Thursday, March 28, 2013

2012 Graduate Kaman Law at the Evansville Museum

For those of you who know me well, you know I like to keep myself busy. Graduation was on Saturday, May 5th and I was already back to work on Monday, May 7th. But no complaints…I am fortunate to be gainfully employed at the Evansville Museum.

Between May and August of 2012, I stepped in as the Acting Registrar while the Museum Registrar was on maternity leave. During those months, in addition to my duties as Staff Assistant, I also took on the Registrar’s responsibilities. I organized paperwork related to loans and gifts, monitored the museum’s collection storages, oversaw the museum’s re-housing project, managed the entries and advertisements of the museum’s Annual Mid-States Art Juried Exhibition, coordinated shipping arrangements for three art exhibitions, and installed five art exhibits and one history exhibit. The list goes on and on.

When the Registrar returned from maternity leave, I resumed my position as the Staff Assistant. My duties mainly lie within the Curatorial Department, but occasionally I get called to the Education Department and the Marketing and Development Department (hence my title). I enjoy my job immensely because every day is a little different - one day I will be traveling to a location to pick up art loans, another day I will be vacuuming textiles, and other days I will be installing exhibits. However, the re-housing project is my favorite task. Since the completion of our new collection storage facility, we have been meticulously going through every object, making sure that they are properly numbered and documented. In doing so, I get to research about the objects and custom made archival storage boxes.

Besides staying busy at the museum, I am also keeping up with my study of collection management. I am currently attending a series of online courses about the preservation of archival and historical collections called Caring for Yesterday’s Treasures – Today through the Heritage Preservation: The National Institute of Conservation.

I certainly enjoy life after graduation. It is great not having to go to class every day, do homework or study for exams. And it is even better that at the end of the day I can just kick back and be a couch potato. But all jokes aside, in October of last year, it suddenly dawned on me one day that this is all there is to life as an adult: you go to work, get home, eat, sleep, and you go to work again the next day. I was not impressed by that thought at all. So I decided to pick up a hobby. Right now I am working on crocheting scarves, throws, hats, doilies, etc. It keeps me occupied and I love it. I guess what I am trying to say is; don’t stop learning just because you are out of school. There are many things out there to learn and do. You might surprise yourself with what you can accomplish.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lauren Weingart ('12) at the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library

After my May 2012 graduation, I was itching to explore a career interest in library science. I was extremely fortunate to be hired by the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library as a Digital Projects Processor, a grant-funded position in which I learned much of the digitization process. Working with local World War II-era materials, I did everything from scanning, to cataloging, to research, and many steps in between. The position has allowed me to learn valuable skills and given me an insider’s view of some of the daily operations at the center of Evansville’s Five-Star library system. It has been a wonderful learning experience, and I have enjoyed every step of this project. I gain a great deal of satisfaction from the knowledge that I have assisted the library in making its materials more accessible to the public and easier to use for researchers.

Lauren at the scanner.
During my time at the library, I have digitized thousands of World War II-era photographs, newsletters, and posters. I have also had the opportunity to research Evansville’s war industries, and in April I will be speaking about the experiences of Evansville’s African-American community during the World War II. Those interested in perusing the Evansville in World War II Digital Archive can find the collection here. History enthusiasts who will be in the Evansville area in March and April are invited to attend Central Library’s WWII Speaker Series, lectures organized to celebrate the Evansville in World War II Digital Archive going online. The line-up can be found here. I hope that the faculty, alumni, and students of the Department of Archaeology and Art History will consider attending these lectures. I will be presenting my research, “’This is Our War’: Evansville’s African-American Community and the Second World War” on April 23. Other upcoming speakers include local history author Harold Morgan and USI’s Archivist and Special Collections Librarian, Jennifer Greene. I hope to see some familiar faces in the crowd!

One of the images in the collection.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dr. John Wineland to speak on archaeology in Jordan

I am pleased to annouce that Dr. John Wineland, Professor of History and Archaeology at Kentucky Christian University, will present The Archaeology of Ancient Jordan: Highlights and Treasures of an Ancient Crossroads tonight, March 25, at 7:00 in SOBA 173. Dr. Wineland has excavated in Jordan since 1984, primarily at the sites of Abila of the Decapolis and Khirbet Mudaybi in Central Jordan. All are invited to attend.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sophomore Miranda A. wins Gumberts' Award

Congratulations to major Miranda Amey, who received the Gumberts' Award in the 51st Annual Student Art Exhibition at the Melvin Peterson Gallery on the UE campus. Stop by the gallery and cast your vote for the People's Choice Award, which will be annouced after the exhibit closes on April 5. Miranda has three pieces in the show!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Less than one year after graduation: Elizabeth Bostelman ('12) at the Indiana War Memorial

After graduation, I went straight to work at a pool and spa store, Bradbury’s Waterin’ Hole, in my hometown. Since then the girl who hates chemistry has been learning all about balancing pH and keeping the right chlorine levels in pools and spas. I work mostly on the retail floor, a new experience for me.

