Category Archives: Features

Scot Spirit Day is Back in Person and Better than Ever

Blakely Dishman

Features Editor

On Friday, Sept. 3, Scot Spirit Day returned to campus for the first time since the fall of 2019. While there was the opportunity for a virtual version in 2020, the high vaccination rate among students this year allowed for an in-person event. Over 118 student organizations lined the walkways of the Oak Grove in an effort to recruit and inform their fellow students. These groups included Greek life, BIPOC and multicultural organizations, performance clubs, club sports and more.

Organizations both new and old were happy to have the opportunity to look for new members. With such a variety of groups on campus, there is a space for every single student. While finding the “perfect fit” can be overwhelming, it is helpful to know that student organizations are looking to include anyone! According to Sarah Longsville ‘22, the president of WOODs, their organization is “looking for people who are excited about the outdoors and are community driven, and want to make an inclusive, safe and fun space in the outdoors.” When asked what kind of new members their group is looking for, Inethia Allen, the public relations representative for Women of Images, replied “everyone.”

Student organizations are looking to foster a community of people who are passionate about their group. The Women and Gender Minorities in Economics, for example, is striving to “form a safe space within the department and the field,” according to Madi Buckley ‘22, secretary, and Claudia Partridge ‘22, treasurer. Similarly, Berenice Hernandez ‘23, a co-president of Latinas Unidas, said that their “executive board is made up of leaders who want to encourage and empower Latinx women and bring the community together.” 

While the virtual Scot Spirit Day was a wonderful event, having it in-person allowed for the fostering of the CoW community as a whole. During the virtual version, students only attended the information sessions of groups they were interested in, so this year was a wonderful return to normalcy. First years and sophomores experienced this in-person event for the first time, allowing them to further connect with their peers and find new organizations to join. When asked what they were looking for in a group, first year students Cameryn Burkhammer and Sydney Berenson replied with “community. A friendly environment that does what they say they will do. They will support you and be there for you.”

Many groups entered Scot Spirit Day with hopes of gaining new members and sharing their values with the community. It was evident from the high energy that they succeeded and were happy to be back. If you are interested in joining a student organization and did not have the chance to sign up on Scot Spirit Day, go to Scots Connect at to find their contact information. 

A Look Into the BIPOC Performing Arts Alliance

Savannah Sima

Features Editor

BIPOC Performing Arts Alliance (BIPOC PAA), an organization headed by Victoria Silva ’23 and Teresa Ascencio ’23, debuted at Scot Spirit Day this past Friday, Sept. 3. BIPOC Performing Arts Alliance has been in the works for nearly two years.

 According to Silva, the organization “started as an idea between myself and Teresa Ascencio during one of our acting classes the second semester of [our] Freshman year. After some discussion, and a few more members added, we brought it to our advisor and were able to begin the process of chartering an organization. With a lot of support behind us we were finally able to be chartered in the spring of 2021. It was great to be able to participate in Scot Spirit Day and now advertise our events for the future!”

The three created the idea of having a Latinx-affiliated organization for performers. However, the organization was further established during summer 2020 amidst the pandemic and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. The three decided to expand the organization to all BIPOC, in order to be more inclusive and holistic in their work. After six months of the chartering process, the BIPOC Performing Arts Alliance was officially established in spring 2021. 

Both Ascencio and Silva spoke to the importance of Dr. Noriega’s support in forming the organization saying, “Not only is Noriega instrumental in improving diversity, equity and inclusion in the theater department, but he also applied for and won a grant for $500 to be used by the BIPOC Performing Arts Alliance for events and guest speakers.” Silva added that he “was a key piece of creating BIPOC PAA.” Dr. Noriega is also a Latinx theatre professional with his own theatre company in Cleveland named Teatro Travieso. 

