Archaeological Digs, National Park Visits for High Schoolers

March 19, 2019

UA Program Takes High Schoolers on Archaeological Digs, National Park Visits

TUCSON, Ariz. — A University of Arizona program is engaging Arizona high school students in archeological digs and visits to national parks and monuments as part of an effort to teach them about the archaeological history of their home state.

The Linking Southwestern Heritage Through Archaeology program uses regional archaeology to connect youth from the Southwest to their cultural history.

The partnership between the UA College of Education, UA School of Anthropology and the National Park Service will kick off its sixth year with a trip to the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument on March 22. Between March and July, students also will visit Saguaro National Park, Grand Canyon National Park and Montezuma Castle National Monument.

The 13 students in the program grew up in the Southwest, but for many of them, this will be their first time visiting and camping in a national park.

"We have such a rich selection of archaeological sites, museums and national parks in the area to draw upon for this program," said Barbara Mills, a Regents' Professor in the School of Anthropology. "Many of the students have never been to a national park, and this introduces them not only to their heritage, but also to potential careers."

The students will be given iPads, which they can keep after the program ends, to record and document their experiences.

In addition to visiting national parks and participating in archaeological digs, the students, along with three high school teachers and counselors, will visit museums and university archaeology laboratories to participate in hands-on activities that will connect them with the rich history of the Southwest.

Through the program, the students – who live in communities that are historically underrepresented in higher education – will gain significant exposure to a university setting and a wide range of career paths in fields like archaeology, history and education.

"From a higher education standpoint, this is an invaluable opportunity for high school students to gain experience in a university setting beyond a day visit to the campus," said Sara Chavarria, assistant dean of research in the College of Education. "The hope is that, through this experience, they will consider pursuing higher education after high school."

Media contact:
Danielle Hargett
UA College of Education
Established in 1885, the University of Arizona, the state's super land-grant university with two medical schools, produces graduates who are real-world ready through its 100% Engagement initiative. Recognized as a global leader and ranked 16th for the employability of its graduates, the UA is also a leader in research, bringing more than $606 million in research investment each year, and ranking 21st among all public universities. The UA is advancing the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships, and is a member of the Association of American Universities, the 62 leading public and private research universities. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $8.3 billion annually.