Holly Bostick ’15 sat on the porch of her small cabin drinking a cup of coffee, watching toucans fly before the most breathtaking sunrise she’d ever seen. There was no electricity, air conditioning, or hot water—just a small wooden cot where she slept. And somehow, that was more than enough.
An art history major and Spanish minor, Holly was among a small group of volunteers who traveled to Belize this past summer to assist in archeological excavations at the Maya ruins. She pursued this “life-changing” experience after another—an Oglethorpe-sponsored short-term trip to Greece in 2013. As part of her studies on ancient art and architecture, Holly had visited an active archaeological dig in Corinth and was captivated. She wanted to find a way to relive that experience.
Holly researched similar programs and discovered the Maya Research Program, a nonprofit that sponsors archaeological and ethnographic research in Central America. Holly and approximately 35 other volunteers, including fellow OU student and art history major Emily Prichard ’15, trekked to Blue Creek, Belize, where they joined archaeological digs. Each morning, they jumped into the back of pickups and navigated to the excavation sites—usually Xno’ha, an “elite residential complex” discovered in 2013. There, they were “hands on,” organizing remains and piecing together skeletons. Having no experience in anatomy or anthropology, Holly admits she had a bit of a learning curve, but that it was “absolutely incredible and a one-of-a-kind experience.”
Back in the U.S., Holly was determined to continue her journey. Oglethorpe art professors Alan Loehle and Dr. Jeffrey Collins recommended that she apply for an internship at The Carter Center, which holds an extensive art collection. Given the competitiveness of any opportunity at Center, Holly felt honored to be selected for the art internship, and credits her academic and global experiences for setting her apart from other applicants. Holly has gained insight into museum operations and experience with fine art, a compliment to her work with artifacts.
“The Carter Center’s art collection is very eclectic, with no specific genre,” Holly said. “Many of the items are donations from countries around the world in thanks for the Carter Center’s worldwide efforts in peace. So, a general knowledge in many different art mediums and cultures was crucial for the internship.”
Holly graduates in 2015, and while she’s yet undecided about her career path, she knows her options are endless, crediting her ventures while at Oglethorpe.
“When I would tell people where I was going and what I was doing, they would always give me a look and ask ‘why?’. My response, of course, being ‘why not?’” she said, laughing. “[My experiences] broadened my sense of the world, and my personal world, specifically. It showed me that there aren’t limitations and I don’t have to settle for any one career. I have options and places to explore and that is what I intend to do.”
Heather Johnston ’17 is a communication & rhetoric studies major, with a minor in business administration. She is currently an intern for Pegasus Creative, the student communications agency in the University Communications department, and writes for the Stormy Petrel student newspaper.