Education & Experience

I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Washington with an emphasis in Archaeology and an undergraduate research focus on the analysis of skeletal remains and geoarcheological deposits. As part of my undergraduate degree program, I completed a field school on the early Bronze Age site of Nahal Tillah in Israel’s Negev Desert.

I received my Ph.D. in Anthropology, with a minor in Human Genetics, from the University of Minnesota, investigating factors that influence the preservation and detection of DNA in ancient and forensic specimens. My graduate research included field and lab analyses of samples from Kromdraai, Wonderwerk Cave, and Border Cave, South Africa, and from the Silvernale Village Mississippian site in Minnesota, USA.

In addition to my academic experience, I spent several years working as a Cultural Resources Management (compliance) field and laboratory archaeologist on projects throughout the Midwestern United States before pursuing my Ph.D. I later worked for several years as a forensic scientist in the DNA/Biology section of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Forensic Science Laboratory.

I am currently an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Western Illinois University (WIU), where I have been on the faculty since 2013. I also teach courses in Forensic Chemistry and Biological Sciences. Since 2017, I have led the WIU Archaeological Field School, which is offered every other summer.