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Inside AAA – Meet Jason

Inside AAA is a blog series that provides readers the opportunity to get a glimpse of the people who work for you, the AAA member. In this series, staff members provide insight on their job and themselves.

This week, Inside AAA features Jason G. Watkins, CMP. He is AAA’s Director of Meetings.

What is your favorite on-the-job task?
Developing the framework of logistics surrounding the annual meeting is one of my favorite on-the-job tasks.  The framework includes not only the host city and facilities, but managing all of the multiple vendors it takes to produce a 6,000 person program.   Even when the annual meeting is happening we are working on the following years events.  Imagine the Olympic logo – five circles.  For the AAA meetings department each of those five circles represents a meeting we’re working on at any given time: the current year, the following year, and the three years ahead.  For us to be able to keep all of that going is exciting and makes for very interesting days in the office.

What is the most rewarding on-the-job moment?
One of the rewarding aspects of the job is working with the dedicated volunteers of the program committee (aka Section Program Editors), the executive program committee and the executive program chair.  What’s even better is seeing the event as it is happening, the excitement of 6,000 anthropologists in one central area in deep discussion, dialogue and creative expression of ideas.  And the moment when I see the program chair or a section editor during the meeting and they say “Hey, we actually did it!” is the most rewarding.

What is the most bizarre object in your office?
I have a collection of name badges from events and conferences I have attended hanging on my door.  The collection serves no purpose other than to annoy me anytime I try to close the door, as they inevitably get stuck or in the way.  But, for some reason I cannot let myself throw one away or stop collecting them. You never know when you’ll need a name badge?  

What is your favorite activity outside of work?
In the last two-three years I have been doing more running (albeit slowly).  It is great for stress relief and a jump start to the day.  Plus, it is awesome to be able to run through the national mall and by the national monuments at sunrise.  About 5.5 million people live the DC metropolitan area, but at that hour the monuments are shared only between me and the other 20 or so people crazy enough to get up that early.

Melissa Campbell-McIntosh Internship

My last week in Washington D.C. has been filled with times of reflection as I assist in the completion of Phase II of the USS Scorpion Project and say my goodbyes to the staff at the American Anthropological Association (AAA). I am incredibly fortunate to have been allowed to experience first-hand the inner workings of the AAA. There is a great deal of work that needs to be done in order to keep anthropologists connected and informed as well as to publicly promote the discipline in order to maintain government funding for future research for members of the AAA. I am pleased that I was able to help, if even in a limited capacity,  with the daily tasks. This experience has been and will continue to be a personal asset to me as I move forward with my career in the field of anthropology.

In addition to working at the AAA office, I also served as an intern to the Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) of the Naval History & Heritage Command (NHHC) located at the historic Navy Yard in Washington D.C.  This command is responsible for promoting and preserving Naval History and is also home to a Navy Art Gallery and Navy Museum. I worked primarily in the conservation lab, the main UAB office, and out in the field. In the lab I was able to undertake an inventory of all artifacts. Basically, I was able to personally inspect everything and make sure that all items were accounted for; bullets, cannon balls, chamber pots, dinnerware, lanterns, and weapons. Every drawer I opened held my new favorite piece!

I was surprised to find that I would have an opportunity to assist the UAB team in the field. I was not aware that when I applied for this internship I would also be fullfilling a dream of mine to work in the field with archaeologists on a historic shipwreck. The shipwreck is  the USS Scorpion, a War of 1812 ship  that was scuttled in 1814 in the Patuxent River. The team consisted of a lead archaeologist, Dr. Robert Neyland, four archaeologists, one conservator and five interns. The UAB team worked in conjunction with the Maryland State Highway Administration and the Maryland Historical Trust.  I arrived just as Phase II was beginning. The previous phase was to determine the exact location of the ship before excavation could begin and to acquire funding and supplies. Days in the field began at 6 am, the team would meet and load the van and head out to the Patuxent River where we would unload the van, and load a boat that would take us upstream to a floating research barge that was anchored in the middle of the river. My duties included all levels of gear set-up and operation, assisting with a continuous rotation of divers and taking notes and photographs of all daily events. My experience as a scuba diver and my training as an emergency oxygen provider and emergency first-responder proved to be a great comfort to the divers.  I was also able to catalog and provide inital care to artifacts brought aboard by the archaeologists. Personally, I felt an emotional connection to the artifacts and to the ship itself, having served as a Marine and knowing that Marines served aboard this ship in defense of our country was a powerful experience for me. I felt that I was honoring their service and sacrifice by making sure that this site will never be forgotten through the archaeological process.

