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NMSU students receive archaeology scholarships

Three students in New Mexico State University’s Department of Anthropology recently received scholarships that cover the cost of tuition and fees, as well as books for classroom and field-based courses.


Two women standing side by side
Esmerelda Ferrales and Melissa Perez, students in NMSU’s Department of Anthropology, have been awarded the Cheryl L. Wase Memorial Scholarship. (Photo by W. Thomas Conelly)
Head and shoulders of a woman
Kayla Brown was among the NMSU anthropology students awarded the Cheryl L. Wase Memorial Scholarship. (Photo by W. Thomas Conelly)

Esmeralda Ferrales, Kayla Brown, and Melissa Pérez received the 2018 Cheryl L. Wase Scholarship from the Society for American Archaeology. Ferrales and Brown previously received the scholarship in 2017 and 2016 respectively.

The Wase Memorial Scholarship is competitively awarded to undergraduate women who are residents of New Mexico studying for a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, with a concentration in archaeology, from a fully accredited New Mexico university.

“This scholarship allows me to keep taking the same amount of classes I need to take to graduate on time,” Ferrales said.

After graduating with her bachelor’s, Ferrales wants to attend the University of Chicago to get her Ph.D. and work with a professor there who specializes in Bolivian archaeology—the culture Ferrales is most interested in studying.

“Eventually, I want to travel to La Paz, Bolivia, and study the Aymara people,” Ferrales said.

Pérez is similarly ambitious. Her scholarship was in the amount of $15,920 over the next two semesters.

“This past summer I did a field school in medieval archaeology in England,” she said. “It took me out of my comfort zone, but I really wanted to experience what archaeology was like in other parts of the world.”

As part of the Bamburgh Research Project, Pérez was in England for more than a month, working on Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland.

“As an aspiring archaeologist and conservationist, I want to preserve cultural heritage for future generations,” she said. “I want to become an archaeological collection conservator and influence other minority students to come into the field.”

Both Ferrales and Pérez were grateful to their professors in the Department of Anthropology for the help provided in applying for the scholarship. Ferrales specifically cited William Walker and both thanked Rani Alexander, anthropology professor and department head.

The Cheryl L. Wase Scholarship is named after a New Mexican archaeologist who died in 2004 at age 53. Her family endowed the scholarship, which is awarded to aspiring female archaeologists at Eastern New Mexico University, New Mexico State University, and the University of New Mexico.