Now with an official charter and platforms to advertise, BIPOC Performing Arts Alliance has a big mission. Many performing arts in the professional world, ranging from music to theatre have been historically white and whitewashed. Because of this, many artists of color, despite working harder to achieve even the remote success of their white counterparts, are often not advertised.  “BIPOC Performing Arts Alliance was established with the key idea that we are the arbiters and sharers of BIPOC performing arts.” 

Ascencio has a similar vision for BIPOC Performing Arts’ overarching goals and potential programs, “The purpose of the BIPOC Performing Arts Alliance is to create an empowering space for BIPOC students to invest in and expand on the various cultural areas of the performing arts, both on and off-campus.” This organization gives BIPOC students a platform to speak out against racial injustice within the performing arts, to advocate for representation and education centered on BIPOC experiences and to work with other students on meaningful change at the artistic and educational level. It will also provide students with a variety of resources and experiences to enrich their creativity, find meaningful mentorship and support and generate further artistic, educational, and career-related inspiration. 

Silva and Ascencio concluded with their biggest goals for this year. “The biggest goal BIPOC PAA has been working towards is not only growing larger, but to have at least one large event that really brings BIPOC art to the forefront of this campus. Much like other events (like the Culture Show), Wooster’s campus is always bustling with different events and fun new things to discover. We hope to be an informative and enlightening discovery for our fellow campus peers!” Ascencio added that the organization will also strive “to improve the connection between students, specifically BIPOC performers, at the College after the pandemic and begin creating a safe space and environment for BIPOC performers at Wooster.”

Reactions to the Impact of 9/11 Then and Now

Blakely Dishman, Features Editor

Savannah Sima, Features Editor



On Sept. 13, 2001 The Voice published campus responses to the tragedy that had occured two days prior. Features Editor Andrew Stimson ‘02 gave fellow students the opportunity to share their thoughts on the event. Stimson stated, “By now the horrific images of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 have raked us emotionally raw and left their indelible imprint upon our memories. As the sheer enormity of these acts of terror press upon our psyches to make their full weight felt, we struggle to find words that will express our outrage, grief and fear. But words can seem so small and empty when stacked against thousands of innocent people dead in one unimaginable instant and a once impervious superpower suddenly cognizant of its vulnerability.” 

The following is going to be a compilation of quotes from students during the two days following 9/11 and students today, 20 years later.



“I think it’s just the tip of the iceberg and people don’t really realize what could come of this.” -David Workman `04

“I am concerned about community reaction to this event, because there are a lot of people who are uninformed. I’m worried about hate crimes being directed to people of Middle Eastern descent. I’m worried about aggression being acted out against my family in the Cleveland area. And I will never feel as safe as I did before this happened.” – Meena Ghanziasgar ‘03

“I think that the illusion of a safe, free, isolated America has crumbled with the World Trade Center buildings. And I think from those ashes will arise a new America, a little more wary, a lot more wary of the world around us, but I think from now on we are really going to start paying attention to other countries and other organizations, especially terrorist organizations.” – Benjamin “Bean” Worley ’02

“It’s surreal. It’s like watching a movie. You can’t put it into words. This is the day that galvanizes our nation.” – Nick Stevens ’03



“Rhetoric surrounding 9/11 has been extremely prominent for most of us since birth and has shaped our politics in justifying tightening national security policies, and international armament generally. We grew up with the mindset that there were ‘bad guys’ to be fought because of 9/11, and we had to unlearn that picture collectively for a more nuanced one that understands how occupation, intervention and poor international political policies on the part of the U.S. breeds conflict.” -Savannah Sima `23

“I was two months old when it happened but it totally shaped my entire life.” – Lloyd Soards `24

“A terrible loss of life dwarfed only by the lasting chain of tragedies caused by a lashing out of warfare and xenophobia” – `23 Artemis Swanson

“To call it a terrible event would be an understatement – the loss of life is an awful undoing, a most horrendous hurt that could only be described by those who experience it. I cannot say I did, but I do empathize with all those affected, indirectly, directly and otherwise.” – `24 Malachi Mungoshi

Voice senior editorial staff reflects on experiences

Olivia Proe

What positions have you held?

