The Department of Anthropology is pleased to announce Rebecca K. Albert (aka Becca) as our Outstanding Senior in Anthropology for the class of 2018. Each department in the College of Social Science selects one graduating senior who is the first to walk across the stage at graduation and attend the Outstanding Senior Ball held in their honor. Becca was selected based on her GPA, her inclusion in the Honors College, her standing as current President of the Anthropology Club, and her extensive independent research resulting in a number professional conference and on-campus presentations, as well as first authorship on a research article in a top peer-reviewed journal.
Ms. Albert credits Dr. Lovis, Dr. Goldstein, and graduate student Susan Kooiman with helping shape her undergraduate experience. Working with Dr. Lovis and Susan allowed her to narrow down her research interests and learn about archaeological sciences. Through Dr. Goldstein and the Campus Archaeology Program, Becca gained the experience necessary for being a well-rounded archaeologist which led to an interest in working in CRM. Becca feels these mentors fostered her success by pushing her to be the best researcher and scientist she could be. Coming from the Honors College, she received a two-year Professorial Assistantship during her freshman year, choosing to work with Dr. William Lovis on the analysis of microscopic plant remains embedded in burned-on foods adhering to the interiors of pottery. Ultimately, this led to an independent research project that interfaced with dissertation work being conducted by Susan Kooiman. Rebecca’s research revealed evidence for the earliest use of corn in the northern Great Lakes 2,000 years ago.
Becca presented the results of her work at multiple University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF), at regional professional meetings, and eventually at the national Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting where she won the SAA/Institute for Field Archaeology Best Student Paper Award. Her research, “Earliest Microbotanical Evidence for Maize in the Northern Lake Michigan Basin” was recently published in the leading international refereed archaeology journal, American Antiquity, with Becca as lead author. Building on this platform, Becca then proposed comparative research on a second group of ceramics and was awarded a College of Social Science Dean’s Assistantship, again teaming up with Susan Kooiman, and again revealing significant microbotanical information about the timing for use of corn, squash, and wild rice in the Straits of Mackinac region. The merging of research on food, laboratory work and being outside, are her favorite things about studying archaeology. Ms. Albert hopes her research will help further the idea that diet in the past was far more varied than history suggests, and that people were communicating across broad networks very early on.
Becca enjoys knitting and crocheting, and also hiking or skiing, depending on the weather. She was excited to finally see the printed version of her article in American Antiquity. Becca plans to attend graduate school, complete her PhD and eventually work in academia.
Click here to read the full newsletter.06.15.18