Q & A with Kristina Donnally
Whether you are interested in human biology and evolution, human culture, human language and communication, or the past lives of humans, anthropology covers it all.
When did you decide you wanted to study anthropology?
I have always wanted to be an archeologist. Ever since I went to the Ancient Egypt exhibit at the Smithsonian in second grade, I have wanted to be an archaeologist. I was lucky enough to do my first field work when I was a senior in high school, and that sealed the deal for me. There is nothing I have ever loved studying more than archaeology and ancient history.
What was one of your favorite classes in your major?
My favorite class in the School of World Studies was The Archaeology of Death and Burial. I love analyzing funerary contexts, and this class was such a fun overview of different funerary rituals and what studying burials can tell us about human history. I have a soft spot for all things macabre, too, so this class was perfect for me.
Can you tell us about your internship experience?
I’ve also had the chance to complete two internships in the Virtual Curation Lab under Dr. Bernard Means. The Virtual Curation Lab is a place that does 3D digital data collection and virtual artifact curation. We take real objects and fossils from museums and we scan them and recreate them with a 3D printer. Both semesters working in the lab were some of the best experiences I have had at VCU. It gave me the confidence that I could actually do archaeology work, it gave me skills that are vital to my post-graduation career and it gave me a community of like-minded scholars, many of whom have become my closest friends.
I also participated in an internship outside of VCU where I worked at an excavation in Israel on a 3,000-year-old site in the summer of 2018. That internship went so well that they hired me as junior archaeological staff for the summer of 2019. Excavating in Israel was one of the best experiences of my whole life.
Why should a student major in anthropology?
I decided to major in anthropology because it delves into what it means to be human. Whether you are interested in human biology and evolution, human culture, human language and communication, or the past lives of humans, anthropology covers it all. It is a major where you can study magic and witchcraft, Stonehenge, mummies, Neanderthals and more amazing topics. Most importantly, it is a major that puts humanity, ethics, conversation and progress at the forefront.