BABAO 2017 Student Panel – Professional Develop Session

On the Sunday morning of this year’s BABAO conference, the first Student Panel Session was held by John Moores University at the John Lennon Arts and Design Academy.  The session, entitled ‘Professional Development’ was a forum for students at all stages of higher education to hear about the career paths of representative from the fields of Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology. Discussions focused on the current opportunities available for students and how students can stand out in order to peruse a career in their chosen discipline.

Dr Charlotte Roberts from Durham University kicked the session off with an overview of her career. From her years working as a nurse to becoming a lecturer in Bioarchaeology, Charlotte found it is best to not over plan when it came to professional development, and that alongside hard work and being passionate about what you do it is vital to have good health and wellbeing. While the fields of biological anthropology and osteoarchaeology are becoming more and more popular, university and research infra-structures are improving, creating more opportunities for students to take advantage of.

Next, Dr Dave Errickson from Teesside University admitted that originally he wanted to be a Palaeontologist despite now working as a Lecturer in Forensic Science. Dave found that his success is rooted in the contacts that he has made over the years through getting involved in his department. Organising conferences, undertaking teaching responsibilities, as well as volunteering all helps to get you noticed and develop your skill base.

Dr Nicholas Marquez-Grant followed, who told us that after toying with careers in acting, salsa dancing and horse riding, he found his niche in the field of medieval and Post-medieval funerary studies before becoming a Lecturer in Forensic Anthropology at Cranfield University. His inspiration stemmed from pioneers such as Don Brothwell, and emphasised that taking advantage of every opportunity, as well as gaining as much experience as possible in commercial archaeological will boost your employability.

And finally Sharon Clough who is the human bone specialist for Cotswold Archaeology wrapped up our student panel session. After university Sharon went straight into commercial archaeology, where she worked on short term contracts and volunteered on excavations for a number of years in order to widen her skillset “You need other skills when you run out of bones to dig up”. Despite not having a particular career plan in the beginning, Sharon was inspired to pursue a profession in human osteology where she worked in freelance before securing her current position. She says that commercial archaeology is an exciting field to work in as nothing is ever the same and it gives you the chance to explore all areas of archaeology.