This McNair Scholar Digs Microwear Analysis

Gabrielle Hoffman is pursuing an Anthropology emphasized Individualized Studies degree.  She is also a McNair Scholar conducting original research this summer under the guidance of Anthropology professor Dr. Scott Demel. Her project, entitled “Micro-wear Analysis: Using Natural Dyes to Examine Polishes” has her spending lots of time in the Anthropology lab in Gries hall. “Our purpose is to dye highly reflective stone tools with natural dye to see if the dye will enable the polish to be examined under high power magnification” says Gabby. We caught up with her while she was working on wearing a chert scraper.

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Above: Gabby shows a piece of hide she’s been using to wear stone tools.

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Gabby is active on campus as well. She works at the Beaumier Heritage Museum at NMU and recently helped curate an exhibit entitled “What’s On Tap?: Brewing in the Upper Peninsula”. Along with two other NMU students, Courtney Herber and Adam Papin, Gabby worked to conduct research and then to create the exhibit over 4 months. The exhibit will remain open through September 6th. For more information on the exhibit, visit the Beaumier Heritage Center Website here. She also works in the social work and anthropology department office.

When she’s not working, she’s digging. Gabby recently spent 4 weeks on Beaver Island, MI for the NMU anthropology field school. There, students dug for artifacts around the historic Mormon Print Shop building.

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Like all McNair scholars who conduct research, Gabby will produce a research paper at the conclusion of her project. She will seek to have this paper published in a journal. In the fall after she graduates in May 2015, Gabrielle plans to enroll in an anthropology graduate program. She is looking at schools across the country as well as in Great Britain. We’re looking forward to hearing great things about Gabby in the future.

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