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Archeology: A Passion, Hobby and Career for Terry

Matthew Terry is fascinated by old things. He grew up in an historic house and remembers an archeologist visiting Terry's third grade class, and it was at that point that Terry's interest was peaked to investigate what an historic site may yield. That love affair with uncovering site mysteries led Matthew Terry to earn his Bachelor degrees in Anthropology and Foreign Languages & Literature in 2004 from SIUE.

Terry's professional preparation has served him well. He currently records archaeological sites during salvage excavations as part of the Illinois Transportation Archaeological Research Program (ITARP). Terry is presently involved in the analysis of several prehistoric archaeology sites in Madison County. The ITARP is an agreement between University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to promote and preserve the state's archeological resources. The program began nearly half a century ago, and conducts short-term and long-term large-scale archeology projects exclusively in Illinois.

"Funding is the biggest problem with archeology jobs," said Terry. He noted that keeping up with the ever-evolving technology changes that impact how archeologists work has also been a challenge. Terry recently had his SIUE senior project published in the Illinois Archaeology Survey Journal.

During his undergraduate studies at SIUE, Terry received grants and loans that allowed him to continue working on his bachelor's degree. "Without the financial help, I would not have gone to college," said Terry. He received the Mary Warren Bagley Rekas Memorial Scholarship Award, which is given to students with strong academic ranking and who have displayed an active interest in the archeology in the Cahokia area.

Terry mentions Dr. Julie Holt (PhD, New York University) as being the professor who made a strong, positive impression on him. He remembers that she was always available to help students. Since graduating, Terry has remained in contact with Dr. Holt. It was Dr. Holt who encouraged him to submit his paper to the Illinois Archaeology Survey Journal. Terry frequently visits SIUE to watch senior anthropology students present their papers.

Even in his leisure time, archeology dominates Terry's interests, including reading about archeology and annually visits several archeology conferences. He periodically attends lectures at Cahokia Mounds. Archeology is Terry's passion, hobby and career. In the future, he would like to travel more and become an entrepreneur with his own archeology company.

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