Wendy Layco


Wendy Layco

Student discovers her passion for archaeology at Cal State LA

By Margie Low
Cal State LA News Service

Anthropology major Wendy Layco discovered her passion at California State University, Los Angeles.

In May, she will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology and then prepare to return to Cal State LA in the fall, where she will pursue a master’s degree.

“As part of my graduate studies at Cal State LA, I plan to continue my research in Philippine archaeology,” said Layco. “This summer, I have been invited to participate in the Sacred Landscapes Archaeology Project in Belize, which will further my archaeological experience in a different geographical area. My ultimate goal is to attain my Ph.D. and become a professor.” 

During her junior year, Layco was one of only eight college students in the nation selected to participate in the competitive Ifugao Archaeological Project (IAP).

She conducted archaeological work in the Ifugao region of Philippines for five weeks during the summer of 2016. Layco was part of a field project crew composed of university students, as well as early career archaeologists.

Funded by the National Science Foundation-Research Experience for Undergraduates Program, the project examined anthropological issues that included the relationship between agricultural and irrigation systems, and effects of colonialism on local political and economic activities.

“I never dreamed school could be so exciting,” said Layco, a resident of Hollywood. She described her Philippines experience as “a great adventure.”

This spring, Layco presented her research results, “Evidence of Social Differentiation at Old Kiyyangan Village Philippines: An Analysis of Beads Associated with Infant Jar and Supine Child Burials,” at the 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Vancouver.

Layco’s faculty adviser was Professor James Brady, who described her as a “great undergraduate student.”

“I am absolutely thrilled for Wendy because she is such a hard-working student,” Brady said.

Layco was born in Los Angeles and raised in Oregon. She started her college career in Portland Community College, and completed her associate degree at Los Angeles Community College before transferring to Cal State LA.

At Cal State LA, Layco was a member of the Society for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies and the Society for Biological Anthropology. She volunteered at the California Coastal Archaeology Laboratory, where she examined and analyzed ecofacts from San Nicolas Island. She also spent time in the University’s Forensic Anthropology Laboratory, where she organized osteological remains. She was inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society and the LAMBDA Alpha National Anthropology Honor Society.