All My Ex’s Live in Texas

Texas is the place I’d really love to be.  We will soon be returning to south Texas to continue our human rights work.  I am incredibly excited to get back, yet this year will be different from the past.  We won’t be doing excavations, instead our efforts will focus on analyzing remains that we exhumed in previous years that are now located at Texas State University and training local authorities in Brooks County.  Adding to the change, three of our past team members will not be with us.  This year’s UIndy team will consist of Dr. Latham, Ryan, Amanda (the rookie), and me.  This leaves us a few cards short of a full deck.  I would like to pay a small tribute to the incredible ladies that helped to form the foundation of a strong team.

Erica looking down at her clipboard with pencil in hand
Erica in her natural habitat, mapping.


I’ve known Erica since before either of us came to UIndy.  We are both Michigan State Alumni (Go Green!).  We met on a study abroad in London, and then became fast friends while working in the Nubian Research Lab at MSU.  Erica and I have worked so closely for so long that people often mistake us for a couple in a relationship, which she hates.  Erica was an essential part of our team because of her incredible mapping skills.  Strange fact- Erica loves forms and paperwork, which makes her a mapping savant.  Erica was an amazing teammate and a great friend, and her presence will be greatly missed.

Jessica looking into the scene with sunglasses and a pensive look.
Jessica surveying the scene.


Jess is tough as nails.  If you think that you can shovel I have sad news for you, you can’t and that Wisconsin girl can.  I’d like to think of myself as a hard worker and tough, the problem is having someone like Jess to which you are comparing yourself.  Try as you might, there is no one that time and time again gives so much of herself.  I feel honored to have someone so strong and dedicated having my back.

Justin and Ryan carrying Cheneta in a dramatic fashion
Cheneta doing her best Labron James impersonation.


Cheneta was our “rookie” last year, so I was hesitant to accept her at first… I was a fool.  Cheneta turned out to be one of the most hard-working and dedicated members of our team.  She made sure that all members of our team (and the entire field crew) watched out for one another.  She is the reason that to this day, I cannot hear the word “teamwork”, without finishing the phrase with, “makes the dream work”.

These three ladies have made immense contributions to our human rights work in Texas and we couldn’t have done it without them.    I’d like to take a quick moment to thank them all for everything they have done.  Thank you.