Summer 2020 Online Practicums

With the current pandemic, some anthropology seniors are questioning how they will complete the required 3 credit hours in ANTH 3398 (Internship) or ANTH 3397 (Practicum). If you’ve been struggling to find an internship this summer, our amazing faculty would like to offer the following research projects as online practicums (ANTH 3397) that can be completed this summer.

Please reach out to the individual faculty member listed if you are interested in their project. Registration for ANTH 3397 will only be made available after you coordinate with that professor.

Available Projects

The Effectiveness of Indigenous Peacebuilding in Indigenous Context through an analysis of the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) with Dr. Brandon Lundy. Email Dr. Lundy for more information and check out his faculty web page.

Anthropology Community Outreach and Education with Dr. Teresa Raczek. Email Dr. Raczek for more information and check out her faculty web page.

•       Document public anthropology education projects

•       Create fun and educational activities to teach anthropology to the public

•       Learn about anthropology pedagogy

Alumni Outreach with Dr. Teresa Raczek. Email Dr. Raczek for more information and check out her faculty web page.

•       Interview alumni and write a series of articles for our Dept. website

•       Gain interviewing and writing skills

•       Explore interesting careers

South Asia Archaeology Radiocarbon Analysis with Dr. Teresa Raczek. Email Dr. Raczek for more information.

•       Contribute to radiocarbon database using published data

•       Learn about 3rd millennium BCE archaeological sites

•       Learn how to do simple analyses of radiocarbon data

Visual and Media Analysis of a Global Pandemic: Ethnographic Perspectives on Community Responses with Dr. Debarati Sen.

Professionalism in Anthropology with Dr. Alice Gooding. Email Dr. Gooding for more information and check out her faculty web page.

GIS and Archaeology are the Perfect Find at Leone Hall Price Park

Evan Lofton

Starting in August of 2019, I got an internship where I was tasked with performing archaeological research at Leone Hall Price Park. The purpose of this research was to establish a timeline of occupation for the park, as well as make maps showing where artifacts and features have been found in relation to the existing trail system. Throughout this blog, I will discuss what I did during my internship so that you can know what to expect when you finally get your own.

Starting the Research: Fieldwork

Starting thWorking in the field is a great, yet physically demanding opportunity. It allows you to get out and see where the people lived and find amazing artifacts first hand, it really lets you feel closer to the people who lived at the site you are studying. Always keep in mind however that all fieldwork has its difficulties. You can get caught in the rain, have to wade across a body of water, or be stuck in the cold. Even in the picture above where it looks beautiful, the temperature was in the mid-90’s and it was extremely humid. At times, discovering artifacts is as easy as walking along a riverbank. After a heavy rain, artifacts such as this could be washed downstream and left in plain sight. This is not to say that you don’t need to pay attention however, as many artifacts are small and difficult to see. Other times, finding artifacts requires you to get dirty. This fragment of a projectile point was found by climbing down into a pit near by the river created by an uprooted tree. Although more difficult to get to, artifacts like these have the advantage of being closer to where they were originally left than those found in the river.

Figuring it All Out: Labwork

            Between the days working in the field, I was in the archaeology lab sorting and typing artifacts. This process is among the most time consuming, yet vital steps in understanding a site, it allows you to get a rough estimate for the age of a site, as well as gain an understanding of role of the site in trade if you find items originating form far off. Be aware however that working in the lab takes multiple hours of looking at artifacts and referencing books to make any progress. It is often said that an hour of fieldwork produces enough artifacts for a week of labwork. Some seemingly unassuming artifacts can be the most fascinating. Prior to analyzing this artifact, the oldest artifacts from Price Park were from the Early Woodland, 3000 years ago. Now the time for earliest human occupation at the site has been pushed back to 7500 years ago. At other times, the information offered by an artifact is limited. Alkaline glazed pottery such as the artifact pictured above became common in the South starting sometime in the 1800’s and is still produced today in some areas. Although this piece can tell us that the park was occupied by Americans sometime between the 1800’s and when the property was granted to Cobb County, what period it is from cannot be determined.

Last Step: Making the Maps

            Although most people with an anthropology internship will not have to do any mapping, those who are also getting a certificate in GIS would be wise to combine the two internships to make the workload easier. Collecting data with ArcCollector can show where artifacts and features are concentrated. This can then be used to for a number of different things, such as where people are likely to have lived within a certain site. This will require hours of sitting at a desk and adjusting the map to make it look good, but the information you gain from it is worth it. Below is the official trail map, made by the Friends of Price Park.