Prior to coming to D.C. I was resolved to not advance my education further by attending graduate school, however I feel that this may in fact be a viable option for me. I know more of what I want to accomplish in my life and after having met professionals at various stages of their academic careers I feel that I have a greater understanding as to how I will go about fullfilling my own academic goals.

I cannot express in enough words my profound gratitude to all the people that worked so hard to provide me with this life-altering experience. I would like to thank the entire AAA staff, especially Damon Dozier, I have learned so much from all of you, thank you for welcoming me into your midst. I would also like to thank the UAB, Dr. Robert Neyland, Alexis Catsambis, Heather Brown, Brad Krueger, Kate Morrand, and George Schwartz, I now know what I want to do and exactly how I will do it, thank you all for shedding light upon my future.

AAA General Statement on Immigration

Following the passage of anti-immigration laws in several states, the Executive Board’s Ad Hoc Group on Immigration has released a statement making recommendations to avoid investing in areas that sponsor or pass such legislation.

In further investigating the immigration issue, the Executive Board’s Ad Hoc Group recommends the Executive Board continues to monitor closely and avoid investing in states that sponsor laws that:

  • give police broad powers and discretion to single out members of a specific ethnic group whether in principle or by practice;
  • remove social services from undocumented immigrants;
  • ban undocumented immigrants from public schools and colleges, and/or charge discriminatory fees;
  • criminalize those who drive or shelter undocumented immigrants; and
  • require individual identification cards that indicate immigration status.

View the complete General Statement on Immigration.

What do you think? Leave your thoughts about this issue as a comment to this post.

Inside AAA – Meet Sabrina

Inside AAA is a blog series that provides readers the opportunity to get a glimpse of the people who work for you, the AAA member. In this series, staff members provide insight on their job and themselves.

This week, Inside AAA features Sabrina Booth Phillips. She is AAA’s Executive Office Executive Assistant.

What is your favorite on-the-job task?
My favorite task is to organize things that are disorganized.

What is the most rewarding on-the-job moment?
Successfully negotiating student housing for our first summer internship program!

What is the most bizarre object in your office?
My ergonomic footrest.  It’s quite strange-looking, and everyone wonders what it is when they see it. 

What is your favorite activity outside of work?
I have a beautiful garden, and I love to tend it.  Hours pass, I’m in the moment, and I’m in complete and total meditative bliss.  Gardening is good medicine!

It’s Montréal Monday!

Montréal will be the host city of the 110th AAA Annual Meeting! Montréal is the university research capital of Canada. With more than 165,000 students enrolled in Montréal universities, the city ranks first in North America for the number of university students per capita.

With these factoids, here’s your final Montréal Monday trivia question:
Out of the more than 11,000 AAA members, how many of them are students?
Keep in mind that professionals make up more than 50% of the AAA membership population.

Understanding that students are notorious for keeping long hours to study as much as possible, please submit your answer as a comment to this post by 11:59 p.m. EST today (Monday, April 11) to be eligible to win. Students are also notorious to be in need to clean clothing, so this week two lucky winners will receive a t-shirt from our new AAA Café Press shop.

Remember, now is the time to renew your membership, complete your meeting registration and submit your proposal. The proposal deadline is April 15, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. EST.


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