MEET THE BOARD
Victor Villagran – President
The legend of Victor began almost two decades ago, when he learned to dig square holes and march transects at CSU Long Beach. During one of his transects (bearing west), he ran out of dry land and became disoriented, which allowed a group of opportunistic archaeologists to kidnap him to Nevada. Since then, he has assumed an identity not unlike Bigfoot of other climes – seldom seen except by lonely conspiracy theorists who glimpse him passing amongst the sage and scrub brush of the Great American Desert.
Ashlee Younie – Vice President
Ms. Younie applies her backgrounds in natural resource economics and archaeology to specializes in natural resources use history in the American West. Often her research focuses on ethnic minorities in the ranching and mining histories of Nevada and California. Ashlee earned both of her degrees from the University of Nevada: a Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture and Applied Economics (2011) and a Master’s in Archaeology (2014). She frequently explores the Great Basin and Mohave deserts on foot and horseback; and is currently enjoying an eternal summer on the southern Nevada and northern Arizona border.
Sarah Branch – Treasurer
Sarah Branch has over 16 years of experience in cultural resources management gained through projects in Nevada, California, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska. Sarah earned her B.S. in geology at the University of Nevada, Reno, completing an undergraduate honors thesis examining Mississippian and Devonian radiolarians from the Toquima Range in central Nevada. Sarah got her first experience with archaeology in 2004 on a data recovery project at a late-nineteenth to early-twentieth century ranching property in Washoe City and was immediately hooked. She returned to UNR to continue her education, earning her M.A. in anthropology in 2014. Her primary research interests lie in the Great Basin and while at UNR, she used chemical sourcing of fine-grained volcanic tools from western Nevada to help elucidate patterns in prehistoric mobility, lithic procurement, and settlement in the region. Sarah has been a member of the NAA since 2007 and joined the Board in 2017.
Sean McMurry – Secretary
Dr. McMurry has worked in the archaeological field since 2002, participating in both prehistoric and historic projects in Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Nevada. She has led and worked as a crew member on numerous excavation and survey projects for universities, federal and state agencies, and private clients. Her graduate research at the University of Nevada in Reno, focused on historic mining resources in Nevada, with a Master’s thesis that examined Depression-Era placer gold mining, and a PhD dissertation that investigated a 20th-century sulfur mining townsite. She has significant experience in Section 106 compliance, oral history management, historical research, artifact processing and curation, GIS data collection and processing, historic artifact analysis, and report preparation for both government and private clients. Dr. McMurry’s personal research interests include GIS, mining, 19th and 20th-century archaeology, and public outreach, and she has presented and published numerous popular and scholarly articles devoted to these and other topics.
Geoffrey Smith – Membership Officer
Geoff Smith is a Regents’ Professor and Executive Director of the Great Basin Paleoindian Research Unit in the UNR Department of Anthropology. His research interests include the peopling of the American West, late Pleistocene and early Holocene lithic technology, mobility, and subsistence, and hunter-gatherer adaptions in the Great Basin. He has worked in the American West for two decades and authored more than 50 journal articles and book chapters on these and other topics.
Jackson C. Mueller – Social Media Officer
Jackson first studied archaeology as an undergraduate at UNR. After falling in love with artifact analysis (especially bottles and tin cans), he went on to earn a M.A. from the University of Montana where he studied the Bicycle Corps, a 19th century infantry unit stationed in Fort Missoula. Since graduation, he has directed projects across the United States but considers the Great Basin to be his favorite region. Outside of work, Jackson is involved in several volunteer projects including the recovery of a howitzer lost during John C. Fremont’s 1843 expedition, and writes terrible poetry.
Andrew Hoskins – Member at Large; Auction Coordinator
Andrew is a Project Manager at SWCA, Inc. in Reno, Nevada. He received a BS in Anthropology from Central Michigan University in 2011, and an MA is Anthropology/Archaeology from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2016. Andrew has worked in the Great Basin since 2012 researching, surveying, and excavating historic and prehistoric resources. His research interests include lithic technological organization, Great Basin projectile point typologies and chronologies, atlatl-bow transition in the west, and efficacy of cultural resource management strategies.
Andrew McCarthy – Member At Large; Journal Editor
Dr. Andrew McCarthy is an archaeologist with 25 years of experience in fieldwork in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Europe and the United States including Nevada. He is currently a Fellow of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, through which he directs archaeological field schools and projects in Cyprus and consults and publishes on projects around the Middle East. He is currently Director of the Prastio-Mesorotsos Archaeological Expedition, Director of the Dhiarizos Viewshed Analysis Project, co-Director of the Makounta-Voules Archaeological Project with North Carolina State University, Principal Investigator of the Las Vegas Springs Preserve Excavations, Field Director for the British Excavations at Tell Jerablus Tahtani, Archaeologist with Yale University’s Tell Leilan Excavations and is part of Yale University’s Akkadian Empire Project. He served as Director of the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute from 2011-2017 and returned to the USA after more than 20 years living abroad. He is now an Instructor at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas where he teaches Anthropology and Archaeology and is engaging in local archaeological activities, including acting as the President of the Archaeo-Nevada Society, and is the Editor of the journal Nevada Archaeologist.
John Benedict – Member at large
I graduated from The College of Southern Nevada (CSN) in the spring of 2020 with a degree in anthropology. I did 16 weeks of lab and field work at the Springs preserve. I have a strong background in geology. Currently I am a FAA Designated Mechanic Examiner (DME), a scuba instructor, a full-time husband, and the never-ending job as dad of three teen-age kids. I have master’s degree from FHSU. My first bachelor’s degree was in geology from Wichita State University. I earned a second Bachelor of Science degree in geosciences/meteorology (BMP) from Mississippi State University. I transferred to UNLV as a degree seeking undergrad majoring in Anthropology. Call me a perpetual student! Eventually, I hope to teach Earth science, anthropology, or meteorology at the post-secondary level.
Erin Gillett – Member At Large
Sara Rickett – Member at large
Sara Rickett was born and raised in Las Vegas and attained an Associate’s degree in 2009 from College of Southern Nevada, she then attended Northern Arizona University graduating in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. Since then she’s been working around the Southwest for various and sundry federal agencies and CRM companies. For the past 4 years, she’s been working for SWCA full time as a crew chief and now cultural resources team lead.
Richie Rosencrance – Member at large
Richie Rosencrance is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Nevada, Reno where he
previously received his MA in 2019. Originally from West Virginia, Richie got his first taste of the
Great Basin in 2014 and never looked back. He has worked in both academic and CRM positions
throughout Oregon, Nevada, and other parts of the US over the past 8 years. His broad
archaeological interests include stone tools, radiocarbon dating, and collections-based research
but his current research focuses on people’s technological and cultural adaptations to the end
of the Ice Age, isotope ecology of Great Basin large mammals, and the shift from the atlatl to
the bow. He has been a NAA member and participant since 2017 and is excited to be one of the
newest members of the NAA board.