Digital Engagement in Museums
Museums have been increasingly using social media and other digital platforms as a tool for outreach, engagement and eduction over the last decade. My current research looks at how museums are using these platforms, the barriers and challenges faced by museum social media specialists, and novel ways that we can educate the public through these tools.
Current project: Designing a Serious Game for the George Eastman Museum
Mortuary Archaeology Dissertation
Title: Preparing their Death: Examining Co-Occurrence of Cremation and Inhumation Burial Treatments in Anglo-Saxon England (450-700 CE)
Abstract: The practice of cremation, deliberate burning of human remains, and inhumation, burial of a body without treatment, can occur within the same cemetery during the same time period. The exploration of co-occurrence as a mortuary program has the potential to address issues relating to funerary behavior from prehistory to the present. The lack of study of both forms in a cohesive manner is primarily due to the disciplinary perception that cremation is diametrically opposed to inhumation due to the differences in archaeological deposits and the theoretical approaches used. An explicit approach needs to be developed that allows for co-interpretation and data-driven study of these two burial types. Early Anglo-Saxon England is the perfect period to develop and test an approach to co-occurrence due to the presence of both burial forms within the same cemeteries from the mid-5th to late 6th centuries, numerous available collections, and that this study has the potential to aid answering broader questions of migration, identity, and religion in early Anglo-Saxon England. Five cemeteries have been selected as case studies based on access to materials, regional dispersion and presence of both burial types. The primary objective of this dissertation is to interpret co-occurrence of cremation and inhumation within early Anglo-Saxon England. The secondary objective is to use the insight gained from the case studies to propose a generalized approach towards co-occurrence.
Digital Literacy in Education
Title: Digital Digging: The impact of technology on learning and digital confidence in an undergraduate archaeology course
Abstract: The use of digital tools is becoming increasingly important within our modern Western society. However, educational institutions do not usually prepare students with the necessary digital competencies or build student confidence. This is especially true within archaeology, where digital research, mapping, social media use, website and database construction, and statistical analysis are necessary to our work. By embedding digital tools and materials into our course curriculum, we can teach students the necessary course materials, and improve their digital competency and confidence. Further, we as educators need to learn how to improve student learning by exploring online alternatives and supplements to traditional analog learning. This research assesses student digital competency and confidence, perception of digital tool use in classroom, introduces new digital tools and methods into the course curriculum, and then assesses improvements in student digital competency and confidence, and whether these types of tools improve their retention of course materials within an introductory archaeology class.
Digital Outreach and Engagement in Anthropology
Abstract: Mortuary archaeology and bioarchaeology have been elevated in the public consciousness due to recent television and news media portrayals, and this has led to the development of misconceptions and sensationalism. We, as anthropologists, need more active and engaged professionals to become public intellectuals in order to prevent misconceptions and demonstrate the importance of our research to modern populations. I have worked on a number of research projects and publications in order to discuss public communication within the broader field, and have collaborated with a range of scholars.
Cultural and Archaeological Heritage at Michigan State University
Title: MSU Campus Archaeology Program
Abstract: As part of the MSU Campus Archaeology team, I have completed excavations, research and various public outreach and engagement in order to learn more about and promote the cultural and archaeological heritage of Michigan State’s historic campus.