Andrew Nicholl wins prestigious Waldbaum archaeology scholarship

Andrew Nicholl

Andrew Nicholl

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(May 31, 2011)--Andrew Nicholl may have delayed his undergraduate work, but he never truly left it behind. His love of history and past cultures led him to return to work on his bachelor's degree after spending several years working in information technology.

His hard work and perseverance paid off: He was selected to receive the national Jane Waldbaum scholarship from the American Institute of Archeology. He is one of only seven winners.

A history and anthropology double major from San Antonio, Nicholl will be one of the students participating in a UTSA faculty-led study abroad program during summer 2011. He will participate in UTSA's Belize Archaeology Field School taught by Jason Yaeger, associate professor of anthropology, and M. Kathryn Brown, assistant professor of anthropology, coordinated by the Department of Anthropology and the Office of International Programs Education Abroad Services.

"The competition was very stiff, and Andrew's success speaks to the strength of his record and his preparation at UTSA," said Yaeger. "Andrew is a very smart student who, like many of our undergraduates, is pursuing an undergraduate career later than a traditional student after working for some years."

"His passion is archaeology, and his honors thesis is a cross-cultural study of the illegal sacking of archaeological sites for artifacts that can be smuggled and sold on the black market," Yaeger said. "His findings will be useful to archaeologists as we seek to find solutions to this ongoing tragedy."

Nicholl is looking forward to his first foray into fieldwork.

"I'm primarily learning not just how to be an archeologist, but also to see if some of the conclusions I reached in my thesis have any basis in reality," he said. "I've always been completely and utterly fascinated with history and seeing how we are all the same. I like the idea of remembering people who have been forgotten."

Nicholl graduated high school in 1995. He started and stopped his bachelor's degree several times over the years.

"I don't think I could have done this previously; I needed to mature," Nicholl explained. He plans to continue his studies after graduation, working toward a doctorate in archeology.

Established in honor of American Institute of Archeology past president Jane Waldbaum, the scholarship helps students planning to participate in archaeological fieldwork for the first time. Nicholl will receive $1,000 to help pay expenses associated with participation in an archaeological fieldwork project.