Chief Copy Editor, Viewpoints Editor, Features Editor.

What was the first article you worked on? 

A viewpoint on mental health at Wooster.

The last article you worked on 

Advice for underclassmen on I.S.

Favorite article you’ve worked on 

Story of the week about improving relationships between the College and the city of Wooster.

Favorite Vice idea 

Scot Council apology for releasing the group chat screenshots.

Advice to students or next year’s staff 

Write about what interests you or things you’ve noticed on campus that you want to change! Your writing can start important conversations.

Favorite memory of your time on staff 

Jenkins, the printer’s funeral.

Holly Engel

What positions have you held?

I was originally a Staff Writer for Features and eventually became an Arts & Entertainment Editor.

What was the first article you worked on?

It was about the Model U.N. team competing in Chicago (way back in November of 2017).

The last article you worked on

A week ago I wrote about virtual Woo-Con.

Favorite article you’ve worked on

There are so many! I really enjoyed writing about non-scary Stephen King books last spring, but I also had fun with my article on “The Day the Music Died” because it called for some rock’n’roll research.

Favorite Vice idea

My first year at Wooster, I remember there was an article about how the Ebert Art building was going to have its name changed to “Bert,” and that it was going to become a giant cube that whispered to people as they walked by, or something like that. The dry humor was great, and it still makes me laugh.

Advice to students or next year’s staff

Don’t eat the ham loaf.

Favorite memory of your time on staff

Again, it’s hard to pick just one, but my most recent favorite memory is the time the power went out. Since there were no windows in the Voice office, we were plunged into pitch-blackness, and Chloe screamed bloody murder.

Laura Haley

What positions have you held?

I have been a Chief Copy Editor since 2018, although I took a brief hiatus to be a News Editor my sophomore year with the best co-editor around, Maggie Dougherty ’21 (no, I’m not biased). 

What was the first article you worked on

Party on the Green, 2017. The Mowgli’s came and we had so much fun! 

The last article you worked on

The men’s tennis team defeating Kenyon College for the first time since ’99. Roll Scots!

Favorite article you’ve worked on

This is tough. I’ve had the opportunity to write so much during my time and on so many topics. Although I can’t pick just one article, I would say my favorite section to write for is News. 

Favorite Vice idea

It’s got to be interviewing the student center door stop. Shoutout to Lark Pinney ’23 for helping make it a reality. 

Advice to students or next year’s staff

Enjoy being in a supported space where your creativity is not only welcomed but appreciated. The friendships I’ve made copy editing and formatting until the wee hours are some I’ll never forget. 

Favorite memory of your time on staff

Having a full-blown funeral for our beloved printer, Jenkins, when it was their time to pass.

Saeed husain

What positions have you held?

In my first year I served as Chief Copy Editor, and sophomore year I was Sports Editor (fall) and News Editor (spring). This last semester I’ve been Viewpoints Editor.

What was the first article you worked on?

Change of operations in the facilities office, where custodial responsibilities were being removed from program houses.

The last article you worked on

My Viewpoint on how editing language goes against the goal of decolonization.

Favorite article you’ve worked on

Too many! Tough tie between when Wooster announced reaching its campaign goal early, the Patrick Mohorcic interview and field hockey success.

Favorite Vice idea

McGaw Chapel flying back to the Mothership.

Advice to students or next year’s staff

Send emails early!

Favorite memory of your time on staff

Adding ‘Roll Scots!” to every article with Chloe as Sports Editors and regularly singing “Seven Rings” with Sam.

Sam Casey

What positions have you held?

Staff Writer, News Editor, Editor in Chief.

What was the first article you worked on?

“Search to replace wellness counselor begins.”

The last article you worked on

“Golf wraps up regular season at Kenyon College.”

Favorite article you’ve worked on

See a problem, fix a problem viewpoint (both).

Favorite Vice idea

Students protest and replace the entire admin with Julia Zimmer.

