Globetrotter: Claire Mumford ’18

Claire Mumford '18 poses for a photo on campus.
Claire Mumford ’18 says her liberal arts education “gives me the tools to ask questions and analyze critically, and that differentiates me from others in my field.”

Italy. Bulgaria. Ireland. Turkey. Claire Mumford ’18 has been pursuing archaeology in field schools across the globe.

She first discovered her love for archaeological field work while on a St. Olaf summer course in Turkey with Professor of History Tim Howe. “Without this experience, I likely would never have discovered¬†my passion that has opened so many doors for me,” she says.

One such door was Mumford’s opportunity to present her research at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America. Another was using Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) to record half a mile of Dakota religious carvings. She will work with fellow Oles on campus to develop a website so the petroglyphs they recorded using RTI can be viewed interactively.

Mumford has found just as much to do on campus as off campus. She is currently a member of three choirs, including the renowned St. Olaf Choir, and has participated in six choral ensembles over her college career. She also serves as an RA in Mohn Residence Hall and has helped coordinate Ole Spring Relief, a spring break service trip that provides aid to areas affected by natural disaster. She’s majoring in sociology/anthropology and French while also pursuing a concentration in management studies.

None of this would have been possible without support from St. Olaf. Mumford says that the meaningful relationships she formed with professors here “have enriched my college experience in so many ways.” St. Olaf also provided crucial funding for her archaeological studies through the Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry program and the Piper Center for Vocation and Career.

Mumford believes that her liberal arts education “gives me the tools to ask questions and analyze critically, and that differentiates me from others in my field.”