"At Tübingen I have found unequaled opportunities to build collaborative interdisciplinary partnerships with colleagues."
Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology at Michigan State University
The Paleo Andes interdisciplinary working group on early Andean settlement dynamics and adaptation
|2014-2015 Teach@Tübingen Fellow; 2018 "Tübingen Reloaded"|
|Host Professor||Professor Dr. Hervé Borcherens; Prof. Dr. Dorothée Drucker|
|and Institute||Department of Geosciences, Biogeology|
What is your main research field and its importance in a broader context?
I am an Environmental Archaeologist. My main research interests are the initial human settlement of South America at the end of the last ice age, the environments that early hunter-gatherers encountered, how they adapted physically, behaviorally, and technologically, and how people and their landscapes have co-evolved since that time.
Why did you get interested and involved in a research stay in Tübingen?
I was fortunate to spend a couple of years at the University of Tübingen through fellowships with Teach@Tübingen, the DFG “Center Words Bones Genes Tools,” and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. During that time, I began collaborating on South American field and laboratory work with many outstanding University of Tübingen faculty and students. Even after I left Tübingen, these collaborations have continued to develop year by year. My close colleagues Prof. Dorotheé Drucker and Hervé Bocherens invited me to apply to the Tübingen Reloaded program to work closely together on publications and on planning the next phases of our interdisciplinary research program.
What was your most rewarding experience during your stay here?
Simply having the time dedicated for visiting with colleagues and discussing projects and making future plans. Of course, we email each other regularly, but there is no substitute for face to face interaction and dialogue!
I feel that the time was very productive for our ongoing efforts. We also had a major paper released in Cell during the visit, so we were able to celebrate that together.
Examining a scull - Professor Kurt Rademaker, Professor Hervé Borcherens and Rademaker's graduate student Emily Milton with ongoing research collaborations in Tübingen.
Which tangible outcomes of your stay are most important? What is planned for the future?
The team has several publications in preparation now, and lab work in progress that will lead to new publications later this year. I will lead a new field project in highland central Peru this coming summer 2019, which includes several U. of Tübingen team members. Perhaps the most important outcome of the meetings is that we have made a solid strategic plan for the next few years of research activities.
If someone asked you about your impressions of Tübingen, what would you reply?
The University of Tübingen is a world-class research university set in a beautiful corner of Germany. At Tübingen I have found unequaled opportunities to build collaborative interdisciplinary partnerships with colleagues. Funding, lab facilities, and expertise are all strong at the University of Tübingen.
Is there something you think German academia could learn from academia in the USA or vice-versa?
It does seem that there is a lack of permanent faculty positions in Germany relative to postdoctoral fellowship positions when compared to the US. On the other hand, in the US we lack critical “bridging” postdoctoral positions, and we are currently not funding interdisciplinary science at the level that Germany and the European Union are. The Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology and Institute for Archaeological Sciences are strong because of great people – but also ongoing investment in and development of these programs. That investment is necessary and worthwhile.
Do you have any further comments?
I am truly grateful to the Tübingen Alumni Center for supporting this research stay!