Tag is exactly Texas A&M University
2020-04-17During Spring of 2020, I was wearing many hats. I was a 1st Lieutenant in the Texas Army National Guard, a husband, a father of two girls, a PhD student, a research assistant for the department chair of the Texas A&M Anthropology Department, and an Anthropology Instructor at Blinn College. Everything changed on April 17th, 2020 when I was activated with the National Guard on 45 day orders starting at 0800 on April 18th. I packed my bags, told my kids and wife goodbye, and sent emails to my supervisors at Blinn College and Texas A&M University. Two of the emails featured here are the emails that I sent to my supervisors. My orders were initially for 45 days but were later extended to 93 days in total. I sent updates to my supervisors as I learned new information. One update email to Dr. De Ruiter at Texas A&M University is featured in this email collection as well. This is my third activation with the National Guard in the past three years. I have been called to floods, hurricanes, and now a pandemic. Serving the people of the State of Texas is never boring, but it can be difficult on the family and jobs that I leave behind. I hope these emails speak to that struggle.
2020-10-28Dave Ruff is a military veteran and recent graduate of the PhD program in Anthropology (Nautical Archaeology) from Texas A&M University. Dave was working in Croatia on a Roman shipwreck for his dissertation project. Dave is a really great friend and mentor. He is always willing to talk about his life experiences - in and out of the Navy - especially when it comes to money and investments. Dave is a hard-working individual who takes his role as an academic very seriously. I was extremely happy for Dave when I found out that he would be graduating in May 2020. He started in the program at Texas A&M a year or two before I did, but he moved from Texas to North Carolina to be closer to his grandchildren and this pushed him back a little. Dave and I had been planning graduation for a few months. We helped each other check all the final boxes on the graduation checklist and buy robes. We were both really excited for the event. I hadn't seen Dave in about a year, so I was excited to see him in person at the graduation. Graduation in May 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19. This email details a conversation between Dave and I. I was serving on the COVID-19 mission with the Texas Army National Guard and used the money I earned from that mission to pay off my house. I thanked him for his money mentorship throughout the years. The email goes on to detail how all of Dave's summer plans for research had been cancelled due to COVID-19, but that being a grad and being locked down had given him time to work out and lose some weight - a goal that we both had, but he fulfilled better than I! I wanted to highlight this email chain, as I feel that it brings humanity to the experience of Veteran PhD students, recent graduates, and researchers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2020-05-09I graduated from Texas A&M with my PhD in Anthropology in May 2020. The graduation was in early May. I had defended my dissertation in late January and was working as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M and as an instructor at Blinn College when the COVID-19 came to Texas in March 2020. My jobs went online for a month, then I was activated with the National Guard on 18April2020. In this photograph from early May, I am attending my remote graduation ceremony from my workspace at the Region 6 COIVD-19 Response headquarters in Houston, TX.