Advice to students or next year’s staff

Savor the long nights of editing because when they’re taken away, you realize they were the best nights of your life.

Favorite memory of your time on staff

“Argh, the Daily Record” -Angad, in a pirate voice.

Kate Murphy

What positions have you held?

Being a News Editor this year has been the first position I’ve held on the Voice. I copy edited here and there in past years, and I am so glad I was able to take on a larger role!

What was the first article you worked on?

The first article I wrote this past fall was about I.S.A. and their organization’s plans for this year.

The last article you worked on

I am currently working on an article about the budget allocations for student organizations in the upcoming academic year.

Favorite article you’ve worked on

My favorite article was probably on the Spring Break petition, mostly because I was really hoping it would work out!

Favorite Vice idea

I’ve only written in one Vice edition, and I think my favorite would have to be the ELITE-D3 virus that spread across Wooster athletics.

Advice to students or next year’s staff

Send out emails for your articles early!

Favorite memory of your time on staff

I really loved Tuesdays this year —it was great to be able to do layout in person, and I always looked forward to those nights!

Zoe Covey

What positions have you held?

I started as a contributing writer for News as a freshman, then I was Features Editor for my sophomore year and the first semester of junior year, and now I’m one of the Chief Copy Editors (very debatable as of late).

What was the first article you worked on?

My first article was “Sorority Pi Kappa selects its first diversity chair,” which is funny because I ended up joining Peanuts!

The last article you worked on

My last article was “Knowing your body: iron deficiencies in endurance athletes” for the science section which is a section I never thought I’d write for, but there you are!

Favorite article you’ve worked on

“Remembering McWoo: Wooster’s Mascot Metamorphosis.” I loved reaching out to alumni and learning more about Woo!

Favorite Vice idea

I liked “Merriam-Wooster Dictionary.”

Advice to students or next year’s staff

Yes, making great art like the Voice is a time commitment, so commit that time! I’ve never laughed so hard as I have in the Voice office!

Favorite memory of your time on staff

The time Ellie wanted to change the song but Chloe wanted her to let it play.

Editor in Chief Scotlight

Lark Pinney

Features Editor

Kaylee Liu

Features Editor


Would you like to introduce yourselves?

C: Hi, I am Chloe Burdette, a senior here  —  almost not a senior here! I’m a communication studies major and global media and digital studies minor.

M: Hi! I’m Maggie Dougherty. I’m a senior here, and also almost not a senior here. I major in global international studies with a concentration in economics and I have a minor in Middle Eastern and North African studies.

How long have you been working for the Voice?

C: We have a little bit of a different story. I was a Contributing Writer since the second week of my freshman year. The Sports Editor at the time, Ben Blotner ’20, would ask me every week if I could write, and I just kept doing it. There’s a possibility I might’ve written more than he did that year, honestly. But I didn’t really know how the Voice worked, so I just kept contributing and contributing. Eventually, interviews were scheduled because they needed a new staff for the next year. I then was Sports Editor my sophomore year, Managing Editor my junior year and Editor in Chief my senior year.

M: I had a slightly different trajectory than Chloe. I joined in my sophomore year. I had never written for the Voice or written for a high school paper or anything, but I decided to apply to be the News Editor and I got it, so I was the editor for that first semester, then I went abroad. Then I came back and I was Viewpoints Editor, and I was going to be Viewpoints Editor again this year, but our fall semester Editor in Chief ended up being a remote student for the spring semester, so I stepped up as Editor in Chief.

What have been some of your favorite memories from your time at the Voice? I know it’s hard to pick a few, it’s all been awesome.

M: I think Voice formal was really fun. The thing is that a lot of people in the Voice just happen to be in some other organizations. The Effective Altruism formal is one of my favorite Voice memories because so many Voice people showed up there. So, my favorites are the opportunities we get to hang out with Voice people outside the Voice, and the times we’re silly in the office and everyone is chaotic and yelling, or when we’re working on serious stories and it feels really important. Those are definitely the best times.

