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McClung Student Advisory Board

The McClung Student Advisory Board plays a critical leadership role for the museum by serving as a liaison for UT’s student community. Members are chosen through an application process.

You can keep up to date with what the students have been up to by reading their blog posts here.

Current McClung Student Advisory Board

Sean Burke

Junior, College Scholars: Museum Accessibility

The McClung Museum Student Advisory Board gave me direction at a time that I needed it most. I knew I wanted to work with museums in some capacity, but I had no idea how museums worked, let alone much of an idea of what they did outside of putting on exhibitions. The board provided me an opportunity to explore the world of museum professionals without needing to be thrust right into the harsh reality of museum work. With the help of the members of the MSAB and a few McClung Museum employees, I’ve both found a place I belong and realized by future aspirations, something I hope we can do for future members.

Keri Burge

Senior, Anthropology

As a senior pursuing an Anthropology Major and a Biological Sciences minor, I was first introduced to the McClung Museum through my introductory courses in both fields, which often held class in the lecture hall in the McClung. I soon found myself arriving earlier and staying later so I had time to wander and explore all that the McClung has to offer. There is no doubt that the McClung has enhanced my education and helped prepare me for my future career. After graduating, I plan to pursue a PhD in Anthropology and conduct research in stable isotope analysis and archaeogenetics with the goal of better understanding past human-environment interactions. Through all of its exhibits, the McClung has shown me the importance of an interdisciplinary approach when exploring topics such as archaeology, history, and art. I have also been luckily enough to utilize the expertise of staff members and lab space for my own research. Overall, the McClung has truly given so much to me, and I hope to give back while on the board. I am so excited to be involved with this organization and have the opportunity to connect other students with the McClung so the museum can hopefully have a profound impact on them as well.

Lisette Morris

Senior, Art History

I first became acquainted with the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture when visiting for a class in ancient Art History. As a student of Art History, my examination of the artifacts and research material housed at McClung sparked a fascination with the archaeological aspect of my field of study. This is when my interest in Anthropology began, and I entered into a second field of study. As someone who examines art within its historical framework—including such factors as the political, economic, geographical, and religious conditions of a moment in time— I understand the value of artistic artifacts, and thus hold a deep appreciation for the McClung Museum. Our museum represents an opportunity for many fields of research, including the analysis of art, to connect and strengthen one another. As the treasurer of MSAB, I have the privilege of helping to build a strong future for the board. My goal is to lay the foundation for future generations to effectively fundraise and to highlight the symbiotic relationship between the Museum and the Board.

Matt Hoover

Master’s Student, Anthropology: Archaeology

I joined the board because I value the role museums play in educating the public and serving the community, and I want to be a part of an institution like that. My career also may involve significant interactions or employment by a museum, so being on MSAB serves as professional development as well.

Anna Duffey

Junior, Sociology and Anthropology: Forensic Concentration

Growing up my family would take me to many museums including the McClung Museum. I was always fascinated by all the different exhibits offered and thats where my curiosity started. I knew from that moment that my interest would be in Anthropology and all the different branches that fall under it. I have had many classes in the McClung Museum and it has been an amazing experience. Every time I walk in theirs always something new and enticing to learn dealing with the artifacts and history behind the museum. I hold a deep appreciation for the McClung Museum because its shaped me into the student I am today.

Ashlynn Malone

Junior, Neuroscience

I joined the board because I have been visiting the museum since I was a kid and I have always loved it. I have such good memories exploring the exhibits and learning more about such a variety of fields, especially history. Whereas I have gone a different path in my career goals than museums, the board allows me to still explore the passion and love I have for museums and history.

Lauren Malone

Junior, Anthropology

I joined the board because I wanted to be a part of the educational journey that museums provide. For academics and the general public alike, museums open the door to new ideas, innovations, histories, and life experiences. Being alongside other students that share my passion for the McClung and the museum world as a whole is going to be a great opportunity to make connections and begin shaping our journey in this field. I am very excited to be part of such a wonderful team who want to share with others the importance museums like the McClung have on our communities. What I love most about the McClung is that it has such a wide array of exhibits that can reach all sorts of different audiences and interests. No matter if you are a student, tourist to Knoxville, or general community member, there is bound to be something that the McClung highlights in its collections that will leave you in awe.

Mollie Smith

Freshman, Psychology

I joined the board because I simply adore history. I think that history is such an important part of the world we live in, and not something to be overlooked. I am a firm believer in historic preservation and teaching the past to make a better future. Going forward with the board, I am excited to bring attention to what our wonderful museum has to offer!

Colby Sain

Colby Sain

Senior, Geology

My name is Colby Sain, and I am currently in my senior year as a Geology student. The McClung holds an entire exhibit dedicated to my major, so this is a wonderful place to spend time when I am on campus. Seeing the material from class in real life helps solidify the lectures. Since many fossils in the geology exhibit were found locally, the connection I feel between my roots and my major have gotten stronger as well. The Geology department has felt the support of the museum and we have collaborated on a number of events and outreach activities. I am so thankful to have the McClung Museum on our campus. The McClung Museum played a huge role in my development as a student. I have been able to be a volunteer, an intern, and to continue my  involvement after I graduate,  and I hope to see student involvement  increase for not only Geology students, but students from all majors and backgrounds.

Henry Haren

Freshman, Anthropology

To me, the museum is an environment where I can relax, where I can feel comfortable around like minded people and intriguing exhibits. I hope to double major in Anthropology and Classics, and the whole atmosphere of the museum just makes me feel right at home. I look forward to spending many hours within the comfort of the Museum, and hope to continue to help and support the museum long after my time at UTK ends.

Anna Parrish

Sophomore, Anthropology: Forensic Concentration

Hello my name is Anna (she/her) and I am a sophomore transfer student from Johnson City, Tennessee. I have been lucky enough to have classes in the museum and ever since my first class I have been fascinated with it. Every time I walk in, it’s like being a kid in a candy store. I went to the student engagement fair and to my surprise, the McClung Museum Student Advisory Board had a booth. I talked with one of the members and knew that I wanted to join to support the museum in any way possible. I want to do my best so that everyone has the chance to experience the excitement, and the joyfulness that is the McClung Museum.

Jessica Atkins

Master’s Student, Information Science

I am a second-year masters student in the School of Information Sciences, and I have a BA in anthropology with field experience as an archaeologist. One of my favorite experiences as an undergraduate was the opportunity to work with archaeology museum collections at my alma mater, Washington State University. Many students in the Information Sciences program hope to work in museums or archives after graduation, so I hope to bring a voice for these students to the advisory board. The McClung Museum provides so many amazing learning opportunities for students, as well as the general public, and I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with the advisory board to share the museum’s collections with our community.

Madison Russell

Sophomore, Political Science and Economics

I have a huge passion for historical conservation and sharing knowledge of the past with others! Museums such as the McClung are extremely integral to continuing this mission and ensuring that future generations can learn from our past in order to do better in the future.

McClung GRA Advisor: Sadie Counts (, GRA of Curation and Exhibitions, Doctoral Student, Anthropology
Museum Staff Liaison: Katy Malone (, Curator of Academic Programs

Top Image: The founding McClung Student Advisory Board, 2019