During the month of March, Women's History Month, the Department of Anthropology will feature several interviews with Smithsonian women in science, museums, and archives, here on Rogers Archaeology Lab's blog. Follow us on Twitter @archaeologylab to keep up, and watch the twitter hashtags #womenshistorymonth, #IWD or #WomensDay or #internationalwomensday (International Women’s Day), #Groundbreaker, #womeninscience or #womeninSTEM, to see great things on other women in science. For women in archaeology, try following @trowelblazers
I am continually amazed by all of the talented people we have working at this museum. There are so many interesting stories and discoveries made here, but the stories of the people who uncover them are just as fun to hear about. Since it is Women’s History Month, I thought it would be a great idea to interview the women of the Department of Anthropology, and have them tell you more about themselves and their work. So far, I’ve talked with two amazing scientists, Melinda Zeder, Senior Research Scientist and Curator of Old World Archaeology and Archaeozoology; and Kari Bruwelheide, Museum Specialist in Skeletal Biology. Both women have shown me that they share similar experiences and outlooks, even though their research has taken them into very different (but complementary) specialties within anthropology.
In their interviews, both Melinda Zeder and Kari Bruwelheide underscored that the Smithsonian has incomparable collections and resources for research that continue to yield discoveries into the present day; both have found the Smithsonian a very supportive workplace for women scientists to grow in; having kids while doing science can be challenging but rewarding; and both want to go to Antarctica someday! This last commonality may seem random, but I think it represents the far-reaching goals of the kinds of people who come to work here. They always want to go to unexplored places, both in the world and of the mind. Both are problem-solvers, who take their work to the edges of the discipline, and push its boundaries farther as they make new discoveries. In short, the women scientists of the Smithsonian are seriously amazing, and I can’t wait to hear more of their stories.
While we work on typing up the interviews, please submit any questions you have about the work of our female scientists (including linguists, physical anthropologists, cultural anthropologists, and archaeologists), museum collections management professionals, archivists, and others here in the Department of Anthropology. In the meantime, I will continue to talk to a variety of the women who work here, and continue to share their insights with you. Stay tuned!
Until then, can you name this historical Smithsonian anthropologist? Tweet us your answer @archaeologylab, or comment below! Bonus points for naming her major research focus!
By: Meghan Mulkerin, Collections Specialist and Research Contractor