Name: Ian Dunshee
Hometown: Des Moines, IA
Type of Fulbright Award: Fulbright Study/Research Award
Degree and Field of Study: B.S. Anthropology, B.A. French, Minor in Geographic Information Science (GIS), 2016
Research/Teaching: This research will accomplish many things. To put it simply, it is making three-dimensional images and maps of sites containing stone carvings made by the native inhabitants of these islands thousands of years ago. This benefits the local communities directly by playing a part in preserving their heritage in a format that can be easily shared, stored, and used. The images can also be used to promote tourism and interest in these sites and in the history and prehistory of the islands. For example, online virtual tours, replicas of the entire area, and other interactive materials could be made from this data to be used in classrooms, museums, etc. to promote the preservation of this heritage and to educate.
This kind of data collection, which has not yet been done at these sites, will open a great many doors and possibilities for tourism, education, preservation of cultural heritage, and archaeological research. The research will benefit so many people on these islands, as well as people like me, who though were not born there and do not permanently live there, have a lot invested in its history and culture professionally, emotionally, and otherwise.
What drew you to this field of study? I took an honors seminar on Caribbean Cinema my freshman year with Dr. Curtius. I enjoyed her teaching style and took several courses that she taught, and today I consider her a friend and mentor. I was primarily studying anthropology at the time and eventually, this turned into a year abroad studying on the island of Martinique. After my return, I started studying Geospatial technology and combined it with my Archaeological study.
How do you envision this will change your life? As I stated a little earlier I am hoping that this isn't a one and done kind of project but rather a foot in the door, a beginning. Not only would the study of these sites benefit from regular data collection but I also hope to make a career of studying the archaeology of the Antilles.
What advice do you have for future students interested in pursuing a Fulbright award? Find a professor or two whose style you like and take a lot of their classes; they'll get to know you and that goes a long way. Also, the staff at the UI are there to help you write up your project application and they are very good at what they do. The process will upset, anger, sadden, and frustrate you a lot, but getting here is a huge team effort and you are all there for the same goal so stay the course even as your project changes throughout the revision process, just go with it. The biggest step is convincing yourself that your project is a contender, and all projects can be if you stick through to the end.