Academic Area:
Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences

Helena, Montana

Undergraduate Institution:
Boston University, Massachusetts

Research Interests:
Cultural heritage management, archaeology and public outreach, museum studies My dissertation is focused on a rock art site in New Mexico, the ways it is interpreted for the public, and the preservation issues it faces.

The Best Thing About Being a Graduate Student at IUB:
The social support. The Graduate and Professional Student Organization is always hosting events for students to kick back or support to help them through their semester. Many departments also have their own student organizations that can help you find your niche here. The friendly grad community at IUB was a huge draw when I was applying to schools. And we have fantastic library resources! Some of the best in the nation!

Insider tip about living in Bloomington:
Bloomington itself always has something going on – like the Lotus World Music Festival in October (volunteer and you get free tickets!). But if you need to get a way for a while, there are beautiful hikes and outdoor activities within easy driving distance – like Brown County State Park (beautiful leaves in the fall) and Sugar Creek (canoeing and tubing along a lovely lazy river).

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I hope everyone had a very happy holidays and a pleasant break between semesters. I traveled home to Montana and enjoyed some quiet time with my family.

Friendly mule down the road from our house

VERY friendly deer… perhaps too friendly.

We ate a lot of food, played a lot of games, stayed up late, slept in late, and pretty much let our cares rest for a while. Since the breaks between the semesters are often a time for students and professors to catch up on work, it felt a little indulgent to relax so much.

But actually, taking breaks can help your productivity in the long-run (as I’m sure most of us have heard.) Here’s some advice for graduate students from Rachel Manes and the American Psychological Association:

First off, consider how long the designated vacation period will last.  While writing up results of a study might seem like a tempting way to spend this time during the extended break, planning non-academic related events is an equally productive way to spend time during the designated vacation period because they stand to improve productivity after the break is over.  These off-line activities could range from travel and recreation to leisure time with friends and loved ones. (rest of the article here)

So you see, there’s no need to feel guilty about your vacation – and I hope you took one! Instead, you can focus on transitioning into the new semester and having a productive start. Happy spring semester everyone!

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