Growing up, I never thought I would end up an archaeologist. I hated being dirty, and I didn’t particularly relish being outside in nature for extended periods of time. I thought about being something like a baker or a teacher.
Growing up with an archaeologist for a mom, I should have known better. My first archaeological memory was a trip to the Mayan ruins of Tulum when I was 11. At 12, I did a school project, which included building a scale model and writing a report, on the ancient city of Ebla.
Still, I resisted my calling for seven more years, until the winter semester of my freshman year of college. At my mom’s urging, I took an Introduction to Anthropology course, where Dr. Freund assigned us to “excavate” the trashcan of a friend. I was hooked, and the rest is history.
I began my fieldwork at the Popper Site, on Grand Island, Michigan, in 2007. It was the first time I experienced the feeling of touching something that no one had seen or touched in 4,000 years, and it was surreal.
In 2008, I wanted to try something different and found myself at Historic Fort Knox, in Maine. I discovered a whole new world of material culture from the 1700s and 1800s.
Since I enjoyed my time at Fort Knox, I moved on to excavate at the home of Frederick Muhlenberg, the first speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, in Pennsylvania in 2009, where I first experienced an excavation under the floorboards of a standing structure!
Also in 2009, I had the remarkable opportunity to help in the Stone Street Archaeological Project in Flint, Michigan. A thousand-year-old cemetery had been disturbed by bulldozers, and we were trying to recover the remains of the ancestors.
I next worked at the approximately 700-year-old Morton Village site in Illinois in 2010 (and I returned for a time in 2012), where I first discovered my love of archaeogeophysics and finally understood how physically demanding archaeology really is.
Colonial Michilimackinac was my settling point, where I started in 2010 after I returned from Illinois, and I haven’t been able to tear myself away. I love talking to the public about what we’re excavating; their enthusiasm for my work is intoxicating.
Most recently in 2013, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be on the geophysical team at the site of Bat, in Oman. Not only did I get to plan and execute geophysical surveys around a 5,000-year-old tower, but I was able to experience an amazing country that I would have otherwise never had an opportunity to visit!
In between the field seasons, I have assistant-managed the archaeological collections at Michigan State University, interned at the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing, Michigan, co-curated an exhibit at the Broad Art Museum in East Lansing, and interned in the MSU University Archives.