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Department of Sociology and Anthropology
University of Mississippi

Dr. Kelsey Lowe – Alumna Spotlight

Kelsey LoweDirector/Senior Research Fellow, University of Queensland

MA in Anthropology (2005)


Why did you select anthropology as your major?
I have always been interested in culture, history and travelling; therefore, I chose a career that allowed me to explore all three areas. After taking my first anthropology course, I knew I had made the right decision. When I started my undergraduate degree, I was unsure what degree or career path to take. As such, I took classes in many subjects. It was anthropology that really sparked my interest, specifically archaeology and remote sensing.

What are some significant accomplishments or favorite memories from your time at UM?
I think the best memories at UM come from my time doing fieldwork as part of my master’s research. Much of that research was concentrated an hour west of the university at a prehistoric site called Parchman Place Mounds. Working with the archaeology team, local community and university staff was quite an experience that I will not forget. We used a range of remote sensing and geophysical technologies to investigate the site to understand its unique cultural history in time and space. Truly an amazing opportunity for students interested in anthropology/archaeology.

Please describe your educational and career trajectory since graduation from UM.
After completing my masters at UM (2005), I was a full-time Project Manager at Coastal Environments Incorporated in the U.S. until commencing my PhD at the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia (2011). My role involved the management of cultural resources for both federal and state agencies along the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. For my PhD research (2014), I focused largely on identifying the earliest human occupation on Australian sites using geoarchaeological and remote sensing technologies. As a benchmark for Australian archaeological geophysics, this research led to several post-doctoral positions in Crete, Greece (2015) and Australia (2016-2021). I am a Senior Research Fellow at the UQ on the Anthropocene Project. My career focuses primarily on developing techniques that assist heritage practitioners and First Nations groups in understanding past human behavior, managing cultural landscapes and promoting sustainable archaeology.

What is the value of studying anthropology in today’s world?
With the recent crisis involving climate change, population growth and food security, I think studying anthropology is very important in how we, as humans, navigate our future, especially in terms of cultural change and culture loss. Right now, we are experiencing a lot of destruction of archaeological and heritage sites due to human impacts. However, by studying the past, perhaps we can make better and more informed decisions about the present and future. This would involve better decisions on heritage management and site protection and the incorporation of more First Nations knowledge.