of a two-person department that manages the Library’s public lecture schedule, runs an adult education program that offers over 150 seminars each year, and oversees the Library’s two exhibit galleries. As Spotlight Exhibition Coordinator, I manage the production, installation, and de-installation of our ongoing Spotlight Exhibition series, working together with curators and conservators to produce focused exhibits that highlight treasures from the Newberry’s collections. I am also enrolled in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University and will earn my MLIS degree in 2013, with a specialty in academic libraries, particularly art libraries, and archives. This degree will build on my work at the National Gallery, the Art Institute, and the Newberry and will complement my MA in Art History. In the next five years, I hope to gain more experience working in art libraries or archives and plan to pursue a PhD in Italian art and architectural history.

Student Leah Thomas at the Sid Richardson Museum in Fort Worth, TX

This summer, I spent eleven weeks as an intern in the Sid Richardson Museum Education Department in Fort Worth, Texas. The Sid Richardson Museum is a collection of Western Art, primarily that of Frederic Remington and Charles Russell. I was fortunate to work with a very caring and encouraging staff who spent the first four weeks teaching me about museum resources and introducing me to the Sid Richardson collection. My internship project focused on a new family education program to be implemented later this year. The final product will be an iPad program consisting of an audio script, images, and sound effects. My part in the development of this program was to research two assigned artworks, write the audio scripts based on this research, and compile relevant images to appear on the iPad. I additionally created an associated Young Viewers’ Guide for each piece of art, intended for five to seven year olds. I now more fully appreciate the extensive research, editing, and time that is required to develop children’s museum programs, and am inspired to see the positive influence art can have on people’s lives.

Leah is a junior Archaeology and Art History double-major at UE.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Alumnus Profile: Jon-Paul M. ('07) in Cincinnati

Jon-Paul writes about his post-graduation experiences:

After being rejected from graduate programs in Egyptology and Near Eastern Studies, I started working as a laser printer repair technician after graduating from UE. After a few months of utter boredom, I found a position in Cultural Resource Management (CRM) with Skelly & Loy that led to a job with R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates. During this time, I worked in conditions ranging from 5 degrees and a foot of snow to 100+ degrees and forests of hand-sized spiders. After receiving advice from an Egyptologist, I left CRM to take graduate courses toward a Museum Studies certificate at the University of Cincinnati; while taking courses in Museum Studies and German language I worked ca. 70 hours per week as a convenience store clerk and an assistant to an autistic student in the Cincinnati Public Schools.

I then applied to and was accepted into the MA program in Geography with a specialty in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at the University of Cincinnati because I am interested in settlement archaeology in ancient Egypt, but I deferred until 2010 to compete for funding. During this time, I returned to CRM and worked for the Louis Berger Group and R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates once again. This time around I worked at many interesting sites, including a 17th-20th century site on the coast of Maryland, a prehistoric site in northern Florida, and a plowed mound site in Louisiana. I left CRM (again) in June 2010 to start an internship in the Cincinnati Art Museum's registration department in order to complete the requirements of the Museum Studies certificate program. As an intern, I am researching the donor history and their possible descendants for objects the museum intends to de-accession in September. I will begin classes in September toward the MA in Geography and plan to complete the degree in three quarters since I must rely solely on loans after all. In the future, I plan to apply to graduate programs in Near Eastern Studies with a specialization in Egyptology; I am interested in integrating GIS with Egyptian archaeology and studying the neighborhood and district in the urban environment of ancient Egypt.

JP spent one semester at the American University in Cairo while a student at UE.  He also excavated at the site of Khirbat al-Mudayna, Jordan.  For more information about Wilfred Laurier University's excavations at the site, click here.

Student Alexandra Cutler at Kincaid Mounds, IL

Alexandra (second from left) at Kincaid Mounds

When I arrived at Kincaid Mounds, my excavation experience consisted of digging flower beds in my mother’s garden. I had just finished my freshman year at UE and had never attended an archaeological field school. While the various terms and techniques from my class notes were still fresh in my mind, I was eager to put them into practice and make them tangible, especially at such an interesting site. Kincaid is a Native American burial ground from the Mississippian period located about an hour away from SIUC, the field school’s sponsor, in Carbondale, IL. During the four weeks I spent there, I feel that I learned more than I had in my entire life. It also reinforced everything I had already learned in my first year of college. In addition to lab time, our crew arrived on site at 7 am sharp every Monday through Thursday morning and worked on the remains of a burned communal structure until 4 pm; every Friday was a half-day. The hours were long and hot but filled with plumb bobs, trowels, and total stations – all tools I had previously never heard of but gradually learned to use under our TAs’ careful instruction. My style was soon established: I always managed to dig a couple of centimeters deeper than the prescribed measure, but my screening and troweling skills weren’t too shabby. The treasures that resulted at the end of each day justified all the hard work: daub, potsherds, flakes, points, charcoal, and – on the very last day! – two large, nearly whole animal effigy pots. After freak storms, countless sunburns, and daily sing-alongs, we left with bonds as deep as the units we dug and an experience that will benefit our careers in archaeology for a lifetime.

