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NMSU anthropology students receive prestigious scholarship

Two students in New Mexico State University’s Department of Anthropology recently received scholarships from the Society for American Archaeology.


Woman smiling
Robin Christofani was one of two anthropology students who received the Cheryl L. Wase Memorial Scholarship. (Courtesy Photo)
Women smiling
Reina Bravo also received the Cheryl L. Wase Memorial Scholarship. (Courtesy Photo)

Robin Christofani and Reina Bravo each received the Cheryl L. Wase Memorial Scholarship to develop their talents in the study of archaeology.

“It’s a game changer because it covers the cost of tuition and fees, as well as books for classroom and field-based courses, and is renewable for multiple years until the student graduates,” said Rani Alexander, department head and professor of anthropology.

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

“In receiving the Cheryl L. Wase Memorial Scholarship, all of my hopes and dreams of being in the anthropology/archaeology field have come true,” Christofani said. “Because of this scholarship, I will be able to go to school without the stress of paying tuition so I can focus on my major.”

Working at Geronimo Springs Museum in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico while in high school, Christofani found her passion in historic and prehistoric studies. She also met her mentor Fumi Arakawa, NMSU associate professor of anthropology and university museum director, who urged her to attend NMSU. Hands-on experience at an archaeological dig also helped.

Christofani spent last summer in Arakawa’s Field School at South Diamond Creek Pueblo in the Gila National Forest gaining first-hand experience excavating a large ceremonial gathering place called a “Great Kiva” that was built over 1,000 years ago.

“After graduation I hope to attend numerous more archaeological digs around the globe,” Christofani said. “I also hope that I can work in a museum where I can further my knowledge even more.”

Similarly, Bravo who hails from Maryland, shares a love for history, culture and art of various cultures. Born deaf, Bravo graduated from the Maryland School for the Deaf in Frederick, Maryland. After graduating from a local community college, Bravo moved to the Southwest as an American Sign Language tutor for the New Mexico School for the Deaf.

After her second year working as an ASL tutor, Bravo decided to continue her education at NMSU and study anthropology. “From that point on, I fell in love,” Bravo said. “I was hooked.”

Bravo’s research interest focuses on Native American culture through art, such as pottery and murals. Thanks to the Wase Scholarship, Bravo can finish her senior year focused on academics without worrying about taking out more student loans.

“I’m always having mixed feelings about adding more money to my student loans so I’m very relieved that this year is paid off as well as my field school.”

After graduation next summer, Bravo hopes to move to Colorado to work in the Native American Museum to research and work in archaeology.

The Wase Memorial Scholarship is renewable for up to five years, as long as the recipient remains enrolled, maintains the required grade point average and continues to pursue a degree in anthropology with an emphasis in archaeology.

For more information on the Society for American Archaeology, visit www.saa.org.