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Former Marine prepares for future with anthropology, education degrees

May 02, 2011

While serving as a Marine in Iraq, Chris Caseldine decided he wanted a career that allowed him to travel the world and learn about other cultures.

Archaeology, one of his long-time interests, seemed to fit the bill. He also thought teaching would be a good back-up occupation. When he returned stateside, he enrolled at Mesa Community College and then transferred to Arizona State University, where he has excelled in undergraduate anthropology and secondary education programs.

The recipient of the 2010 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Circle Scholarship, Caseldine has participated in several professional field and laboratory projects that have strengthened his interest in cultures — particularly native cultures — and given him experience with archaeological survey, remote sensing, mapping and artifact analysis.

In addition, he’s studied human-land relationships and produced an institutional analysis of whaling practices of Washington state’s Makah people, which as an e-publication is going into a common pool resource database managed by ASU associate professor Marty Anderies.

Caseldine is one of the rare undergraduates invited to participate in an annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. This spring, he traveled to Sacramento to present a poster on social dynamics of irrigation systems at the society’s yearly gathering.

Having been accepted into the School of Human Evolution and Social Change’s graduate anthropology program, Caseldine plans to focus on Southwest archaeology and specialize in studies of the Hohokam, an ancient people known for their vast irrigation network.

Caseldine, who is currently student teaching at South Mountain High School, sees a blend of anthropology and instruction in his future and hopes to one day teach at the university level.

Explaining the highlights of his undergraduate studies at ASU, he said, “With education, I enjoy my student’s ‘aha’ moments, those times when I realize they finally understand something. For anthropology, it has been the opportunity to do my own research.”

Caseldine will be graduating summa cum laude this May and doing field work in New Mexico this summer before beginning his graduate studies.