College:College of Sciences
Degree Program:Anthropology MA
Research Focus:Bioarchaeology, stable isotope analysis
Brianna Muir has always been passionate about history and archaeology. When she was ten years old, her grandfather bought her a book about life and death in ancient Egypt, and she has been hooked on the field ever since.
After earning her Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology from the Australian National University in 2019 and becoming the first in her family to earn a college degree, Muir decided to pursue a master’s degree in Anthropology at UCF. She chose UCF due to the prominent Anthropology program and the positive experiences she had communicating with faculty and staff. “All the correspondence I had with my potential supervisor and the department administrative staff were genuinely positive, and I really felt like they were excited to have me be a part of the program,” she says. “They were also supportive and cognizant that moving me literally halfway across the world is a life-changing decision.”
Muir is a bioarchaeologist, a type of archaeologist who studies both human remains and archaeological artifacts in context with one another. She aims to use integrative approaches to address questions of personhood, identity, and agency in the past. More specifically, she investigates how these factors may have shaped and influenced a person's lived experience – for example, what was life like for children in Ancient Vietnam? What about Medieval Hungary? Who had agency in these settings, and what did that look like?
Currently, Muir is conducting research within the Laboratory for Bioarchaeological Sciences (LBAS) on stable isotope analysis, analyzing ancient bones and teeth to get an idea of what people were eating in the past; and to learn about their migration patterns. “Through this research, I am investigating and addressing inequalities in the past and in the present as well – issues of social justice are significant and something I am passionate about,” she says.
In her program, Muir appreciates the flexibility and interdisciplinary spirit that enable her to continue her research. For her work at UCF, she has received the Graduate Dean’s Fellowship and the Graduate Presentation Fellowship to present her research at the 87th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. She also was awarded the Trevor Colbourn Anthropology Endowment Fund to support her thesis research.
In addition to her studies, Muir works as a graduate teaching assistant in the Anthropology department. The experience of working as a GTA cultivated her love for teaching, inspiring her to one day teach classes of her own. She advises fellow students to make time for themselves outside of their studies and take opportunities to explore their passions as well.
After graduation Muir plans to return home to Australia to pursue a PhD with the goal of attaining a position in teaching or academic research at a university.
- Australia native and bioarchaeologist
- Graduate Dean's Fellowship recipient
- Graduate Presentation Fellowship recipient
- Graduate Anthropology Association (GAA) member
- Knightswake wakeboarding club member
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