My journey with archaeology began when my dad took me to a Loudoun Archaeological Foundation (LAF) excavation at Claude Moore Park in Sterling, Virginia the summer after my high school graduation. I have always enjoyed the outdoors and fell in love with fieldwork after participating in a few day-long LAF excavations at downtown Leesburg and Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve. I then pursued a degree in anthropological archaeology at James Madison University. Through my mentor, Dr. Carole Nash, I gained experience with prehistoric and historic archaeology in the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah Valley, prehistoric and historic artifact analysis, laboratory work and curation, and academic writing. She introduced me to public archaeology and citizen science through our volunteer work with the Archeological Society of Virginia and its Archeological Technician Certification Program.
In 2012, I moved to Biloxi, Mississippi for an archaeology position with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). While there, my team performed 16 survey and excavation projects across the seven counties affected by Hurricane Katrina. During that time, we investigated and documented mounds, shell middens, historic homesteads, and industrial sites, among others. I also participated in training sessions in historic preservation and disaster management, and was deployed to western North Carolina where I performed environmental and historic preservation compliance reviews for public assistance projects.
As our work at FEMA neared completion in 2015, I moved to Dallas, Texas to begin graduate school in the Department of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University. I received my Master of Arts degree in 2017 and advanced to Ph.D. candidacy in 2019. My research interests center on race, space, and place-making, and at the intersections of historic preservation, urban planning, and environmental justice. My dissertation examines 20th century transformations in the Black landscapes of Dallas, Texas through the lens of one of its few surviving Freedman’s Towns, Tenth Street. I draw from geospatial data, U.S. Census and city directory data, archival records, oral histories, artifacts, community interactions, and historical and contemporary urban planning, real estate, and preservation policies to map changes in the Tenth Street/Oak Cliff landscape, understand the social and economic impacts of those transformations, and document the ways residents have fought to maintain their place in the cityscape. My dissertation committee consists of Drs. Kacy L. Hollenback (SMU), David J. Meltzer (SMU), Christopher I. Roos (SMU), and Paul R. Mullins (IU-PUI). While in graduate school, I have worked as a teaching and research assistant, as well as a project and laboratory manager for a local CRM firm (2018-2022), AR Consultants, Inc.
Beyond this, I assist with geospatial and archaeological research for the Dallas Forgot project, led by racial justice advocate, Amber Sims (Imagining Freedom Institute), in collaboration with journalist, Keri Mitchell (Dallas Free Press). I also volunteer for the Dallas Running Club, Remembering Black Dallas, Inc., and the Dallas County Justice Initiative and run (a lot).