Education and Research Interests
I completed an associates degree in Pre-Engineering at Wallace State Community College 2005. I completed a bachelors degree in Mathematics and Natural Sciences in 2008. I completed my final undergraduate degree (B.S.) in Anthropology/Archaeology with a Minor in Music at Middle Tennessee State University in December 2011. For my Senior Thesis, I focused on Zooarchaeology and Turtle Shell Rattles in the southeastern United States.
I received a MS in Applied Geography, specializing in Environmental Archaeology, in August 2016 from the University of North Texas. My Master’s thesis research, under the direction of Dr. Lisa Nagaoka, was focused on developing a new static geospatial soil moisture model to determine potential prehistoric farming locations and to understand the farmer to agricultural field relationship, and how that relationship may have changed over time. I focused on soil moisture (a key point for pinpointing drought) as water is the limiting factor for agriculture in semiarid climatic regions. This allowed me to look at farmable land around the archaeological sites, and understand how people interacted with the landscape when they walked out of their front doors.
Currently, I am a PhD Candidate in Archaeology working with Dr. Tim Kohler in the Department of Anthropology at Washington State University. My research interests include modeling, agriculture, paleoclimate, computational archaeology, environmental archaeology, and research that surrounds how humans respond to environmental change. I am currently a research assistant on a grant called Synthesizing Knowledge of Past Environments (SKOPE), which is an “is an online resource for paleoenvironmental data and models.”
My dissertation research focuses on experimenting with paleoecological data (e.g., pollen) to assess whether or not different approaches are feasible for paleoclimatic field reconstructions. I am also programming a second model by combining it with high-frequency (seasonal to decadal scales) temperature reconstructions using the wavelet transform technique. By using tree-ring and pollen data, we can gain a better understanding of the paleoclimate and the spatial distribution of vegetation communities and how those changed over time. These data can be used to better understand changes in demography and how people responded to environmental change. These models are critical for understanding the impacts that climatic and environmental change had on prehistoric people, including inequality and their decisions to completely emigrate from the northern southwestern United States in the late-AD 1200s.
In the summer of 2012, I started my post-undergraduate career working for the Center for the Study of the First Americans. Next, I began working for several different CRM firms doing both field and lab work for different Cultural Resource Management projects. I started full time with TRC Environmental, INC. in August 2013; I worked as a full-time crew chief and the senior field/lab technician until beginning graduate school in August 2014. You can see my Fieldwork for a more information.
I present at academic conferences and pursue writing in my spare time. I also really enjoy interacting with and giving presentations to the public. For example, I gave a presentation at the Moscow Public Library on ancient tattooing, and on my discovery of the oldest tattoo tool in western North America.
When I am not doing my best to conquer the world of Academia, I am a keen cook. My partner, Bailey, and I built raised bed gardens, so we have been harvesting a lot of vegetables to cook and eat from our own garden. We have been growing spinach, lettuce, kale, garlic, scallions, green onions, parsley, tomatoes, potatoes, jalapeños, serrano peppers, strawberries, and mint. I also enjoy hiking and doing anything outdoors.