Uncovering History Through Undergraduate Research

This image was taken with permission from archaeologists at an an archaeological site in Drawsko, Poland.

Most college students think of beach days and bathing suits when they hear they’re going to visit the East Coast for the summer. Current UCF senior Alexandra Kulenguski headed to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to spend her break working as an Archaeology and Digital Heritage Technician, instead of soaking up the sun beach-side.

This opportunity was offered through USF’s Digital Heritage and Humanities Collection, an initiative formed by the USF Tampa Campus Library that works to document historic locations and artifacts to promote learning through a digital perspective.

During her time as a technician, Kulenguski worked alongside archaeologists to survey known historical sites on Cape Canaveral’s base. This work included both pedestrian surveying and shovel testing, where she found artifacts dating back to prehistoric time periods.

While always interested in archaeology, Kulenguski only began to consider it as a viable career the summer before she entered college. She realized she wanted to be an archaeologist after speaking with park archaeologists during a road trip to the Southwest. Now three years into her education, Kulenguski has found many opportunities to pursue her passion through internships and research positions.

During her time with UCF, she worked alongside associate Professor of Archaeology Sarah Barber, Ph.D., as part of undergraduate research focusing on a burial collection from the archaeological site of Loma Don Genaro. Kulenguski presented her research project during UCF’s Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence. She has also presented at the Florida Anthropological Society regarding the work she conducted this summer.

Kulenguski is incredible grateful for the guidance and mentorship of Barber, as well as the opportunities UCF has offered, and credits her success to them.

“I definitely feel as though I have been more successful as a result of these opportunities. I think UCF is a school that appreciates students who are very driven, and that appreciation manifests itself in so many amazing academic and professional opportunities,” she said.

After she graduates, Kulenguski hopes to attend graduate school and eventually earn a Ph.D. in Archaeology.



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