A Fresh Start

As I have been preparing for grad school in the fall, I have been looking at various ways to pinch and stretch my limited funds. I also anticipate having limited time to blog, and have been blogging less regularly these days with many other life events going on.

I have come to a decision to switch hosting services for my author blog, and to downgrade to a much cheaper annual plan that will allow me to keep my blog and favorite domains live while I’m in school. This means I will be giving up some of the advanced plugin and theme customization features I have enjoyed in the past. I’ve gone back to displaying my publications in an old-fashioned list, and my free theme lacks drop-down menu features (for my past author events, works in progress, and publication links, just click on the link “Sarah’s Fiction” in the main menu). Nevertheless, I am confident that this clean and simple theme with its beautiful fonts and layout will serve well as the new home and face of my author blog, Slithers of Thought, over the next few years.

This new site is also set up with a featured landing homepage, rather than featuring the blog up front, as a way of inviting visitors to continue browsing my site while communicating that I will not be posting frequently during my studies.

Thank you to everyone who has been following my progress. I’m proud of this little site I’ve built up. This blog of five years is a little messy in some ways, but it has been an experiment in growth and boldness for me. I’m still learning and growing, and anxious to share more life adventures with you–however limited that interaction my become during this time as I prepare to immerse myself in graduate studies.

Thanks for reading and following!

Sincerely,

Sarah

Sciencing at the SAA Conference

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Last week I presented my first official scientific poster at the Society for American Archaeology conference in Washinton DC. The poster featured the mentored research I did in Kenya last summer, studying how surface water flow impacts ancient lithic assemblages. It was an awesome opportunity, and it was fun to meet up with Koobi Fora researchers and students I hadn’t seen in person since last summer. It was also wonderful to rub shoulders with other archaeologists, to meet some of the people I’ll be seeing at UCL in the fall when I start my master’s program, to listen in on some podium talks featuring other scientists’ and students’ latest research, and to network.

I’m pretty proud of this poster, so I wanted to show off a picture of me presenting it at the conference. Special thanks to Jonathan Reeves, David Braun, Matthew Douglass, and Koobi Fora Field School for this research and presentation opportunity. 🙂

In Memory of Professor Eugene Clark

On this Christmas day, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on a professor who has had a profound impact on my academic path and life in general.

I just learned that Eugene Clark, one of the most amazing science teachers and incredible human beings I’ve ever had the opportunity to cross paths with in my life, has just passed away. He’s had a huge impact on my education. I took three concurrent enrollment classes (classes registered through a local university for college credit) from him in high school, and a couple of geology classes from him at BYU. I remember him most fondly for making the football players in my high school geology class carry me on field trips when I was recovering from foot surgeries. For his hand-made de-motivational posters and his wry sense of humor. For driving a motorcycle to work instead of a car to save fuel and leave a better impact on the environment. For encouraging young men and young women to be respectful of one another, and for advocating and teaching a sense of profundity in co-educational teamwork. And for his testimony of the Gospel in the little things he mentioned like how he and his wife liked to go to the temple for date nights to do sealings.

He cared so much about his students’ individual learning needs and instilled a love of physics, engineering, astronomy, and geology in me that has enriched my life. In his physics class in high school, I got to work with a team of other students to build, and fire shot puts from, a life-size working trebuchet. Going to Costa Rica with a high school class to learn about volcanoes and hike through rain forests was a life-changing experience for me. He encouraged me to pursue geology at BYU and to apply for a department scholarship that eased the burden of educational expenses my first semester. If he hadn’t invited me to work as a teaching assistant for some of his labs at BYU, I might not have made the push through my social anxiety to build confidence in teaching content I had already learned to others.

As I have applied to graduate schools many times in more recent years since graduating from BYU, he has always been willing to write letters of recommendation for me whenever I’ve asked him. This year when I reached out, I learned from his daughter that he came home early from an LDS mission he and his wife were serving and has been battling cancer for the better part of this year. I have learned that he passed away just a few days ago. I, and many students whom this man has taught over the years, will sorely miss him. His humble and sincere influence for good in our lives is beyond measure.

Brother Clark, thank you for all that you have done for us many, many students, and God be with you ’til we all meet again.

Thoughts on “Tribe” by Sebastian Junger

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I really enjoyed this book and wanted to share it. Wonderful discussions about gendered adaptations and approaches to threat and conflict. Mental illness, and societal as well as evolutionary adaptations we possess for dealing with trauma. And our human need for strong social bonds and meaningful opportunities to come together as one to contribute to, protect, and heal our communities. Thought-provoking, sincere, hopeful, and deeply moving writing (or, in the case of the audiobook version I “read,” listening). Also a decent commentary on the challenges we face in America and other developed Western societies, where we have incredible blessings of health, security, technological advances, and prosperity that also tend to stratify us into social or political classes and isolate us from one another.

There are so many cool things I could talk about with this short book, but I’ll leave the discussion here. I feel greatly enriched by this book, and I’m growing rather fond of Sebastian Junger’s well-researched and thoughtful perspectives of humanity. There’s a lot more potential for good in our natures and tendencies than we often consider, and we humans need one another more than we know.

Highly recommended read!

You can find Tribe here on Audible (read by the author himself): http://www.audible.com/pd/History/Tribe-Audiobook/B01D57FN3I

Or here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tribe-Homecoming-Belonging-Sebastian-Junger/dp/1455566381.