C: Yeah, I think for me it’s the fact that the Voice is not strictly a serious atmosphere. The best part is that coming to the Voice office, although stressful, relaxes me from my day. I can give myself the chance to talk to some people I really enjoy being around. That’s the best part.

M: It’s controlled chaos. It’s chaos, but it’s fun. It’s chaos, but it’s not the pressure of your day-to-day life.

Conversely, what would you say is the hardest part of being in the Voice?

C: Honestly, it’s very difficult when people don’t honor their commitments to write. You have to put your pride aside when you’re in the Voice because you do have to annoy people. If they say they’re going to write and they don’t turn in the article, you have to send them multiple emails. It might look annoying to them, but you have to stay really insistent on getting writers to be responsible. 

M: It’s annoying to us when they don’t finish their work, too.

C: I would also say that another major difficulty is that we’re student-run. Yes, we have an advisor, but the system works so they don’t have to be very hands-on. We have to train each group of staff class by class. People do it differently from year to year, so it can be chaotic. I think that if you don’t have the right leadership — sometimes that can be a little bit difficult. 

M: Aside from being a huge time commitment, I would say that we’re responsible for an important part of campus, and people have really strong feelings about it. Sometimes we mess up, or don’t do something in the way that people would want. It’s frustrating when people are really critical about things they don’t necessarily understand, like when somebody complains about where something is on the page, it’s often because that’s the only place that it would fit and we were trying to give that person more words. But overall, I guess it’s the burden we shoulder.

C: Another thing is that we’re not paid! It cracks me up that my actual bosses from my actual paid job are like, “You probably work way over the hours you’re allowed to,” and I’m like, “Well, I’m not paid to work at the Voice,” and they’re like, “What?!” And I’m like, “No!” This is all because we enjoy it. So, yeah, that can also wear you down a little bit.

M: Stop critiquing our free labor. (laughing) We’re doing our best. 

What is something that you’ve been the proudest of during your time here, like an article you’ve written or a direction you’ve pushed the paper in?

M: I would say two things. The first is just that, even in this really hard time, I think we’ve actually managed to preserve a good community at the Voice and maintain the atmosphere despite us moving, despite COVID-19 and all of these major changes. Honestly, I’m really excited about the staff that we have going into next year and how many people were excited about applying to the Voice. Then for me, personally, I think that it’s the Lowry article. It’s made a pretty big impact. It’s the longest single article I’ve worked on during my time at the Voice. It meant so much for the alumni who I was working with to see that finally come out after all that process. So that’s definitely the big one for me.

C: Yeah, I definitely think I can agree with the fact that it’s been really difficult trying to do the Voice justice in a pandemic with all the restrictions that we have. So, I think I’m proud of what we’ve produced in this crazy, chaotic time. I have two favorite articles I’ve written. One was when Coach Pettorini of the baseball team was retiring. Saeed Husain ’21 and I did a two-page, in-depth article on his career here, and it was really cool to get his input on it. Secondly, I did an article my sophomore year that focused on the merger of the women’s golf team and the men’s golf team under one coach. I think that was really difficult for not only the coaches, but the players. So that meant a lot to me to write — I felt like I had made a difference. It’s amazing how much the Voice has a reach and can make a difference not only on this campus, but beyond this campus as well.

M: On a lighter note, I unbiasedly feel that this year’s Vice was the funniest we’ve ever had during my time at Wooster. I was so excited because I missed it my first year when I was abroad and then my second year because of COVID-19. The Vice is always a highlight, but it was especially good this year.

What advice would you have for this upcoming year’s staff or people who are not on the staff but want to work with us?

C: Obviously, we’ve selected next year’s senior editors because we have a lot of faith in them.We are immensely proud of what they’ve done at the Voice thus far. But I think some good advice is to try not to get super frustrated. It’s very, very, very difficult when people don’t understand how much work you guys put into the Voice. I think that’s something that can be really stressful for a lot of people. Try not to get frustrated. Understand that people don’t know how much work you guys put into it day to day. Keep in mind that people don’t know the full story. Wink-wink, that was kind of funny. Stay focused on the end goal.

