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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.

Current McClung Student Advisory Board

Sarah Lochridge

Senior, Anthropology

During the first semester of my freshman year, I was enrolled in an intro-level Anthropology course that met twice a week in the McClung Museum. At the time, I was not majoring in Anthropology, but I found myself to be increasingly interested in the subject. I would arrive 20 minutes early for class just to roam the exhibits, and I would attend lecture series outside of class to learn more. The human evolution exhibit in the McClung Museum challenged me to learn more about evolutionary studies, and I eventually changed my major to Anthropology. To me, the McClung Museum allows guests to learn more and challenge themselves to ask questions about the world and history around them.

Sean Burke

Sophomore, College Scholars

The day I decided I wanted to change my major was an interesting one. Someone had proposed a remarkable idea: why not check out College Scholars? College Scholars allows students to create an interdisciplinary major that fits their specific needs without most of the restrictions usually placed on students. And thanks to the McClung Museum, I was able to find the people to mentor and guide me along the way, as well as the resources I need to be successful. Without the museum, I guarantee that my program would not exist and I, as a student, would be completely lost. The McClung exists not only for research and cultural education, but also to support the students here at UTK in any way that they can. It is an invaluable resource, and something I truly feel is underutilized.

Yael Uziel

Master’s Student, Geography

I am the current treasurer of the McClung Museum’s Student Advisory Board. I am in the last year of my master’s program studying Geography. Geography is the study of how people move through spaces. As part of the field of Geography, there has been a growing sub-discipline in geographic tourism. Dr. Derek Alderman, the current interim-department head of UT’s Geography department founded the RESET (Race, Ethnicity, Socio-Economic, Tourism) Initiative. This initiative works on identifying, researching, and challenging current patterns of social inequality in the tourism industry. My work with this initiative has taken me to a variety of presidential plantation museums where I worked on understanding visitors’ experiences at these sites. Additionally, my work as a graduate student has made me familiar in the process of applying for grants and fundraising. I have been able to apply this knowledge to my work as treasurer of this board and am looking forward to learning from the McClung, working with the McClung, and working with peers to spread knowledge about museum work.

Lisette Morris

Junior, Art History and Anthropology

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.

Keri Burge

Junior, Anthropology

Hi! My name is Keri Burge, and I am a junior from Madison, Alabama. I am majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Biological Sciences. My research interests include both stable isotope analysis and genetics; eventually, I want to pursue Bioarchaeology. There is no doubt that my major fits into McClung. As an Anthropology major, I have actually had many classes in McClung, which is how I was first introduced to the museum. One exhibit in particular that comes to mind when thinking of Anthropology is the permanent exhibition Human Origins. This paleoanthropological exhibit does a great job at explaining the evolution of our hominid ancestors. This also incorporates my minor because evolution is a major biological process after all. While McClung is definitely a great place to learn about Anthropology, I also appreciate how many other fields and interests are incorporated into the museum, creating a fantastic overall mixture of information.

Kelly Gagnon

Master’s Student, Anthropology

As a graduate student majoring in Anthropology, concentrating in Archaeology with a research interest in Paleoethnobotany, my major is very intertwined with the museum! Archaeologists and those in the sub-disciplines such as Paleoethnobotanists, formulate questions and conduct research about ancient societies (for Paleoethnobotanists this is done through the analyses of botanical remains from archaeological sites) and their conclusions from their research are published and often also showcased in museums for the public to see and learn from. In fact, the McClung has its very own Paleoethnobotany collection! The Anthropology/ Archaeology major is the study of the processes that lead up to the displays and collections at museums that you see!

Kate Moore

Master’s Student, Anthropology

My major, Anthropology, works very closely with museums! Especially my specialization, which is Mediterranean Archaeology; there are many artifacts held within museums that I am able to use for my studies. Museums are an immensely valuable space for students like me to work and study in: they are often the only places I can go to look directly at objects that I need for my academic work and research. If the objects are not on display, or if I can’t visit them myself, they typically have online catalogues that I can view that have excellent photographs and relevant information. Beyond my own personal experience, they are often closely linked. There’s even a subfield called Museum Anthropology that is, within anthropology, a multidisciplinary field! There is a lot of overlap and collaboration between museums and Anthropology/Archaeology, which is fortunate for me, since I am so fond of both!

Jennifer Ware

Sophomore, Religious Studies and History

My name is Jennifer Ware and I am a Religious Studies/History double major. I am especially interested in ancient aspects in both religion and history. When I began school, I knew I either wanted to use my degree to teach or work in a museum. The longer I am at UT, the more I am leaning toward the museum. I really enjoy the history and the stories that the exhibits tell and feel that both my majors relate in a variety of ways. Knowing the history of time, place and the people behind the artifacts, along with the quest for knowledge is what motivates me to seek a career as a museum curator.

Hunter SmothersHunter Smothers

Junior, English and Medieval and Renaissance Studies

The Middle Ages has always been tied into museums, besides movies and books, museums are most people’s main source of learning when it comes to the time period.  In fact, my love for museums was a large factor in my choosing to pursue a degree in Medieval and Renaissance Studies as I wanted to be able to contribute to them in ways I had previously been incapable of in a field I enjoy.  Medievalists and museums consistently work closely together in order to bring each other relevant information and to stay at the forefront of their work.  Museums sometimes even finance the work we as Medievalists do in an effort to bring the museum new information and exhibits and at the end of the day they offer people in my field a welcoming space to present their work.

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.

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

Top Image: The founding McClung Student Advisory Board, 2019