Deep Roots in Georgia: The Root House Museum

Sara Allen

I was an unpaid intern at the Root House Museum. My time there started in August, while the house was still dressed for summer. The first month at the Root House, I was given a docent manual and became acquainted with everyone that worked there at the time. I was given a lot of freedom with my time spent there. The executive director allowed me to choose what I spend my time doing as an intern at the Root House. I was provided access to resources that the museum already had, and then the rest of time was independent research. The atmosphere at the museum is very easy-going; help with projects was always requested and never pressed.

I think this the benefit that comes from working with a museum that relies somewhat heavily on volunteer work- the executive director and program coordinator avoid asking too much from their unpaid workers. Although I requested not to lead museum tours, I sat in during some of them to learn more about what a docent has to do as well as the typical visitors to the Root House Museum. Most of the visitors that I saw while I was there were either retirees or school aged children.

Aside from research and giving tours, a lot of the work at the museum involves arranging furniture and prepping for events. The room exhibits change almost every month, so furniture and décor have to be carefully moved around and arranged. The museum will host events, usually as an avenue to raise more money, and this also involves arranging tables and decorations in the garden. Otherwise, if you’re on the clock you might be asked to help sweep and dust. The Root House Museum is a good place for potential interns that want quiet, self-driven work. The other draw of the Root House is that the exhibits there touch a broad amount of subjects. The museum represents history, local history, business in 1800’s, the middle class during the 1800’s, horticulture and pharmacy, race, religion and gender. There are a lot of opportunities at the Root House for deeper studies into any of these subjects and more. The Root House Museum has connections to other local historians, other museums, and other historical societies. This museum is actually a very good place for people looking to make connections with other historical museums. It’s also a good place to learn how smaller scale museums maintain their exhibits, and turn out a profit.

The drawbacks of the museum start with the fact that internships will be unpaid. People who want more direction in their work, especially people who need consistent feedback, may not find the Root House as relaxing as I did. The days spent at the Root House are very slow, and some people need an environment where they constantly have something do and this just isn’t an environment that will keep anyone on their toes. Also research projects involve dead ends and this can be potentially frustrating for some people.

Of Teeth, Trilobites, and Tellus

Elisabeth Peulausk

It was late in the summer when I realized that in order to graduate in December, I needed to find an internship. After attempting to contact all of the museums within drivable distance of my home Ryan Roney, the curator from the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, GA, was kind enough to contact me and say that I could follow him around for 150 hours. The focus of the Tellus is geology, paleontology and technology, which might sound like an odd fit for a student majoring in anthropology. My goal, however, is to eventually become a curator, and this internship exposed me to many of the different facets of what a career in curation would entail. These “real world” experiences have not dissuaded me in my choice of career at all, so you know that the internship must have been a good one.

            What I appreciated most about my internship at Tellus were the varied tasks and situations to which I was exposed. For example, I was able to be involved in taking down an exhibit and setting up a new one in its place. I attended several different kinds of meetings with museum personnel, spoke with professionals in various positions in the museum sector, took a tour with staff members around the rarely seen parts of the Tellus given by the museum’s director and attended educational talks in the theater during Mercury’s transit in November. We went to visit the Booth Western Art Museum and tour their collections storage and to the Bartow History Museum and accompanying archives both of which, like Tellus, are part of parent organization Georgia Museums Incorporated. When opening a drawer or a box in collections storage you might find a megalodon tooth to touch or a radioactive geological specimen in a container marked with a chili pepper to not touch. On any given day you might have an impromptu presentation on photographic techniques from one of the world’s foremost photographers of mineralogical specimens or take pictures of staff members during their comical attempt to dress a mannequin of one of the Wright brothers after his suit was dry cleaned.

Although most days are filled with opportunities to move around and experience new things, there are tasks that have to be completed that can be repetitive and sedentary and these come in the form of computer work. The program used by the Tellus, as well as many other museums, is called PastPerfect and every specimen in the collection has an entry. In order to make each piece in the collection searchable, each entry has to be correct and there has to be standardization regarding what information goes into which field. These tasks were a relatively small part of my activities at the Tellus, however, and it did allow me to learn how to use a collections management program – an essential skill for anyone wanting to pursue museum work.

Aside from the myriad of smaller duties in which I was involved, the main ongoing curatorial project is that of a collections review. Simply put, it is the process of going through the entire collection, which is made up of thousands of objects, and making sure that things are where they are supposed to be and can easily be found. Updates in nomenclature and location are made in PastPerfect, and some objects might be deaccessioned (removed from the collection) or moved to a special collection for use by those interested in doing research. Pulling objects out of storage is always an adventure, as you have no idea what they will look like until you locate them. Many of them are pretty cool! I never thought that I would have a favorite mineral, but the aesthetic properties and greenish-blue hue of dioptase is very pleasing.

