Research Interests

For my dissertation, I am conducting an archaeological and ethnohistorical study of subterranean space in the southern Maya Lowlands to explore relationships between landscapes and social, political, and cultural processes. These investigations will combine archaeological excavation with the study of Maya language texts to incorporate Maya perspectives of landscapes, which would provide indigenous representations of the environment that we can test against the lived experiences found in the material record. By incorporating indigenous knowledge as a source for theoretical innovation, this project engages socially conscious methodologies that can be reproduced in other contexts to mediate politicized relationships between researchers and subject peoples.

Mentoring Experiences

I chose to pursue higher education to make a positive impact in the world. Mentoring and teaching students is one way to make that difference. Being a non-traditional, first generation student of color, I have come to realize that I am in this position because of my professors and mentors, and therefore, would like to pay it forward. For the past three years, I have taken undergraduate students with me to Belize to conduct archaeological investigations at the ancient Maya site of La Milpa. Although working in the jungle seems like an exotic adventure, it can be very challenging. I aim to make sure that first and foremost they are happy, healthy, and safe. Archaeology fun is always a close second! After field school, the students take on group-based projects that they prepare for the annual Society for American Archaeology conference. Many of these students are now in the process of applying for graduate programs. It is so great to see them grow and fall in love with research and archaeology. 

What the Award Means to ​H​er

I feel so honored to receive this award and to have the opportunity to work with such amazing undergraduates. I could not have accomplished so much academically without their comradery, commitment to learning, and ingenious comments and questions. Without their insight I would not have been inspired to dig as deep (no pun intended) as I have into my research. I have grown so much as an individual and as a future educator. This is exactly what I want to be doing, so this award means a lot!