Heather Gill-Robinson - 2002 Winning Essay

Heather Gill-Robinson

My dream is to become a university researcher and lecturer in forensic anthropology. I am currently working towards my doctorate in Anthropology at the University of Manitoba. My specialty is a blend of forensic anthropology and archaeology to study preserved human remains from wetlands in Europe.

My research is unique; it often falls between art and science subjects so I have been unable to gain funding from traditional sources to support my education. To fund my studies I have worked several part-time jobs, leaving my studies and working full-time when money was not available. I was fortunate to work as a forensic analyst for two years while my husband attended college; he is now working to support me during my graduate studies.

The unusual nature of my research has allowed me to travel and present conference papers worldwide. I have a dozen publications to my credit, including an article for children and co-authorship of a chapter in a forensic textbook, and I have appeared in two international documentaries to discuss my subject. I volunteer to present public lectures on archaeology and wetland conservation.

My coursework will finish in December 2002 and I hope to begin my thesis research by collecting data in Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. Currently I maintain a full graduate course load with high grades, hold a Research Assistantship, and work temporary jobs to meet the cost of my education. The Mensa scholarship award would allow me to focus all my energy on my studies.