Graduated in: 1995
Degree: BS History and Anthropology
Other degree: Master of Arts from KU 2001; ADB from the University of New Mexico 2008
Current Employer: Bureau of Land Management Billings Field Office
How many times, if any, did you change your major during college?
Around 3-4 times.
My personal interests and opportunities. I started with a major in German as I’d been successful with two years of German in High School. I changed to History as a sophomore. One of the classes I chose as part of my major was Pre-Columbian Civilizations, taught by an archaeologist. Near the end of the semester, she said she’d be running an archaeological field school, which I attended. The following semester I added Anthropology as a duel major.
I took Tae Kwon Do/Judo/Hapkido from the Korean Martial Arts and Fitness Center at the east end of Aggieville for most of the years I was in college.
My first job as an archaeologist had the work related experience of the field school. I was hired by the archaeologist/professor who had run the school. Then working for her during grad school provided lots of experience for future employment.
My first jobs were opportunity and knowing the right people. For interviews, I researched common questions for the process, and went through the breadth of knowledge I have regarding the job. I also had a summary print out of my vita with key experiences and dates.
Each day I check my email, look for phone messages, and look at my calendar/lists for items for that day. My days are extremely variable. I might have a day of meetings, field work, write reports or letters, make maps, work with photos or data, or any combination of the above.
The variability of my days and working with a bunch of really great people. I’ve learned that the quality of people surrounding me at work can make or break the quality of my experience at that job.
I also am exposed to new aspects of agency work rather frequently, which is challenging (in a good way).
Think long and hard about it. Archaeology involves a lot of travel, and can mean a lot of moving around. Jobs out there for folks with only a BA are volatile. Jobs for people with the Masters can be more stable, but also might still involve a lot of travel and can take a long time to work up to.
Contacts and opportunity. Education and flexibility. Training, training, training. Finding jobs with increased complexity as my family moved around. Willingness to take jobs totally unrelated to my education/career choice as needed – odds are I can learn something from every round of employment.
I worked in a hotel for a year when we lived in a town with no archaeology jobs to be had. It was educational in terms of working with people and having to give them news they didn’t want to hear.
My husbands’ job means we’ve been moving every 2 years until recently. There were times when job prospects were slim to non-existent which required flexibility and creative thinking to find work.
I love my current job, but then again, I’ve really enjoyed my current jobs at least for the first 6 months.
I think it is important to take advantage of the college experience and attend sporting events, live in the resident halls. Don't be in a rush to "grow-up"!
Pre-Columbian Civilizations by Donna Roper changed my life because of the field school opportunity.