Alexandra is a sophomore Archaeology and Creative Writing major at UE.
To learn more about Kincaid Mounds State Historic Site, click here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Alumnus Profile: Chris P. ('05) at Fort Benning, GA

After graduating from UE with a BA in Archaeology and History, Chris Parr went on to the University of Arizona to study Classics, and received his MA in 2008. As a student, Chris excavated numerous Native American sites throughout southern Illinois, including Cahokia Mounds, as well as a Roman fort in Menorca, Spain. Now, through a contract with Panamerican Consultants, Chris serves as a Cultural Resource Site Monitor for the US Army at Fort Benning, GA. As a CR Monitor, he is responsible for protecting the installation’s 850 archaeological sites and historic cemeteries from military training and construction projects. In addition, Chris manages Fort Benning’s curation facility (an artifacts and records repository) and participates in consultations with both federally recognized Native American tribes and state historic preservation offices. When not at work, Chris Parr pursues his own research of the Creek War of 1836 in Columbus, GA and the Gilded Age in St. Louis, MO.

Student Michael Koletsos at Nemea, Greece

This summer I traveled to Greece and worked within the Sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea with a team from the University of California, Berkeley. Our team was divided into smaller groups and every three days we rotated into work at the different trenches or the museum. We opened two trenches in the Hero Shrine to determine what occurred there during the early periods of the site. We also opened a trench in search of the hippodrome that was home to the horse racing event held during the Nemean Games. I especially enjoyed creating my own interpretation of what occurred at the site at the end of the season based upon the evidence we discovered. This opportunity was truly a worthwhile experience for me because I learned more about the process of archaeology, visited many sites in Greece, and met other students from around the country with similar interests.

Michael is a junior Archaeology major at UE. More information about UC Berkeley’s excavations at Nemea can be found here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Parthenon in a Pickup

The department recently inherited a cardboard model of the Parthenon which was made for our children's school play, Happy Birthday Zeus. Dr. Thomas kindly provided his pick up truck and his labor, while Dr. Strobel's husband (and incoming English Department Chair) Professor Paul Bone assisted in the transition of the temple from Washington Ave to Lincoln Ave. Alas, no Panathenaic procession was held. Little Zeus (aka Wyatt Bone) also helped. Dr. Strobel plans to use the model in her art history survey class this fall. Notice that the Parthenon is currently being stored in the new Archaeology Lab in the basement of Hyde. Many thanks to Dr. Kaiser for letting it stay there for a bit and thanks to Dr. Ebeling for logistical assistance.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Alumna Profile: Maureen M. ('05) in South Florida

I am the crew chief of the Tribal Archaeology Section (TAS) in the Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) that works for the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The work occurs on the various Seminole reservations that are located throughout South Florida. While the work we do in TAS is similar to CRM (Cultural Resources Management), it is a unique experience since we complete the archaeological surveys specifically for the Seminoles. We conduct these surveys prior to any new construction on the Seminole reservations. Since the TAS is fully responsible for the archaeology, we also produce all the maps related to the surveys using ArcGIS. Once a project is complete, we also write the reports. My job specifically includes determining the archaeological methodology by researching the environmental and cultural factors of an area, editing the archaeological reports, and helping to make NRHP (National Register of Historic Places) determinations of sites. I particularly enjoy working in South Florida because it is a clear example of the environment playing a significant role in people’s settlement choices. While most people throughout the world settle in areas close to water, all of South Florida was once under water, making the need for dry land critical. Most of the sites in South Florida occur on hammocks, which are tiny tree islands that were once completely surrounded by water. The basic sites on these hammocks are temporary extraction camps that consist of faunal middens, and studying these sites has allowed me to enhance my skills in zooarchaeology. Working for the Seminole Tribe is an enjoyable experience that has allowed me to incorporate spatial analyses of environmental and cultural variables with archaeological fieldwork.

Maureen received her MA in Anthropology from Florida State University.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Student Joanne DeMaio at New Harmony, IN

Joanne ('11) writes about her experiences at the New Harmony excavations this summer:

I helped excavate the site of the Harmonist potter, Christoph Weber, in New Harmony. Weber moved to New Harmony with the rest of the Harmonists in 1814; his son later left the Harmonist society and became a potter himself in Illinois. One of the goals of this season was to find the kiln, and we began by digging in the backyard of a house where one of the old maps indicated the location of the Harmonist kiln. During the first couple of weeks of the dig, we didn't find much other than lots and lots of pottery, kiln furniture, and other kiln-related objects. In week three, we uncovered something that looked to be a wall. We followed the wall through four 1x1 meter units, until we lost it. Confused, we dug deeper and revealed a U-shaped structure that we believe to have been the fire box of the kiln.

More information about this project can be found on the homepage of Professor Michael Strezewski of the University of Southern Indiana.