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VCU Archaeology

Not ready to give up the interesting world of anthropology

by Laura Nixon, Virtual Curation Laboratory Intern


One day I did some acting

Hello all, my name is Laura and I am a current student intern at the Virtual Curation Laboratory. Despite my desired career path into Human Resources, I wasn’t yet ready to give up the interesting world of anthropology. When I decided I wanted to complete an internship during my senior year I sought out Dr. Means to set up something that would allow me to develop my database and clerical skills while also being involved the world of archaeology.

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I found a Coyote skull in the woods near my parent’s house and decided to clean it up and bring it in. This was while I was recording the individual teeth into our database in preparation for their scanning.

I will admit that I am not like most of the students who intern at the lab. While I do find archaeology interesting and enjoy exploring it, I will not be headed to graduate school or be attending field school during the summer. My duties at the lab have been mostly clerical, although I do get to enjoy some painting and scanning occasionally. My favorite parts of the internship have been the public outreach and partnerships with local museums. I love showing people what we can create and how 3D artifacts are useful for research and educational purposes. It’s always great to see someone’s face when they pick up one of our productions and exclaim “It’s so light!” One specific thing that has sparked my interest is a partnership between the VCL and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. The VCL has been working with the VDHR to create a more inclusive and interactive environment for museum goers with disabilities that restrict their experience of current museum exhibits.

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Since I love historical garments, Dr. Means let me paint this dress. I tried to get the color exactly as it was shown in the picture. I think I did a pretty good job.

Dr. Means has accommodated my desires to work on my clerical skills while interning at the VCL. Over the past months I have updated and improved the current scan database. I have also discussed several policy and procedure projects with Dr. Means and the other interns in order to asses which would be most beneficial to the future of the lab. I hope that in my time left as an intern I can create something that will improve process and provide clarification for future interns.

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I have followed the VCL since my arrival at VCU in 2011 when two friends of mine were interns. I am glad that the program has grown and that Dr. Means has continued his inclusion of student interns. In my opinion this is the best available internship at VCU for anthropology students seeking a way to get some hands on experience without studying abroad or attending field school. Through the internship students will gain valuable experiences and make important professional connections for the future.

I hope you all have enjoyed my blog post. I was told to include some photos of things I have done, and while most of my time has been spent doing the “boring computer stuff” (aka the necessary important stuff), I do have a few images of some less “boring” times that I incorporated throughout this post.



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