Overall, I enjoyed my experience working on the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery Project (HCPCP). One of the reasons was in the hands-on experience I got in the field. The class was more interactive than a regular class, and being outdoors was a refreshing change to a regular lecture setting. We typically had good weather for our meetings, except for rain toward the end of on one day, and a couple of hotter days. Through my participation in the project, I learned to use several new tools, such as Kobo Toolbox, the app where we recorded the data that we collected from the tombstones: measurements, inscriptions, descriptions of its condition, etc.
I am doing a minor in anthropology and was hoping to get experience in different areas of the field. I chose this class because of the opportunity to get more hands-on experience with archaeology. I had taken Discovering the RGV, but that class was more interdisciplinary, including perspectives from history, anthropology, biology, and geology, so I wanted to focus more on the anthropology aspect through this class. Through the HCPCP, I was part of an archaeological study and participated in the data collection process. This data collection enabled us to retrieve and preserve information from the past.
Also, I had the opportunity work with other people on preparing our presentation for the Engaged Scholars Symposium. It was fun to collaborate with my fellow classmates, as it provided us an opportunity to interact more closely with each other and to share our perspectives of the class and of the work we had done on the HCPCP. At the symposium, we took turns in speaking about our poster, and we were happy to explain to others what we had worked on and the methods that we used. To our surprise, we won for best poster, and we were proud of our effort and our contribution to the symposium.
Furthermore, the HCPCP had a direct impact on our community, and that was perhaps my favorite part of the class. Our work enabled members of the community to connect with their deceased relatives in a way they had not been able to before our work. Knowing that that would be the result of our work added personal meaning to the project.
Looking forward to the future directions of the HCPCP, I believe there are more opportunities to engage the community and raise awareness about the work that we are doing. Community engagement could add more perspectives to the project and perhaps give us different lines of inquiry. Furthermore, as we were able to finish the primary data collection this semester, we will have more opportunities in the following semesters to analyze the data and continue mapping the cemetery. Thus, I am proud to have been a part of the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery Project over the course of this semester, and look forward to seeing the continued progress of the project.