I grew up on the south side of Chicago, in the Hyde Park neighborhood, near the University of Chicago. When I was very young, my father worked as an editor at the Field Museum of Natural History, where he worked with many different types of scientists. One of my earliest memories was going behind-the-scenes at the Museum to see row after row after row of beautiful, iridescent insects pinned in trays.
My mother worked at the University of Chicago, where she was friends with many, many different anthropologists and archaeologists. Although I did not know it at the time, anthropology would prove a life-long interest, and when I took my first anthropology course as a senior at Kenwood Academy, I knew I was hooked.
I got my first museum job in high school, working as a tour guide at the Museum of Science and Industry. Although I did not know it at the time museums would also become a life-long interest.
I went to Grinnell College in Iowa, where I had the privilege of going on my first archaeological dig. After college, I worked on archaeological projects in Illinois and Israel, then enrolled in graduate school at the University of Arizona, and have since worked all over the American West and in southwestern France.
I came to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in 2006. Since then, I have used tree-ring dating to study cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park, conducted archaeological survey on Mogollon culture sites in west-central New Mexico, and studied gem-carving statues by Russian artist Vasily Konovalenko.
Looking back, what have I learned? For your career choice, follow your heart, your gut, your passion, and your intellect; don’t follow your wallet. I know plenty of people who are rich in money but poor in spirit. Where’s the point in that?