University of Oregon International Projects Fair: Kirsten Lopez-Hart
Noted on June 5, 2012 by IE3 Student in
The annual University of Oregon International Projects Fair is a showcase for UO undergraduate students to present projects completed during their time spent studying or interning abroad. Five IE3 interns shared their international projects at the 2012 fair on April 18. One of these interns is Kirsten Lopez-Hart, an IE3 participant who interned with the Heritage Malta this last fall. In the interview below, she shares a bit about her project and her experience presenting it at the fair.
What was your project about?
My project was about the excitement of museum curation. Identifying and researching items in curation is a common activity for curators, especially in older museums such as the Museum of Archaeology in Gozo, where I was. The project I did was researching the origins and history of a collection of human remains that had ended up in storage without any documentation or reports to go with it. So along with research and re-housing, I also wrote up a report on my findings, and hope to return for future research on the collection.
What inspired or got you interested or involved in your project?
Here at the University of Oregon I have been working in collections at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History. With the classes I have taken on food and plant archaeology, I became very interested in food in ancient times. While working on the cataloguing project in Malta, we ran across the collection. While most of the stuff we ran across without documentation we did not research, I was urged to find a project of personal interest to take on while I was interning there. When accounting for the contents of the boxed collections, a few things surprised my supervisor and I, so we decided it would be a great project for me to work on independently.
How did the work at your internship/international experience contribute to your project?
My work enabled my encounter with the materials, and also an eye for the particular time periods in ceramic wares. We were also able to have a leading archaeologist of the time and region of the material to confirm speculated dates on the pottery. Without the experiences from the internship, I surely would not have been able to conduct this project. Not to mention that it has launched me into graduate school, and is likely to become a great Master's thesis project.
How did it feel to present your project at the fair?
At first I was a little nervous at the thought of being judged, but I was volunteering, and without grades or anything really "riding" on my presentation besides my own practical experience in poster presentations, it was great. I felt like it was a great way to share my work that otherwise may have gone fairly unnoticed. It was also very nice to see how many people seemed to be sincerely interested in my work, and I think it was the first time I felt I could really share it in a way that was engaging for both those asking questions and myself.
Do you have plans for your project in the future?
Yes. As mentioned before, I have used the opportunity to launch a Master's degree, and will be attending the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland this fall where I will be attaining a Scottish MSc in Human Osteoarchaeology and doing my master's thesis research on the collection back in Malta. I hope to be able to conduct a more thorough cataloguing and analysis of the remains, and possibly pinpoint their origin and site in order to submit the site with the state for protection. I am interested in how these remains are similar or different from another nearby burial complex excavated in the 1980s and ‘90s in a nearby village on the island from the same time period, and what may be discerned regarding diet and social stratification in Temple Period Malta.