Monday, May 16, 2011

Alumna Profile: Rachael G. ('03) in California

I graduated from UE in 2003, and immediately began my graduate studies in Industrial Archaeology at Michigan Technological University. I spent two summers excavating at the West Point Foundry in Cold Spring, New York, and completed my thesis in May 2005.

I became a “shovelbum” after graduate school in an effort to gain more fieldwork experience. In two years, I worked for four different companies and surveyed in New Jersey, North Carolina, Kansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Indiana, and Georgia. The locations were less than glamorous, and the projects ranged from fascinating to boring. However, I met interesting people and learned something new with each project.

Mapping a dredge tailing pile in
Merced County, CA.
In May 2007, I became an archaeologist with the Indiana Department of Transportation. My responsibilities included archaeological records searches, survey, report writing, consultation with local historical groups, and documenting archaeological sites. My office time increased, but I learned how to use ArcGIS (highly recommended!) and gained a better understanding of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. However, I wanted to expand out of the Midwest, and began applying for jobs in the western United States.
In November 2009, I accepted my current position as a historical archaeologist with Garcia and Associates in Lompoc, California. In the past eighteen months, I have recorded shipwrecks along the Pacific Coast and historic farmsteads on Vandenberg Air Force Base, coordinated Phase II excavations at an oil storage facility, documented two hydroelectric power plants, and surveyed many prehistoric sites in the Owens Valley. 

Although my archaeological career is vastly different from my studies at UE, I owe my successful career to the supportive UE faculty and their high educational standards. I know the writing and presentation skills I gained as a student prepared me for the wonderful position I have today.

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