Student Star: Annalee Shum

Name: Annalee Shum
Major: Anthropology

“I am most interested in combining my two passions, and therefore have turned to Archaeology to learn about mankind's history by evaluating the evidence left behind.”

“I have always been attracted to history, what mankind has accomplished, but I am also drawn to the how and why of such accomplishments. I am most interested in combining my two passions, and therefore have turned to Archaeology to learn about mankind’s history by evaluating the evidence left behind,” says Annalee Shum, an Honors in the Major student in Anthropology.

Her first “field school” was to Hungary with the Körös Regional Archaeological Project. Under the direction of William Parkinson, associate professor of Anthropology, the Project won a National Science Foundation grant to continue research of this region’s transition into the Copper Age. Her individual on-site project involved experimental Archaeology to better understand the role of temper in the construction of Copper Age pottery. “I worked alongside nine other undergraduates from around the country, several returning graduate students, and a team of Hungarian archaeologists to excavate a site in the Carpathian Basin.”

She is now extending that research to her Honors in the Major Thesis, “Comparative Mortuary Analysis of Copper Age Burials in the Great Hungarian Plain.” She says, “Burials are intentional internments, which can provide significant information into social identities of ancient cultures, as well as serve as cultural markings along the landscape. The information should help us track the cultural transition that occurred during this period.”

Last fall, Annalee applied her knowledge of Anthropology and her college experience to her role as a Freshman Interest Group leader. For students who were interested in studying the Classics, she taught a “Great Discoveries” class, an experience she will repeat in the upcoming fall semester. “The chance to share my experiences with incoming students and to help them through their first year of college is a true privilege.”

The FIG experience was so rewarding that, after obtaining graduate degrees in her field, Annalee “wants very badly to teach.” However, she says, “I understand the importance of sharing knowledge with the youngest generations. Visiting museums as a young child with my family was where my passion for learning first began. Books are great, but museums take the things you might not understand and make them interesting and inviting. I want to help those feelings grow, and a museum setting is the place to start.”