Nearly everyone who’s seen Indiana Jones has pondered what a career in archeology would be like. Fortunately for us, there is a very real Dr. Jones in the field.
Dr. Alexandra Jones is the founder and CEO of Archeology in the Community (AITC). She didn’t start out as an archeologist, but an undergraduate course in archeology at Howard University changed her mind. Excited about her new career prospects, Jones worked hard to earn a spot on an undergraduate research trip to a real archeological dig site in Chunchucmil, an ancient Mayan city in Mexico. She went on to complete her bachelor’s degree in history and anthropology from Howard in 2001, followed by a master’s degree in history in 2003. While working on her degree, she worked full-time as a sixth grade teacher. She loved teaching, but decided to continue down the road to being an archeologist.
In 2010, Jones completed her doctorate’s degree in historical archaeology from the University of California at Berkeley. Her dissertation project was on the excavation of the First Agape African Methodist Zion Church in Cabin John, Maryland.
Jones volunteered to do an archeological survey for the church for free and recruited volunteers from the public to assist with the work. Simultaneously, Jones also participated in an outreach program teaching middle school students about archeology. She made it her personal mission to bring the joy and excitement of her field back to the kids in her home community of Washington, D.C.
Jones founded AITC in 2009. AITC is a D.C.-based non-profit organization that educates the public about the excitement of being an archeologist and the skills necessary to do it. In 2015, AITC partnered with the U.S. Embassy of Belize and the Institute of Archeology in Belize to educate over 150 students about archeology, including a mock excavation and the preservation of cultural heritage.
In addition to her work with AITC, Jones also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore and an assistant professor at Baltimore City Community College. She also worked for a year as a field school director for the Time Team America and the Science of Archeology program, developing curriculum for middle and high school students. The Time Team America series first aired on PBS in 2014.
In an interview for Howard Magazine, Dr. Jones said, “My advice to future archeologists is to follow your dreams. Do what you love and what you are passionate about. And most importantly, be patient.”
Are you interested in empowering women in the STEM fields? The Women in Science (Wi-Sci) group wants you! Email President Emily Larner (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.