Student Blog Post #6: Travis Slooter

Travis Slooter is a guest student from Grand Rapids Community College. Here is Travis standing with a poster he made highlighting his work at the field school.

Hello! My name is Travis Slooter. I am currently a “guest student” at Michigan Tech. I am part of MICUP, a program that allows students from community colleges to come up to Michigan Tech and experience life at a four-year college institution. We stay in the dorms, eat in the dining hall, take a class, and work on a research project in our desired field to earn valuable undergraduate research experience.  For this program, each student who works on a research project must complete a poster describing their research and what they accomplished.

Presently, I am studying to become a Paleontologist, a scientist who studies dinosaurs and other parts of prehistory, at Grand Rapids Community College. I was accepted into the program in April and by May 4th, I was on my way up to Michigan Tech. I was lucky enough to have my class and research in one. I was put in the Archaeological Field School led by Dr. Tim Scarlett and Dr. Sam Sweitz. I had ideas of what I would be doing; working at the mines, creating n-meter by n-meter work areas and just digging to find artifacts… I soon found out how wrong I was.

I have learned so much, ranging from the history of the Keweenaw, to the skills essential to archaeology. I have gained all of this knowledge from long hot days in the field, covered in layers of bug spray, and the long nights reading material about Cliff Mine and the lives of the people of Clifton. But I wouldn’t have changed a single moment of it.

The last seven weeks of my life have filled me with so many memories that I will remember for the rest of my life. I enjoyed the field trips around the Keweenaw, learning about its origins and learning about the processes and ethics of archaeologists. I have grown so much as a student; I now know how to talk to professors, PhD. students, and grad students.

Instead of just learning how to dig properly, I have gained knowledge in mapping using traditional and sophisticated methods, how to make an educated hypothesis on why an artifact is where it is and how it got there, and how to have fun out in the field.

Travis wanted to include one his own pics in this post. Here is the crew (minus Travis of course) having lunch and planning how to go about mapping Clifton. This is actually one of the few times we were all working together at the site. Usually we are separated into 2-3 groups every day.

Originally I had no intentions on transferring to MTU, but after this summer, this very short summer, I have grown to love Michigan Tech. I love the small campus feel, the educational devotion of the students, and the open door policy of all the professors I met. I am now considering transferring in the fall of 2013 to continue my education considering my admittance and financial circumstances.

I want to thank everyone for a great summer and really accepting me as a fellow student. I have enjoyed meeting everyone in the industrial archaeology department. I’m truly going to miss everyone, students and professors.

May your shovels stay sharp and your buckets overflow!
Best wishes to everyone,
Travis Slooter

“If you do what you love and love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.”


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About Sean Gohman

Currently a PhD Degree seeking student in the Michigan Tech University's Industrial Heritage and Archaeology program.

4 responses to “Student Blog Post #6: Travis Slooter”

  1. Joe Dancy says :

    Great comments Travis! And great looking poster.

    Clifton and the Cliff Mine are very unique sites, I wished I had the opportunity to participate in the summer program years ago when I was a student at Tech (the program and project did not exist back in those ‘dark ages’, I was relegated to processing Bolivian Iron ore during a summer i spent here as a student in the MTU Institute of Mineral Research Lab – ‘screening’ had a whole different meaning when dealing with crushed iron ore – but that is another story).

    Thanks for the hospitality you and fellow students displayed as I tagged along this week at the Clifton sites. I was somewhat surprised, although I should not have been, about how physical and exhausting the work was, and how bad the bugs were even with insect spray. And surprised at the concentration, or lack thereof, of artifacts at each location we tested.

    It was also good to see the immediate feedback the students were getting from the professors – some great ‘teaching moments’ occurred that just do not happen in a normal classroom (at least in a way that makes an immediate and lasting impression).

    You would make a fine student at Tech, you have a great work ethic and a great sense of natural curiosity as well as teamwork skills. You would love the snow – no bugs in the winter! Enjoy the rest of the summer, and avoid the black flies!

  2. Lee Sweitz says :

    Travis — your hard work and positive attitude during field school have been very much appreciated.Don’t forget that many of the skills you learned this summer will serve you in paleontological field work as well. If you decide to transfer to Michigan Tech, we can continue studying animal bones!

  3. Travis Slooter says :

    After a few months away from Houghton, I feel homesick. I miss the UP in every way imaginable. I joyfully announce that I have changed my major from Paleontology to getting my undergrad in Anthropology. From there I plan on getting my PhD in Higher Education Administration… plus I just applied to MTU a few weeks ago. Wish me luck!

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