Introducing KP

This is my first blog post for the Digital Storytelling class at my school, the University of Mary Washington. Below is a brief introductory sound clip about me. I hope you enjoy it.

In addition to being a student, I am an avid lover of fur babies. I have a pet ferret named Bandit. She is deaf and doesn’t like to be petted like a traditional pet. She does love to be held and she loves to explore.

Bandit 1

Recently, I’ve developed a healthy dose of stress and anxiety. I’m an overachiever and an extroverted introvert. I excel in social settings but they also exhaust me. Additionally, long trips in my car get kind of lonely. So, I’ve adopted three Squishmallows: Xenia, Katya, and Lana. I only have pictures of Xenia (pictured right) and Katya (pictured left) though. My squishy friends relieve stress and help me feel a bit more comfortable in life. Despite having such cute and squishable friends, I’m a pretty intense person.

As an adult student, I have serious goals. Two years ago, I decided to return to school after over 20 years of living life. I already had five years of experience in cemetery preservation, but I wanted to learn more about historic preservation and how to better help minority communities preserve and publicize their history. That is also one reason why I’m taking Digital Storytelling. My goal is to learn the best ways to tell the stories of those I’m trying to help. Social media would be a great help for fundraising, storytelling, finding volunteers, and just generally educating the public about the history of underrepresented groups.

This summer I have big plans. Currently, I’m taking this course. I’m also enrolled in an archaeology field school, as I mentioned in my audio clip. Additionally, I’m traveling to Paris, France to continue my French studies and to conduct research on French burial practices, cemetery preservation, and death philosophy. I received a scholarship based on my research topic. I hope my research will prove useful to the US as we look at our own practices and consider alternatives to past traditions.

Below I’ve posted a short video/slideshow about my summer so far. In the video, you’ll see several of my recent activities. Last week, I met a friend from the Department of Historic Resources at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). After my meeting, I perused the museum, inside and out. There was a new exhibit for Frederick Douglass. The next day, I met an old colleague who now works at the Jamestown Settlement. We decided to visit Mount Vernon together and take a critical look at their presentation of enslaved African history vs. presidential history. That same day, I visited the Fredericksburg United Methodist Church (FUMC) to assist with an archaeology project to discover if their minister is buried under the building. The burial was in a very small crawl space and marked with a cross. I’ve been working to find a handheld GPR device to help them view the burials. If you know someone who has one, please let me know so we can get this project finished! Finally, in the video you’ll see my first two days at the archaeology field school. I’m working on a Rappahannock tribe site in connection with “Gunstocker” Ned and the Nanzatico. If you’re not familiar with the Nanzatico, do a quick Wikipedia search and learn about them. Their history is fascinating and also sad. My partner and I found a native bead on the first day. Amazing find!

Thank you for reading my first post. I hope you enjoyed it. I look forward to expanding my knowledge in this class. This is going to be quite useful in my future career!

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