Missouri State University
Chris Koenig

Chris Koenig

  • Historic preservation specialist, Missouri Department of Transportation
  • Jefferson City, Missouri
  • BA Anthropology

The greatest part of anthropology alum Chris Koenig’s job is holding an artifact that no one has seen or touched in thousands of years.

Hands-on learning led to a career in anthropology

As a Historic Preservation Specialist for the Missouri Department of Transportation, Chris travels the state surveying the land where future roads will be built looking for any prehistoric or historic archaeological sites that may be impacted by construction.

“My favorite thing about my job is getting to discover and hold something no one has seen or held in thousands of years,” said Chris. “I also enjoy the diversity of traveling across the state.” His favorite discovery is a prehistoric petroglyph or rock carving site near the Sac River.

Chris attributes his success at work to the education he received through the anthropology program at Missouri State. “I owe quite a lot to Missouri State, the anthropology program and the Center for Archaeological Research,” said Chris. “The anthropology program prepared me for the ‘real world’ by presenting me with various opportunities: hands-on learning, alumni updates, archaeological field schools and visits from professionals who shared their experiences.”

During his time at Missouri State, Chris worked closely with the Center for Archaeological Research as both a student and part-time employee. “The Center for Archaeological Research and all their archaeological expertise taught me 95 percent of what I know as a professional archaeologist,” said Chris.

He participated in the 2002 Big Eddy field school, which taught him the physical aspects of archaeology and about the difficulties of conducting fieldwork in the heat of a Missouri summer. “It also taught me how to excavate properly and to think about what you are doing and why you are doing it,” Chris said. “Most importantly, it provided me with lifelong contacts in the archaeological field.”

For Chris, those professional connections and unique experiences shaped his future in archaeology and anthropology. In fact, he encourages current and future students to take advantage of every opportunity offered by the anthropology program. “Don’t pass up opportunities when they are presented. It all builds experience and resumes!”

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