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Post-secondary doesn't have to be a straight path. Two students journey to SFU Archaeology.

February 09, 2021
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Rory's path....

Before Rory started at SFU, they travelled abroad to Spain and Morocco, where they saw the world and gained valuable cultural experience. Then they took classes at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. 

Many transfer students, like Rory, often find themselves more prepared and have better defined educational goals than direct-from-high-school students when they start at SFU. Before enrolling in SFU’s archaeology program, they studied biology at KPU. After taking a Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology course, Rory fell in love with the discipline. Rory didn’t have the funds to move out of province. Luckily, they didn’t have to look far. SFU has one of the best archaeology programs in Canada with internationally-recognized faculty, and the archaeology focus in biological anthropology aligned perfectly with Rory’s interests. 

At SFU, Rory got involved, from gaining career experience as a research assistant documenting archaeological remains to volunteering at the SFU Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Rory also joined the Archaeology Student Society and as the current president they help plan events and engage students.  

SFU students are diverse and fearless, and Rory is no exception. As a queer, non-binary, and neurodiverse individual, Rory’s experiences bring perspectives that help them critically assess the colonial past within archaeology, and advance reconciliation work. 

Rory contributed to this reconciliation during the 2018 Bioarchaeology Field School, a five-week program held in Southern Portugal where they had the opportunity to put their course theory into practice through excavation projects. Students got to explore the history and culture of the area, and helped excavate an archeological cemetery. 

“I found the field school to be exceptionally rewarding. I had never experienced history to that extent. Being able to learn about the history of the region while excavating was an exceptional experience and I highly recommend any type of field school to undergraduate students.”

Rory is currently finishing their Archeology degree (pre-Honours) and Bioanthropology certificate, and hopes to pursue a master’s afterwards. From getting ready at Kwantlen to growing within SFU, Rory hopes their journey inspires others.

Katy's journey....

Post-secondary doesn't have to be a straigth path.

Katy’s wasn’t. Before beginning her bachelor’s in archaeology, she started at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Katy wasn’t sure about transferring to SFU. Fortunately, her professor at KPU helped support her in making the decision, and Katy found even more resources once she arrived.

“Overall, it was much easier than I had anticipated. Going from a smaller university to a much larger one, I expected the latter to be stricter and more difficult… But actually, the experience has been very similar to that of KPU. My professors and peers are helpful and incredibly understanding.”

Katy says that the hardest part about transferring was the change in her commute, which increased. She wasn’t deterred though and got involved with her departmental student union as vice-president of the Archaeology Student Society. And like many students, Katy worked part-time during her degree. Through networking at SFU, Katy was also able to gain work experience doing zooarchaeological sorting for Arrowstone Archeological Research and Consulting.

The wide selection of courses and opportunities in the archeology department were also perfect for Katy’s wide range of interests. Her favorites are zooarchaeology (ARCH 340) and human osteology (ARCH 373).

Katy pushed the boundaries of her comfort zone even more by participating in the 2019 K’omoks Field School in Courtenay in her second semester at SFU. Katy barely knew anyone and had zero camping experience, but she quickly adjusted to camp life and made new friends! This field school was a partnership with the K’omoks First Nation that focused on excavating an important ancient village site called Pentlatch. Katy was able to apply what she learned in the classroom through archaeological field work through mapping, digging, and data collection.

Katy is currently finishing her archeology degree with a certificate in forensic studies. From getting ready at Kwantlen to exploring SFU, Katy shows how taking the leap can help you grow in ways you might not expect.