I have always had great interest in the mysteries that lie beneath bodies of water that have been virtually unexplored since prehistoric times. When I first visited RSMAS, I met Dr. John Gifford and he set fire to the fuel I had in me to find a way to explore these mysteries by telling me about his work at Little Salt Spring. I knew from that moment that any work I could do at or for Little Salt Spring could get me closer to my dream of exploring similar bodies of water in areas that have not yet been recognized as archaeological sites. Mainly, my curiosity stems from the many bodies of water that exist around the Andes mountains, which have been inhabited for far longer than our common knowledge of human societies recognizes. In the scientific writing class I took last semester, I got to imagine myself preparing for such a venture, and the 20 pages of research that followed became my official internship proposal, reviewed by a number of experienced and credentialed professionals. I have had the great privilege of having a strong and consistent relationship with Dr. John Gifford as a mentor. Upon reviewing my internship proposal last May, he helped me realize many unrealistic expectations and set out a plan to get me much closer to making this proposal a reality. We both agreed that all my ambitions were very related to his work at Little Salt Spring, which has been having trouble staying open for research due to lack of capable entities that could continue providing the cost of maintenance. By facing this problem with an action-list of possible solutions, I learned how most archaeological projects require protection and maintenance in between research projects, what the budget for these sites look like during and in between research projects and where the money for this generally comes from. The items on that action-list that Dr. Gifford helped me prepare include creating a list of possible donors, writing a cover letter, creating stimulating media like brochures and promotional videos, applying for project-based grants and looking into selling naming rights or property titles to sponsors or state-owned organizations. All of these items could be applied to any archaeological project I would like to initiate or save from extermination in the future. I have learned so much about the harsh realities of finding funding to save cultural heritage in this modern age. I now not only have a detailed project to propose but know who to propose it to, how much I need to ask for to make it a reality and how to go about it. I would have never known how to begin to acquire this knowledge and experience without the course I took in scientific writing and the excellent guidance of my graduate school mentor, Dr. John Gifford.
Alvarez, Camila M., "Fundraising for a critically overlooked archaeological site." (2013). Internship Reports (Restricted). 163.
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