Erika (Vaughn) Lyle '12

I went into my undergraduate career knowing that I wanted to major in Anthropology. I was fortunate enough to take an introductory course in high school that convinced me anthropology was something I had to pursue at the collegiate level. However, I didn't realize I would pursue archaeology until my sophomore year when I took Alison Bell's introductory archaeology course. She was so passionate and knowledgeable that I couldn't help but want to learn more. I took advantage of the Spring Term Field School at Monticello in 2010 and was lucky enough to work there through the summer. While archaeology is not at all as glamorous as some believe, I felt like I belonged in the field and the prospect of constantly learning about the human past enthralled me. Spending that spring and summer with Professor Bell, Sean Devlin, and Don Gaylord gave me the tools, theoretical frameworks, and passion for studying the human past that brought me where I am today. I spent another summer devising a cataloging system for a Native American ceramic collection at the W&L Anthropology lab, where I realized how important artifact conservation is to archaeology, but how often it is neglected. I decided then that my future with archaeology would center around conservation, curation, and cultural resource management. After working with Professor Bell and Don Gaylord on an impromptu dig on W&L's campus in 2013, I decided to pursue a Master of Arts degree. I am currently in the Anthropology MA program at the University of Tennessee and a graduate research assistant at the McClung Museum of Natural History.