Elizabeth would like to sell you a spa.
After the insanity of the summer was over, I realized I needed something to feed my brain so I enrolled in Penn State’s World Campus program. I’m currently about three quarters of the way through a graduate certificate in GIS. It has been really interesting and I am learning lots of new skills! I’m also staying “in the field” by volunteering on my day off at the Indiana War Memorial. The current project I’m working on is researching 400 Army Special Forces flashes and ovals, which unit they belonged to, when they were worn, etc. It’s been a very interesting project. The next project I’m hopefully going to work on is creating a database of all the WWII Hoosier veterans. I researched UE veterans from the Civil War to Afghanistan and Iraq for my senior honors’ project, and I presented the results at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research last year.

The Indiana War Memorial
My long-term plan is to continue to work at Bradbury’s for another full year and enroll in a graduate program by fall 2014. I’m still trying to decide what kind of program I want – Classical Archaeology will always fascinate me, but I’ve really enjoyed all the work I’ve done with Military History – so I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what program accepts me!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

2012 Graduate Leah Thomas at UNC Chapel Hill

Since graduating from the University of Evansville in May 2012, I have moved to North Carolina, where I am completing my MA in Art History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While graduate school is often lonely, always stressful, and full of panic moments, it is also an incredibly rewarding experience. I have already had the opportunity to significantly broaden my knowledge base through coursework ranging in topic from Tudor portraiture to Andalusi Umayyad art to the art of the Russian Revolution. I have also been active in the organization and implementation of the Art Department’s Rand Lecture Series as part of my graduate assistantship. This has given me practical experience in event planning and allowed me to interact with several Medieval and Early Modern studies scholars.

In particular, the seminar on Tudor portraiture allowed me to explore my two primary interests: the museum field and sixteenth-century art. The course was predicated on a collaboration between UNC Chapel Hill and the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) in Raleigh, where a group of late Tudor and Jacobean portraits had recently been removed from storage for cleaning. Since the portraits had received little previous scholarly attention, each member of the seminar focused her research on a particular portrait for the duration of the semester. This research was supported by direct access to the portraits in the museum’s conservation lab and individual consultation with Dr. Tarnya Cooper, Chief Curator and Sixteenth-Century Curator at the National Portrait Gallery in London, during her visit to the NCMA. At the end of the semester, each of us presented an abbreviated version of our research to the museum staff and docents.

Leah (third from right) after giving a presentation at the North Carolina Museum of Art last fall.
This summer, I am very excited to have the opportunity to continue to explore this portrait group as research assistant to Dr. Tania String, the professor who taught the seminar. I will spend a short time at the Yale Center for British Art, and then continue to London for about a month to utilize the archives of the National Portrait Gallery to develop a more specific understanding of the portrait group’s provenance, contributing artists, and sitters. This research will contribute to a future NCMA exhibition of the portraits, as well as the accompanying catalog publication. The rest of my summer will be spent formalizing my research, studying for my MA exams, and visiting my parents in Texas.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Josephine Curtis ('12) at cMoe

Since one week before graduating from UE nearly a year ago, I have been working as a Play Guide at the Koch Family Children’s Museum of Evansville (cMoe). I held an internship at the museum during my senior year, and I was fortunate to be offered this position immediately after the internship ended. As a Play Guide, I interact with visitors, help keep the museum clean, and get to play as well. I was promoted to Birthday Host in January, and now I help plan and prepare hosted birthday parties at the museum. I’m also planning other special events, including scout workshops. When I started in May, I was not expecting to stay here for close to a year, but now I am glad that I have remained at cMoe. In addition to meeting many people, I have had the opportunity to visit the Magic House in St. Louis, dress up as several of Evansville’s mascots at special events, and experience my first Evansville Icemen (Evansville’s pro hockey team) game.

Josephine (center) works an Evansville Museum event last year as a representative of cMoe.
I encourage anyone who wants to volunteer or intern at cMoe to apply. I love working here, and my experiences have made me more excited about continuing my education in museum studies with a concentration in museum education. I am on track in paying back my loans within two years of graduating, and I’m able to keep my living costs low by not owning a car and taking the bus to and from work. In the next year I’ll take the GRE and continue my graduate school research; I’m looking into studying on the west coast or in Texas to experience other parts of the U.S.

Senior Ben O. wins research award

Benjamin Ollestad, senior Archaeology and Sociology- Anthropology specialization double major, was presented with the inaugural Hanns G. Pieper Sociology and Criminal Justice Senior Research Award. Ollestad's research, entitled "Infidelity among College Students" was selected from a competitive field of senior research projects from Sociology and Criminal Justice majors. This award is named in honor of Dr. Hanns G. Pieper, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, for his dedication to promoting independent student research in Sociology and Criminal Justice. Congratulations, Ben!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Melanie Miller ('12) at the First Division Museum

Life the year after graduation is filled with great expectations as well as disappointments, and several curveballs. My summer after graduation started out exactly as I wanted: excavating several ancient Maya sites in Belize and gallivanting across Central and North America. Then I returned from my post-graduation honeymoon and had a long-delayed appointment with reality. I was near broke, living at home, and frantically searching for an archaeology-related job to no avail. Practicality arising from a desperate need for cash flow forced me to widen my job-search net landing me in the world of retail. After being offered positions in everything from hardware to eye-care to electronics, I finally ended up as a sales consultant for cell phones at Best Buy Mobile. Many of you who know me will find great irony in this: the girl with the brick flip phone who just got texting this past summer and is one of the least tech-savvy people when it comes to smartphones now makes much of her living from selling phones.

