Erin Andrews Drake
“Get involved in activities that enrich your passion and that will enable you to stand above the competition.”
Erin graduated with an M.A. in Anthropology with a focus in archaeology.
What is your current job/position?
Serving as Senior Archaeologist, Principal Investigator at Terracon Consultants, Inc., I oversee the archaeological field and laboratory operations of our Cultural Resource Management/NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) group. I am also responsible for trainings, mentoring, supervising, and review of reports for our offices nationwide.
What professional activities have you embarked upon since graduation from the anthropology program at GSU?
Since graduation, I organized a volunteer and student archaeology program in conjunction with the Georgia Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association to look for Fort Cumming, a former U.S. Army fortification used to incarcerate Cherokee people prior to their removal to Oklahoma. Georgia State Anthropology students participated in the archaeological fieldwork for this project in Lafayette, Georgia and the project was funded by the National Park Service.
Branching out into cultural anthropology, I worked for the International Rescue Committee as a Resettlement Specialist for refugees and gained social service experience for a couple of years. An opportunity then presented itself to me through one of my former GSU classmates; through this network, I worked as a Clinical Case Manager for Pathways Transition Programs (a private counseling firm) with low income families and foster children. Out of this experience, I then worked as a Case Manager for Decatur Cooperative Ministry helping U.S. veterans and their families facing homelessness develop skills for self-sufficiency. At this time, I served as a co-committee chair for Unsheltered No More, the Atlanta Mayor’s Office initiative to end veteran homelessness by 2015.
Recently, I decided to return to my favorite field of anthropology: archaeology. In March of this year, I was recruited by a former employer to become the Senior Archaeologist at Terracon Consultants, Inc. and look forward to the adventures of this new chapter.
Since 2009, I have maintained my membership to the Society for Georgia Archaeology (SGA) and Society for American Archaeology; for the former, I volunteer with the Blue Ridge Archaeology Chapter performing archaeological fieldwork and public archaeology education. In coordination with Dr. Jack Wynn of the University of North Georgia, I recently organized a mini-field school for new employees at Terracon’s Duluth office at the Duckett Site for training and continuing education purposes. I also deliver guest lectures for various SGA chapters and other local history organizations.
What courses in anthropology at GSU or extracurricular activities enhanced your ability to qualify for your current job/position?
Material Culture, Qualitative Methods in Anthropology, Theory and Anthropology, Archaeological Methods, Archaeological Theory, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) equipped me with knowledge pertinent to my current position. Participation in archaeological field work abroad in Mexico and presentations at conferences in the U.S. provided me the opportunities to distinguish my resume from other candidates applying for the same position.
Do you have any advice for prospective students interested in anthropology at GSU?
Get to know your fellow graduate students since they will become your professional network when you complete your studies. Get involved in activities that enrich your passion and that will enable you to stand above the competition. Take time to get to know your professors and keep in touch with them. In addition to being wonderful people, they are encyclopedias of knowledge and experience. Take advantage of study abroad opportunities or other chances to deepen your world view and challenge common ethnocentric perspectives. Never be afraid to try something new.