Caitlin Zarate, 2018 Vera R. Campbell Promise Scholarship

September 28, 2018


2018 Vera R. Campbell Promise Scholarship

Caitlin Zarate
Major: Anthropology, Minor: Biology
College/Graduation Year: College of Natural and Social Sciences, Class of 2020

Name of the Scholarship (and its benefits):

The Vera R. Campbell Promise Scholarship provides three students with up to $4000 in financial support to attend an IFR (Institute for Field Research) archaeological field school.

What are your future career goals? How did this scholarship contribute to your goals?

I am planning on pursuing a career as a forensic anthropologist. This scholarship helped me attend an archaeological field school with an emphasis in bioarchaeology. Bioarchaeology is the study of human remains at archaeological sites. Since I am interested in the analysis of bones, this field school was the perfect opportunity to work with actual human bones and apply myself within the field of archaeology. The work I completed at this field school provided me with a strong basis which I can build off of as I continue to pursue forensic anthropology.

What kind of activities or awards did the scholarship help you participate in or receive?

Due to the scholarship, I was able to attend an IFR (Institute for Field Research) field school in Bicol, Philippines. This allowed me to learn more about archaeology outside of a normal class setting. The professors and graduate students within the program taught me how to do hands-on archaeology. I was able to learn how to properly dig a trench, excavate and identify artifacts, and discover human remains. The work was tough; I would dig in the trench for majority of the work day (7AM-5PM). Though it was tiring, I really enjoyed digging and finding artifacts. I was able to strengthen myself, both physically and mentally, from doing this archaeological work. Towards the end of the field school, I also presented in a meeting with the community to report the findings and discoveries that were made. It was a very important experience to me, as I was able to inform the Bicol community about their past and their ancestors.

What motivated you to apply and what were some of the challenges?

I received motivation from my professors to apply to the Vera R. Campbell Promise Scholarship. Seeing how it provided me with the opportunity to travel overseas and give me field experience, I really wanted to apply. I was somewhat discouraged to apply at first, because one of the application questions asked about prior archaeological experience. I did not have any hands-on archaeological experience. I had only taken 2 lecture-based archaeology courses. Despite this, my professor, Dr. Jim Brady, encouraged me to apply. He said that programs like these want applicants with varying amounts of experience so they can provide everyone with equal opportunities. They focus on students like me to discover the world of archaeology.

What is a cause you’re passionate about? Is this cause related to your career goals?

I am very passionate about the understanding and appreciation of past cultures. To me, it is very important to respect those who have lived before us. It feels like these days, many are focused on advancement within the future. I believe that those in the past are of equal importance because they still have guidance, knowledge, and stories to tell. This is one of the main reasons I wish to become a forensic anthropologist. I want to provide those who have passed a gateway to tell their stories.

What advice would you give to future applicants of this scholarship or any scholarship?

I would advise future applicants to pursue the opportunity to apply, even if they might think they will not be accepted. The phrase “you never know unless you try” is very applicable to these types of situations. A passion for anthropology and the ability to try, to me, was the most important part of applying for this scholarship. At first, I was nervous and unsure about applying to the Vera R. Campbell Promise Scholarship. Then, the moment I stopped doubting and started doing, I gained more confidence in myself and my abilities, and apply.

Also, seek help from your advisors, especially NISFeP, as you prepare the scholarship application! Having someone else look over my application, helping to make my answers more clear and concise made a big difference. Don’t be afraid to utilize your campus resources, they are here to help you and ensure your success.

What would others be surprised to know about you?

This scholarship also allowed me to travel out of the country for the first time. I was able to visit my family, learn more about my Filipino heritage, and discover more about the Philippines itself.

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