Meet a Roadrunner: Blair Salt is shedding light on an ancient culture
(May 17, 2017) -- Meet Blair Salt '17. She's digging into ancient cultures after earning her master's degree at UTSA.
A San Antonio native, Salt discovered her love for prehistoric art as a high school student in her first art history class. She initially believed she wanted to be an archaeologist, which led her to earn her undergraduate degree in that area from Texas State University. While she enjoyed her studies, she eventually realized she wasn't quite doing what she loved.
"I went to field school in Belize," Salt said. "It was fun, but it was a lot of difficult, manual labor. At that point, I wasn't sure if I could sweat and dig in the jungle every summer."
After realizing she needed to explore more career possibilities, Salt nabbed an internship with the San Antonio Museum of Art and spent her last undergraduate semester working there. Feeling that she'd found her true calling working in a museum, she completed her degree and began pursuing jobs in that field, without success.
"I had a few jobs writing proposals for various companies," she said. "I found out fairly quickly that museums wouldn't hire me to do the kind of job I wanted to do unless I had a master's degree."
Already aware of UTSA's top-tier anthropology program, Salt sought out faculty in that department to explore the possibility of graduate school. After speaking with them about her interest in ancient art, she was steered toward Juliet Wiersema, assistant professor of art history.
"Dr. Wiersema's expertise is in that crossover between archaeology and art history," Salt said. "After speaking with her, I knew I wanted to earn my master's in art history at UTSA."
After enrolling in the program, she found immense support from her professors, which was especially welcome as she was balancing a full-time job with graduate school.
"It was difficult, but I was able to make it work," Salt said. "UTSA really sets you up for success, no matter your situation."
Eventually, she became a full-time student to take advantage of UTSA's vibrant campus life and internship opportunities, as well as a study abroad trip to Peru that Wiersema suggested Salt take part in.
It was in Peru that Salt fell in love with an archaeological site known as Cerro Sechín, which possibly dates to as early as 2100 BC and was built by a largely mysterious ancient culture. Her graduate thesis is focused on a stone frieze covered in images of human bodies, adorned figures, internal organs and disembodied heads.
"The more I looked at it, the more I realized that it raised so many questions," she said. "I thought, 'How are people not talking about this?'"
What's especially exciting to Salt is that the site might be part of the earliest state in Peru, but it's not more widely understood in her field, mainly because much of the information is difficult to access and is available only in Spanish.
"What I'm working on is miniscule compared to what could be done," she said. "Above all, I want to bring awareness to this site and set the stage for future scholarship."
Salt, who graduated earlier this month, hopes to work in a San Antonio museum.
"I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have the support of my professors," she said. "They want you to succeed in your classes, but they also want to set you up for a bright future. It's been a very moving experience."
Do you know a Roadrunner who is achieving great things? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may consider your suggestion for our next installment of Meet a Roadrunner.
Campers in 9th grade through college will receive instruction and coaching on agility testing and position specific drills to refine and improve his skillset as a football player.Recreational Field Complex, Main Campus
Inspired by UTSA's renowned Mexican Cookbook Collection, the evening features cuisine and spirits of celebrated chefs from San Antonio and Mexico.Hotel Emma, 136 E. Grayson St., San Antonio
Experience a fun, interactive week at UTSA as new students and their families take the first steps to becoming a Roadrunner.Various locations, Main Campus
Campers 6-12 years old will enjoy the summer learning to read, write and speak the Chinese language. They also will learn about the Chinese culture such as martial arts, painting and drawing, arts and crafts and more.Confucius Institute at UTSA (MB 1.208), Main Campus
Campers 7th grade and up will focus on individual development with emphasis on simplifying and teaching the specific skills and movements associated with the game. Serving, passing, setting, attacking and individual defense will all be covered. In addition, team concepts will be emphasized.Convocation Center, Main Campus
Celebrate Texas' diversity with authentic ethnic cuisine, music, dance, arts and crafts from the many countries that make up the rich heritage of Texas.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
Kids from kindergarten through high school will immerse in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math through hands-on activities.Applied Engineering and Technology (AET 0.102), Main Campus and Buena Vista Street Building (BVB 3.328), Downtown Campus
Novice and experienced boys and girls in grades 1-8 will be divided up by age and ability to gain the most skills and knowledge for their level of play.Park West Athletics Complex