This past weekend a group of seven past students from the Emanu-El field course took part in the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting in Vancouver BC. As an undergraduate student looking at continuing on to a masters degree, this was a hugely exciting opportunity!

The Crew Left to Right – Meaghan Efford, Emily Badger, Maya Cowan, Paige Peterson, Melanie Heizer, Elisa Moes, Taylor Peacock, Dr. Erin McGuire.

(Side note, there was some serious internal fan-girling going on over some of the attendees and the book sales. And academic books at 20% off? Sign me up!)

This conference was really the highlight of my undergraduate career. Not only do I get to put it on my resume, but I got to attend some seriously cool talks on current research from all over the world. I also had the opportunity to talk to people from all over North America working in cemeteries, on digital archaeology, and got to share the work that I have been doing.

This was particularly rewarding for me as one of the major aspects of this project is community involvement and dissemination of information. By taking this research to such a large conference, we are raising awareness not only of our individual interests with in the larger project, but we are bringing awareness to the Jewish community in Victoria. We brought mini business cards with us to distribute to people who were interested in our research and the project in general. For anyone who presents at a conference, this was a brilliant idea. This leaves people with something physical to remind them of why they were interested in the project. There is so much to take in, that with out having something like a business card to look at, it’s hard to remember all of the things you intend on following up on.

Mini Business cards.

The conference itself was exhausting. The mornings were early and the nights were late. There were so many fascinating talks and poster presentations to go to that we found ourselves running around the whole time, trying to make the most of this opportunity. Each of us had a conference program glued to our hands and I found myself constantly flipping through it to select which session I wanted to attend next.

Weekend necessities: Program and name tags.

Image by Melanie Heizer

Coal Harbor sunrise – Day 2.

While our ability to attend this conference was kind of the perfect storm – it just so happened to be taking place in Vancouver this year, there were enough of us interested in attending that we were able to put together a group poster session,  and our professors were so supportive of helping us through this opportunity.

Plus, Cartems Doughnuts was a short walk from the conference center.

Image by Melanie Heizer

London Fog Doughnut.

To recap: Conference was an incredible opportunity. There were so many people to talk to, do many things to learn. Personally, I spent my time trying to soak up as much information as I possibly could, and spent the rest of the time grilling my wonderful professor on her adventures in academia and asking for as much advice as she was willing to give. I spent the rest of the time thinking about the best doughnuts ever.