IFR has continued to support California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) students through the Vera Campbell Promise Scholarship program. CSULA attracts students from local neighborhoods, many coming from economically challenged backgrounds and the first in their families to attend university. Most have never traveled outside California, let alone the US. Read about these exemplary CSULA students below who were awarded Vera Campbell Scholarships to participate in an IFR study away field program!h

2022 CSULA Awardees

Hope Apodaca Samaniego

I am an anthropology graduate from CSULA. I was fortunate enough to attend the Croatia: Lobor Bioarchaeology field school. I will never again doubt my capabilities or dismiss opportunities for myself…I am grateful for the ability to obtain a confidence I didn’t know I could have.

Read more about my experience at the Croatia: Lobor field school in Trials and Trowels! (Coming Soon!)

Isabela Arreola

I was born and raised in South Los Angeles, and graduated from CSULA in 2022. Traveling abroad for the first time forced me to step out of my comfort zone, something I don’t normally do. It was difficult not having my family, who are usually my sense of security, but having to depend on myself felt freeing.

Read more about my experience at the Croatia: Lobor field school in Trials and Trowels! (Coming Soon!)

Paola Gracia

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and I had the amazing opportunity to attend the four-week field school in Ferns, Ireland. Prior to receiving the Vera Campbell scholarship, I had never traveled outside California and the states surrounding it. Attending this field school pushed me to put myself out there and do a lot of scary things like traveling alone for the first time to Europe, staying with a family of complete strangers, as well as having roommates I had never met before.

Read more about my experience at the Ireland: Ferns field school in Trials and Trowels! (Coming Soon!)

Adela Elizarrez

I graduated from CSULA in anthropology. I participated in the Proyecto Arqueológico Zuleta (PAZ) field school in Ecuador over the summer, which focused on the Zuleta region, located north of the country’s capital of Quito. Although learning archaeological methods and learning how to apply such methods in the field were my main goals for attending this field school, I was surprised with the immersive experience I encountered while being in Ecuador.

Read more about my experience at the Ecuador: Zuleta field school in Trials and Trowels! (Coming Soon!)

2021 CSULA Awardees

Julia Hernandez

I am a first-generation college student who majored in anthropology with a minor in law and society. I was excited and grateful to receive the Vera Campbell Promise Scholarship to attend the IFR field school in Lobor, Croatia in the summer of 2021. In the spring of 2022, I started an M.A. program in forensic anthropology at California State University, Chico. I hope to have a career as a forensic anthropologist at the Marine Corps Base Quantico, located in Quantico, Virginia. The field of anthropology has always drawn my attention as it made me aware of different approaches to the world and this has positively affected my own personal growth as an individual.

Crystal Villarreal

I am a first-generation college graduate from California State University, Los Angeles, who majored in anthropology with a minor in biology. I joined IFR’s Croatia: Lobor field school in Summer 2021. Attending an IFR program meant I was able to travel and learn about different cultures while gaining skills and knowledge that I could not gain solely through classroom learning. I intend to continue my education in a biological anthropology graduate program. This field experience was an essential part of my education in anthropology!

Nataly Cardenas

As a child, I was always interested in history and the people in civilizations who lived before me. So, when I found out about archeology and the connection that it offers between past and present, I became obsessed. One long-term goal of mine is to receive my doctorate in anthropology, so I can influence and inspire the next generation of archeologists. What drew me to IFR is its strong reputation and its diverse field school programs. The Denmark: Vasagard field school I attended in Summer 2021 gave me the hands-on experience that I wanted before attending graduate school.

Vanessa Karkkainen

I graduated at California State University, Los Angeles with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. After graduation, I plan to pursue my Ph.D. with the goal of becoming a professor within the UC or CSU system. The Vera Campbell Promise Scholarship and IFR field school provided me with the opportunity to be immersed in another culture, to work beside other students and expert archaeologists, and to learn a different approach in excavation and field methods. I also gained a better understanding of the transition from a hunter-gatherer society to an agricultural society.

Bryan Mendez-Lopez

I am a first generation college graduate from California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) who majored in anthropology and minored in biology. My short-term goal after graduating from CSULA is to work in cultural resource management for a year before continuing with an M.A. in bioarchaeology. My long-term goal is to obtain a Ph.D. and to research institutionalized violence against the Zapotec people in Oaxaca, Mexico. The Vera Campbell Promise scholarship allowed me to travel internationally with IFR on their Ireland field program where I was immersed in a different culture and learned from Dr. Denis Shine, Dr. Stephen Mandal, and Dr. Linda Lynch, who all have extensive field experience. Notably, they also work with the local community at archaeological field sites. I am thrilled that I won this award and am grateful for the experience of learning and developing skills that are critical to my development as an anthropologist.