M: I second everything Chloe said. But also, I think the other thing is to do stories that you’re interested in. I think other people will be more engaged when you do that. If there’s something you want to write about but it’s not necessarily like news or features you can usually find, you can approach it from an angle like “this is how students feel about this thing going on,” so that you can cover something that we wouldn’t otherwise be writing about. So, if you’re passionate about something, don’t let the fact that there’s not a “story” keep you from doing that. Pursue something that’s interesting, because that’s what people will read.

C: For anyone wanting to write for The Voice: Just reach out. The number of times that we’ve needed writers for something and the number of people that have approached me and said, “I wish I came to you at some point in my career at Wooster,” or just said, “Oh, well, I kind of wanted to write about this, but I didn’t know if it would be stupid or not, so I didn’t ask.” Nine times out of ten, it’s not stupid, and we will accept. Give it a shot. When I gave it a shot my freshman year, it’s obviously taken me to this place that I’m at right now.

What is something you’re excited about after graduation?

M: A break. It’s just that we’ve been in this Wooster bubble for so long that it’ll be nice to rediscover what real life is like and have time alone, and not have all of these same commitments that we’ve been doing for a long time. My time here at Wooster is very scheduled and very habitual. Like, I have a strong routine, and I love that, but it’ll also be nice to break that and explore new things. And go into the real world and be an adult and do adult things. Like maybe having a job one day. Who knows.

C:  I’m excited to — well, I’m anxious-excited — to get back into the swing of things and go into the job search. It’s the same thing as Maggie — breaking those habits that you’ve done every single day for the last four years that can kind of get a little bit mundane, especially in Nowhere, Ohio. I’m excited to go and explore places that I’ve never been since I’ve been in Ohio my whole life.

M: To add to that, I was traveling right before the pandemic. I was supposed to travel a lot in 2020, and that didn’t happen. So I hope that the world reopens and I can go to places other than Ohio and Virginia. That’d be great.

Finally, do you have anything to say to encourage people to join the Voice?

C: Do it. Just do it. Sponsored by Nike. 

Professor Siavash Samei Scotlight

Lark Pinney

Features Editor


Introduce yourself!

My name is Dr. Siavash Samei, I am a professor of archaeology and anthropology at the College.

What classes are you teaching right now?

I am teaching Physical Anthropology, which is awesome, it’s studying the story of human evolution from our earliest ancestors with chimpanzees all the way to modern humans. In fact, this is the last week of class, and so we’re talking about our earliest human ancestors. We get to cover about 6-8 million years of evolution which is a lot of fun. I’m also teaching a class called Fundamentals of Zoo Archaeology, and this is a hands-on lab class where students get to learn about animal skeletons and anatomy. You might ask why would an anthropologist want to study animal skeletons; my research studies human/animal relationships in the past, and this is what I’m teaching students — how you can use animal remains from archeological sites to reconstruct human/animal interactions, with animals as pets, animals as food, animals as religious symbols and things like that.

What brought you to Wooster?

I got my Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut and I was there for a few years post-doc, and then I was applying for jobs, and this is one of the jobs that I really wanted. I sort of grew up in the big state school culture and I never felt that I had the kind of one-on-one mentorship relationship that I wanted with my professors. So I’ve always believed in the mission of small liberal arts colleges, like The College of Wooster, and what sets Wooster apart from the rest of them is the Independent Study. These are the things that brought me here. 

How have you found living here?

It’s an adjustment. I am originally from Iran, so moving to the U.S. itself was a bit of an adjustment, although it happened when I was much younger, when I was a teenager. I moved to Atlanta, which is a big city, and then I moved to rural Connecticut, which itself was an adjustment, but I got used to it! It was a small town, but somehow Wooster is an even smaller town, so I guess I am just moving to gradually smaller towns in my life! It’s not as diverse culturally and racially as the town I lived in Connecticut, but you find your community, you find the restaurants you like, the foods you like. There’s an incredible amount of hiking around here that I really enjoy. And a lot of swamps to explore! So I love it!

