Don Purdon, a graduate student in the anthropology and applied archaeology program, loves Eastern New Mexico University's archaeology department because of the "rich archaeological heritage" surrounding the New Mexico region. He had "a typical Catholic upbringing" with his siblings in the suburbs near Washington, D.C., and spent most of his time around the east coast. His mom was a nurse and his dad worked for the federal government.
Don graduated from Annandale High School in Virginia in 2008. He "could not wait to move out west" after that. He worked in a private sector of archaeology, cultural resource management, for two years before attending ENMU in the fall of 2016. He and his best friend attended ENMU together for the "amazing opportunities" in the archaeological program. He likes the mild traffic and the university's archaeological collections.
"Driving two hours to go 100 miles as opposed to 20 miles in the D.C. area is a plus," he said.
The graduate student speaks highly of his professors in the department. "The professors within the anthropology department have been outstanding, are a plethora of knowledge, and are always willing to help," he said.
Don is the vice president of My Alpha Nu, the anthropology club, and the president of Lambda Alpha, the anthropology honors society. He also works at the Blackwater Draw site and volunteers for any archaeology project he can.
He hopes to apply for many scholarships in the future and use his leadership positions to create scholarly opportunities to other students. Ultimately, he wants to be a field director or primary investigator in cultural resource management and increase public knowledge about the field. He hopes to start his own cultural resource management firm one day. According to the archaeologist, he feels blessed to be following the dreams he had as a child.
"The fact that it may not be a career that leads to a high income does not matter to me," he said. He hopes to continue pursuing his dream by working in all 50 states and traveling to "see as many renowned archaeological sites around the world" as he can.