            For anyone wanting to pursue work in a museum I would highly recommend an internship at the Tellus. It is a beautiful facility filled with delightful people who are very willing to help you learn the ins and outs of museum work. It was often said to me that, when looking for a job, there is no substitute for experience.

Grounded in History: Museum of History and Holocaust Education

Rebecca Ruggles

For my last fall semester at KSU, I interned at the Museum of History and Holocaust Education right here at the university. I worked with their curator Adina Langer researching and helping with upcoming projects for the museum. There I learned how much effort went into each exhibit that was on display within the museum.  Working at the museum proved to be a very fast paced and on the go environment especially when October rolled around, as that was when field trips from school would be scheduled to visit for tours. There were quite a few tours going on every week and the museum staff would often be out of the office visiting school with traveling trunks or mobile exhibits.

 I also helped with giving tours, but as a support role. I aided the docent giving the tour and assisting children with their work. I also transcribed an interview that was part of the ongoing project at the Museum of History and Holocaust Education called the Legacy Series Oral History Program. I was also working on setting up exhibits by researching information, helping create panels, and setting up display cases which .  I also tried to participate in many of the events they had going on such as their docent training, where they trained volunteers to be docents, and home school day, where children who are home schooled are visiting.

This was an amazing experience that I would recommend for others to do if they have the opportunity. I felt that working at the museum helped hone my research skills and let me see how I could potentially apply them in a workplace. I also learned a lot about the dynamics of a work environment for a museum and what it takes to be successful. Everyone I worked with was very nice and very knowledgeable in their work. If you decide to work here do try to interact with everyone, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and participate in events!

Field School in Archaeology Pays Off in CRM

Samuel Sims

My very last act as a Kennesaw State University undergraduate was to fulfill my internship requirement. I chose to intern as a field technician at Edwards-Pitman Environmental Inc. (EPEI) over the summer. It was exactly the hands on experience that I was hoping to gain.

Edwards-Pitman is a cultural resource management (CRM) firm that works mostly in Georgia. Being in archaeology class you often hear about CRM and if you have Dr. Terry Powis, it comes up often, due to his background in the field. Dr. Powis’ field school is even CRM based and that gave me a small taste of what it is like. But I must advise you, doing actual CRM work is like Dr. Powis’ field school but in overdrive and turbocharged! This internship allowed me to see first hand what all the hoopla was about.

Being a CRM field tech can be very fast paced and is almost always rugged. You may be walking behind sound barriers which haven’t been visited by a human being since they were erected. Or maybe it’s rural Georgia and you must trudge through thick vegetation only to run into a stream you must fjord. Or perhaps you are walking along a noisy interstate, feeling the full force of the sun for several miles. I say all this not to scare anyone away, but to give a real sense of what the hardest parts of the job entail. On the flip side, there are easy days. Often, large portions of shovel test are in paved, developed areas and those are simply written off as undigable. Other times you have ample time to do all the shovel tests for the day and you take frequent long breaks. Regardless of the work situation, the crew chiefs are very considerate of your well being and take environmental conditions into account.  This summer was freakishly hot with regularly high humidity, so the crew chiefs were regularly checking in with their techs, taking regular breaks and making sure everyone was hydrated.

The vast majority of my time was spent in the field, but I did get a small amount of time to work in EPEI’s highly equipped lab. My work there solely consisted of labeling and inventorying artifacts from past projects. This is pretty tedious work, but it’s essential that it is done correctly to ensure that the artifacts are curated properly. Though lab work isn’t my cup of tea, so to say, but I enjoyed doing it as it gave me a greater appreciation for the work. It also is a bug free, air conditioned work space which was a nice break from the field!

One of the coolest things about working in CRM is that you are actively doing preservation work. I truly believe that work itself is of utmost importance and the folks at Edwards-Pitman share that value. It is nice to work in a crew of like minded people and have an accomplished feeling that you’ve done work towards the greater good. I really enjoyed working with people of vastly higher skill level than me. I had a suitable, albeit amateur, skill level coming into this, but it gave way to so many learning opportunities. It seemed like at every turn I had a question and there was always someone there with a good answer. There is also a decent amount of commingling of people with varying levels of experience and/or education in the field. Being around these people gave me hands on experience that is inherently lacking in a classroom.

When I changed my major to anthropology I envisioned myself doing work that looks very similar to being a CRM field tech and I must say I couldn’t be more satisfied with my experience, bugs, heat and all. Since my internship was the very last class I took, it felt very much like a
culmination of all my past experiences at Kennesaw State. My internship with Edwards-Pitman was the perfect, pretty ribbon to wrap up my college experience.