Tell me about your research areas. What are you working on right now?

I’m working on an archaeological site in Armenia and we’re working on a Byzantine site. This site dates to around the 1st century B.C. and it was actually excavated by paleolithic archaeologists who were interested in human-Neanderthal interactions, but it turns out all that cool paleolithic stuff is underneath several feet of Byzantine cemetery. Which, if you’re a paleolithic archaeologist is very annoying, because you can’t just dump it, you have to carefully go through it.I love the Byzantine stuff. It’s a cemetery and we have these huge, almost Megalithic burials and graves, and we have multiple people buried throughout several generations. One thing that is very cool is that interspersed between these graves are these huge, deep pits full of animal bones. I haven’t seen them yet, but my colleagues have told me that it’s mostly cattle. It’s interesting to know what these animal bones are doing here! Some people think it might be remnants of a party that people had after they buried their loved ones, where they celebrated the life of the person that was deceased and they just buried the trash from these feasts and these parties and ceremonies where they buried their loved ones. So, now that international travel is allowed, [I’m hoping] to go to Armenia this summer to start some work.

Has the field of archaeological work been influenced by COVID?

Yes, it has! Most archaeological work that is happening now, especially outside of the US, is international. I work in the Middle East, and you have teams of Middle Eastern archaeologists, North American archaeologists and European archaeologists who are working together, but obviously with travel bans people can’t go anywhere. So, last year there was a complete shutdown of archaeological research, at least as far as international collaboration is concerned. Which was frustrating because that’s what I do during the summer. But on the other hand it was good, because archaeologists love digging, and excavating and finding cool stuff, and they can be lazy about writing and publishing and presenting. So they got bored, and they were like “if I can’t dig I might as well write something and publish it.” This was a good year to study the material they had excavated and write about it and present it at conferences or publish articles and books. So in that sense I think it was a good break for archaeological sites. Archaeological sites are finite resources, so any break we can take from constantly destroying them, and instead focusing on what we’ve found already, is a blessing. We’re just slowing the pace of destruction of the sites.

How did you get into this field or interest?

A lot of people have cool or interesting stories, I really don’t. As an archaeologist you can study anything, you can study human remains, you can study plant remains, you can study animal remains. Why did I become interested in animal remains? When I was in college, I took a zoo archaeology class and I did terrible in it. I did not do well. I got a C- on my final paper and did not do well on the quizzes and I ended up getting a B- in the class. If you want to be a zoo archaeologist, a B- is not what you get. But at the time I didn’t know what I wanted to do, all I knew was that this was going to hurt my GPA, and I needed to fix it, and this teacher was also somebody who I looked up to. So I went to her and asked her if she would let me work in the lab, study the material for her, work as an intern and learn, and she said sure. As I began working in the lab, I began enjoying it very much. I liked it and I kept pursuing it as a career. And I think it’s an important learning opportunity because oftentimes students get bogged down by what grade they’re getting in a course, what happens to their GPA, but the reality is that one low grade is not going to destroy your career.

What do you like to do outside of work? Any hobbies?

I am very much a cat person. My wife and I have two cats. Rumi, who is 19 pounds of terror and Patty Jo who is about eight years old and very tiny. Cats are my hobby, I love them to death. My wife and I are also plant people, indoor plant people, we try to propagate plants and give them away. Our house is increasingly looking like a greenhouse. And I like to bake whenever I can.

What have you baked most recently?

Like everybody in the world, I got into sourdough. But unlike people who got into it during the pandemic, I was into sourdough before the pandemic — my dad’s a baker so I learned from him. I bake bread, but I’m also learning how to bake a variety of pies, and croissants and different kinds of bread. Next week I’m going to try to make puff pastry again.