I still wanted to do something that was archaeology or museum related so I decided that if no paid positions were open, then volunteering was the best avenue. I quickly discovered that unlike requests for paying jobs, people rarely turn down the offer of free labor and respond to your inquiries much faster. I chose to volunteer at a local war museum, the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park, where I helped in the digitization of hundreds of original documents and artifacts from WWI to the Iraq War. After volunteering over 50 hours in four months’ time, the museum encouraged me to apply for a paid internship position in the archives department. This was rather unexpected, but it proves that just getting your foot in the door can lead to greater opportunities. I have been working as an intern since February and am in charge of cataloguing and reorganizing thousands of documents and artifacts from a donation that fills 25 teetering banker’s boxes. The challenge I face now is balancing three jobs, as I still work at Best Buy and consistently babysit, which makes for a few twelve-hour work days and work weeks of nearly 60 hours. I am also studying for the GRE, which I am set to take next month. The best advice I can give on that is to take the GRE as early as possible so it is not looming over you!

Although my life mostly consists of work, study, and sleep when there is time, I can already see the benefits of my hard work. Clearly, the internship is one of them, but the money I saved from working three jobs is allowing me the opportunity to participate in another archaeological dig this summer, the Jezreel Expedition. This fall I will apply to grad schools for Mesoamerican archaeology while continuing to work. In short, while life after graduation may find you living back at home with a non-archaeology-related job, do not worry or give up. Instead, concentrate on preparing for grad school, save the money you earn for something to strengthen your archaeology resume such as field schools or conferences, and stay involved in something archaeology related, whether it is a class or volunteering, to help prevent you from losing focus or desire to go back to school for archaeology. And for those moments when you feel discouraged, sit back, drink a root beer, and watch the fourth Indiana Jones movie to reinvigorate your fervor to educate the public that aliens have nothing to do with archaeology and to put on your fedora once again.

Less than a year after graduation: Kelly Goodner at the Explorium

It’s hard to believe that I graduated college less than a year ago. I decided to take a year off between undergrad and grad school and I am really glad that I did. After graduation I was able to relax for a few weeks and prepare for my trip to Israel to participate in the Jezreel Expedition (I recommend this to all current and prospective UE students!). I also spent considerable time sending out resumes and cover letters in hopes of securing a job when I returned from Israel and my side trip to Jordan.

When I returned to the States, I was fortunate enough to get a job interview with a local children’s museum - the Explorium of Lexington - and was offered a position in visitor’s services. My job involves working with visitors of all ages as well as cleaning and maintaining the museum. During the fall of 2012, I also had the opportunity to complete an internship with the program director at the museum. This allowed me to help plan the museum’s weekly programs. It also gave me the opportunity to design an archaeology-themed scavenger hunt and alter the museum’s “Dino Dig” exhibit and turn it into an “Archo Dig” exhibit for National Archaeology Day.

As far as my future goes, I am returning to Israel this summer to again take part in the Jezreel Expedition, which I am really excited about. I also plan to travel to a few places in Europe after the field season is over. In the fall I will be attending graduate school to complete a master’s degree in museum studies. The education and experiences I received at the University of Evansville have prepared me for both the real world and graduate school.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Megan Anderson ('12) at Texas A&M

Megan works on her SCUBA skills.
Down at Texas A&M, I've spent almost a year climbing up the steep learning curve that the Nautical Archaeology Program (NAP) throws at its first-year students.  Having not taken time off between undergraduate and graduate studies, I am one of the young students in the department. However, with the solid preparation I received through the archaeology program at Evansville and my previous underwater excavation experience, I haven't felt unprepared for the challenge. So far I have learned how to draft ship lines and construction drawings (and in the course of doing so I learned that 68 hours without sleep is about the limit a person can go); how to prepare and give thirty-minute presentations on a weekly basis; and that a twenty-page paper is "a bit short." I've also spent quite a bit of time working at the Conservation Research Lab, helping to record barrel staves and other interesting bits recovered from shipwrecks. The NAP has a very strong emphasis on hands-on learning, and this semester I am enrolled in a scientific diving course in order to gain familiarity with all of the equipment and techniques used in underwater excavations and become a better diver in general. This summer I will be participating in the Burgaz Harbors Project in Turkey run by Dr. Elizabeth Greene in collaboration with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA). Information on this and other INA projects can be found at