WC students “Get to Know” archaeology lab and GIS program

By Heather Fabritze

Student Life Editor

The Past is Present Archaeology Lab and Geographic Information Systems Program, both Washington College institutions, hosted a collaborative “Get to Know You” event on Thursday, Sept. 6.

The information session was hosted at the archaeology lab, located at 210 S. Cross Street in Chestertown. Lasting from 5 to 7 p.m., it featured staff from the lab and GIS. Historical artifacts were laid out on tables for students to purview and staff alternated between descriptions of the artifacts and pitches about potential internships and volunteer experiences.

Free pizza, desserts, and drinks were also available.

A large portion of the evening was dedicated to gauging attendee interest in working for the lab or GIS. The lab is open to volunteers and is willing to work around any student schedule. When volunteers gain experience, and if they continue to show interest in the program, they can apply for a paid internship.

The archaeology lab runs roughly two or three internships per semester.

According to Archaeology Lab Director and Senior Staff Archaeologist Elizabeth Seidel, interns have the opportunity to work extensively in the field with hands-on projects.

“We try to encourage our students to not only help us and work in the lab, but when we give them the opportunity to come out to the field, to join us in the field as well,” Seidel said. “Because being in the field makes you better in the lab and working in the lab makes you better in the field.”

              The lab has a primary field location at Andelot Farm, where interns, volunteers, and students can gain real-world experience with archaeological excavation and artifact processing.

Seidel encourages any students to apply for these opportunities, including those who are not anthropology or history majors.

Freshman Keegan Enzor attended the event not just because he has an interest in history, but because he already has some experience with historical artifacts.

“I actually had an artifact of my own…so I wanted to come down and say hi,” Enzor said. “And because I like history, it’s always good to look at the artifacts and see kind of how [they’re] dated.”

The archaeology lab hosts an in-person information session in-person at least once a semester to introduce students to examples of archaeological excavations. 

According to GIS and Cultural Resource Specialist Madison Kaye ‘19, what students believe archaeology to be, is often different from the reality.

“We find that that’s really the most important thing,” Kaye said. “People can hear about archaeology, but once they come in and look at artifacts and just be able to touch things, that makes a big difference.”

This year, the lab invited GIS staff to pitch their program to students. Apprentices involved in GIS deal with contracts, both local and federal, and analyze data to create infographics and maps. 

Kaye believes that working with contracts through GIS is an accessible way for WC students to gain work experience.

“I would say to students to try to find something to do with your free time,” Kaye said. “Find an internship that interests you and get that job experience because it really helps.”

Students can find internships for the archaeology lab and GIS on their respective webpages on the WC website. Staff members for each organization encourage any interested students to apply.

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