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