12 Jul Spotlight!
For my blog this week I thought I would change it up and let you all get to know my supervisor at Colorado National Monument. This week I thought I would interview Matt and not only get to know him better, but help guide me with what I want to do next with my career. Matthew Marques is originally from Connecticut and spent most of his life there. His family originally immigrated from Portugal, which allowed him to see the difference between the diverse culture around Connecticut versus the culture of his family. Seeing different cultures is what originally got Matt interested in studying different groups of people. He found it exciting to learn what other people did in their homes compared to what he did in his own. For undergraduate he attended the University of Connecticut as a double major in Archaeology and History. He was originally interested in studying the Middle East. Entering undergrad he already knew he wanted to study archaeology. Seeing excavations and dig sites on TV and reading about them inspired him to pursue archaeology. Matt loved history, but felt that with archaeology you could be in the middle of history instead of only reading about it. He then went on to study at Northern Arizona University for graduate school as an anthropology major focused in archaeology. Mr. Marques had a 3 year gap in between undergraduate and graduate school. He felt that the experience he could gain from the workforce was invaluable. Prior to attending graduate school he worked in many different places. His first was working with the Mashantucket Pequot tribe where he learned to appreciate tribal concerns along with archaeology. Here he was able to learn how to work on a project from start to finish and worked in both the lab and the field. During his first job in archaeology, he gained an interest in looking at the diet of prehistoric people. He pursued that interest in graduate school by doing macrobotanical analysis for his master’s thesis. Another job he worked at was for Flagstaff Arial National Monument an introduction to the Park Service. There he focused a lot on historic preservation and laid the foundation for how he runs his job today. Matt stated that he had many mentors and teachers that he was able to work with, which laid the ground work for success. What do you enjoy most from your job? He stated that he loves finding new things and learning about different groups that lived in the Southwest. Matt also enjoys learning things that he hasn’t yet learned and has found that no matter how much he learns there is always something new. Lastly, being able to see other people enjoy the things they find and preserve mean a lot to him. What advice do you have for aspiring archaeologists? Matt stated, “This is your time to gain experience, learn what you want to learn. Find what excites you, find opportunities and make whatever connections you can during that time. Finally, never limit yourself to what you can learn, having a focus in a specific region is great, but branch out to other areas and cultures as well.”