Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

My experiences in archaeology, public education, and Native American collaboration have inspired me to pursue a master's degree in archaeology. My career goal is to work for a federal agency to preserve, protect, and interpret archaeological sites significant to our national heritage. I am eager to solve pressing problems facing archaeology and to develop research that will help the community.

I developed an interest in community engagement, education, and Native American history as a student at the University of Virginia (UVA). In my senior year, I planned the first-ever Powwow at UVA as a member of the Native American Student Union, which motivated me to pursue a job in education and public service after I graduated from UVA. This led me to AmeriCorps, through which I served as a college adviser at Louisa County High School for two years. My role was predicated on building relationships with members of the school community, which encouraged me to pursue community-focused research as an archaeologist.

Presently, I work as an archaeologist for a cultural resource management firm in Richmond, Virginia. My job is complex and no two days are the same: on Monday, I am searching the woods of Fairfax for a forgotten Antebellum cemetery; on Tuesday, I am researching the architectural history of historic districts in Richmond. Archaeology is my passion, but I know that I want to use my skills and knowledge to effect change in my community and educate others, rather than to continue to check legal boxes for a land developer.

I will attend Cornell University beginning in August 2019. I will work with the Seneca Nation to develop and execute research meaningful to both Native and non-Native audiences. A master’s degree will assist me in becoming a leader in preserving archaeological sites and historic districts so that future generations can learn about the past and how we came to be who we are today.

Kaitlin from Virginia
Cornell University