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Shape your destiny: Richie Rosencrance

When our students aren’t in the classroom, they’re learning in the real world. Because sometimes it’s these experiences that make the best lessons. For May 2015 graduate Richie Rosencrance, that meant participating in an archaeological field school in Oregon, excavating a Paleoindian site. That experience led him to his current work as a cultural resource technician at the Great Basin Institute in Reno, Nev.

Name: Richie Rosencrance (BA, ’15) 


Major: Sociology and Anthropology, History

Hometown: Dailey, W.Va.

To become an archaeologist, you have to attend a field school that teaches you the basics of excavation and research methods. I wanted to expand my network and experience, so I applied and attended a field school through the University of Oregon. I was part of a crew of students under the direction of Dr. Dennis Jenkins excavating a very important Paleoindian site— Connley Caves in south central Oregon. I made many new friends who are now my colleagues and learned more than I can adequately express. 

More than anything, participating in the field school set me on the path I am on today. Dr. Amy Hirshman, associate professor of anthropology, helped me tremendously in preparing and applying for the field school. On top of the amazing life and professional experiences I gained, it also counted toward my degree requirements. The Native American studies program (where I earned my minor) even awarded me a scholarship to help pay for it.

Since graduation, I have been working as a field technician in several regions. I started in New England working for a large civil engineering firm. Then I worked Vero Beach, Fla. where I excavated (with a paintbrush!) the remains of either a mastodon or mammoth.

I am currently conducting an archaeological survey in the Humbolt-Toiyabe National Forest at elevations over 7,000 feet in Nevada. I am also preparing to apply to the University of Nevada, Reno to pursue a master’s degree in archaeology. I plan to study hunter-gatherer lifeways during the Pleistocene to further understand the peopling of the Americas. Eventually, I want to become a professor or professional researcher and teach a field school to show students the wonder of the past (and how to dig properly, of course.)

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology prepared me not only as a student but as a professional and human being. I was challenged but also given room to grow and develop. I have a deep admiration and ongoing friendship with several of the professors. I truly wouldn’t be half as happy and successful as I am without their guidance, critique and support. They told me about the obstacles I would face, and ensured me they would be daunting. Most importantly, though, they told me I could do it.