Eastern New Mexico University graduate assistant Leon Natker has "great respect" for the faculty in the Department of Anthropology and Applied Archaeology. His experiences with his mentors and teachers have equipped him with the tools to take a step further in his career.
"ENMU has the program I need along with an excellent faculty," said Leon, who is from Chicago, Illinois.
Before joining the Greyhound community, Leon graduated from Roosevelt University in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in theater and history.
"Museums have always fascinated me, particularly anthropology and archeology museums," said Leon, who graduated from the University of New Mexico with a Master of Arts in Museum Studies in 2015.
Leon, who was the general director of Lyric Opera in San Diego, California, for 22 years, is expected to graduate from ENMU in fall 2017.
The member of Mu Alpha Nu, ENMU's anthropology club, hopes to find employment in the museum sector after he graduates.
"Having degrees in archaeology and museum studies, along with that experience, will give me a unique set of skills that can benefit a museum or other institution. I can work as a researcher and fundraiser for the project simultaneously."
Leon did an archeology internship in Coronado State Monument-Historic in 2016. He helped with the conservation, renovation, curation of exhibits and led informative tours at the Kuaua Pueblo.
Leon has been a graduate assistant for the Blackwater Draw Museum since the beginning of 2015. He takes part in general accessioning, cataloging and curation of museum collections, including artifacts for display and archaeological research collections.
Leon's experience at ENMU has been beneficial to his career. "ENMU has helped me to find employment in the field of archaeology. Eastern has a very good reputation in the business and having it as a credit on your resume helps get your foot in the door."
He mentioned that professors like Dr. John Montgomery, Dr. Kathy Durand and Dr. Katy Putsavage have helped him during his Eastern Experience.
His favorite class at ENMU was "Archeology of the Southwest," because it covered his "area of expertise and I really enjoyed Dr. David Kilby."
Leon encourages students to keep close to professors by staying in contact with them.
"Talk to the professors that you will be studying with. Find out if you share interests and if you are going to be able to work together."