Tracy Formica Miller

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Archaeological Lab Coordinator, Illinois State Archaeological Survey

MSES ’06

Archaeology isn’t all Indiana Jones-style exploits. In fact, there is almost none of that. In real life, archaeologists are a pretty deliberate bunch.

That’s not to say, though, that an archaeologist might not want to try something a little different.

Tracy Formica Miller wanted to study archaeology but distinguish her experience from a traditional archeology degree. The Master of Science in Environmental Studies Program in the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University offered her the opportunity to do so.

While in the program, Miller gained field experience by volunteering on local archaeology trips and learned laboratory processing and artifact curation. Most valuable, she said, was her time with her mentors, Elliot Abrams and Ann Corinne Freter-Abrams.

“I had a lot of one-on-one time with my mentors,” she said. “They taught me to be professional, to have respect for one's colleagues, and that my career would not happen on its own; I had to take the initiative to make it happen. So, I did.”

Miller hit the ground running after graduating in 2006, directing fieldwork surveys and excavations working as a midlevel archaeologist at different archaeology firms. She later moved from the field to the laboratory, as a senior archaeologist and full-time lithic analyst for the Cultural Resources Management Group at URS, an international engineering firm. Today, she is archaeology laboratory coordinator for the Illinois State Archaeological Survey, where she directs and oversees all archaeology lab operations.

Her professional success is the result of her own hard work combined with that slightly different education choice.

“It was the combination of the MSES program experience and a fine-tuned skillset that got my resume noticed,” Miller said.

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