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Student Perspectives

by carolinetam last modified September 16, 2008 02:50 PM

Current students and recent graduates from the Archaeology Program and the Conservation Program at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology share why their program fit their educational needs and research goals. Learn more about our programs by hearing directly from our students below:


UCLA Interdepartmental Archaeology Graduate Program (AP)

UCLA/Getty Master’s Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials



Rowan“One of the things about UCLA that has proved most beneficial to me is the network of classmates and colleagues that I developed during my time in the program.  I was fortunate to have a great group of classmates who also started their graduate work in archaeology at the same time as me, and I have remained very close to several of them, including J. Cameron Monroe, now a professor at UC Santa Cruz and Pochan Chen, now a professor at National Taiwan University.  From the very beginning my classmates and I shared grant proposals and essays, and this helped us build a collaborative atmosphere that continues to the present.  Even now, I share drafts of articles and proposals with some of these friends. Archaeology is inherently a collective endeavor, so the ability to work with people is vital to success.  The Interdepartmental Program at UCLA really fosters this aspect of our discipline.”
—Rowan Flad (Ph.D. in Archaeology, 2004)
Assistant Professor, Harvard University



“The Interdisciplinary Program in Archaeology has allowed me to explore a diverse breadth of archaeological theory and fieldwork due to the inherent flexibility of the program.  I have always felt supported by my committee and have been continually encouraged to design my own research questions.  The faculty of the Cotsen Institute help to generate a stimulating research environment in which I have always felt welcome to knock on a faculty member’s door to discuss my current projects.”
—Elizabeth Mullane
Ph.D. candidate, Archaeology Program


John“The Interdepartmental Program in Archaeology is the perfect home for my research interests. My doctoral dissertation research combines ecological and anthropological theory, paleoethnobotany, and historical study of culture change in central Turkey. This research is only possible because of the broad scope of archaeology at UCLA — my doctoral committee includes members of four departments, each a specialist in an aspect of my research. The diversity of faculty here, as well as the structure of the program, encourages us to reach across disciplinary boundaries to integrate different types of archaeological theory and methodology in our own research. I have had the opportunity to excavate in Albania and Egypt with UCLA faculty members, and to work in Turkey on a project supported by another university, all made possible through funding granted by the Cotsen Institute. The institute houses our offices and labs, and provides a home for archaeology at UCLA. With limited support for interdisciplinary research in a standard departmental structure, the Archaeology Program and Cotsen Institute offer unique educational and research opportunities for students like me.”
—John “Mac” Marston
Ph.D. candidate, Archaeology Program


Susanna“The graduate program in archaeology at the Cotsen Institute is unique because of its interdisciplinary nature.  At the Cotsen Institute, students are able to work with faculty members from a wide spectrum of disciplines, ranging from anthropology and art history to material science and engineering.  My own research interest benefits from such an interdisciplinary approach.  Currently, I am conducting research on the sources of nephrite during the Shang Dynasty in China.  I am able to consult with professors who are experts in Chinese archaeology, mineralogy, as well as linguistics.  In addition, the state of the art facilities at the Conservation Laboratory allow for on-site mineralogical analysis on nephrite samples.  It is this combination of expertise among faculty members and advanced equipment at the Cotsen Institute that helps to address my research questions in the most effective manner.”

—Susanna Lam

Ph.D. candidate, Archaeology Program





Molly“One of the great strengths of the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program is that it is based in part at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, which brings together scholars and students from a wide variety of disciplines.  During my time in the program, I have had the unique opportunity to study and collaborate with students in other departments, to take part in Cotsen Institute events and lecture series, to learn about current archaeological research, and to work on an UCLA-sponsored excavation.  This type of environment has contributed to my understanding of conservation as a multidisciplinary field and has exposed me to the various meanings and values that objects and sites may have to other scholars and communities.”
—Molly Gleeson
M.A. in Conservation, 2008


Pickman“My time at the Cotsen Institute was one of opportunities and challenges. Professors and staff from the Conservation and the Archaeology departments created an environment that encouraged and facilitated my growth as a conservation professional—whether in theory, research, or practical treatments. As a member of the first class to be graduating from the program, I feel it is a privilege to be counted among my classmates as representatives of the program and the University in the field of Conservation.”
—Steven Pickman
M.A. in Conservation, 2008


Siska“I chose the UCLA/Getty conservation program because I am very interested in the conservation of objects that consist of multiple materials and their treatment issues. The conservation program provides amazing teachers and facilities and the cooperation between the university and the Getty institute has a lot of advantages, especially concerning analytical research. I love the interaction and communication between the students, teachers and guest lecturers.”
—Siska Genbrugge, M.A. candidate, Conservation Program

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