Diving into a new culture

When Emily Stammitti-Campbell, ’03, took a scuba diving class as a physical education elective at Heidelberg, she had no idea where it would lead.

“I was amazed at the number of things underwater and wished there was a place I could dive and study the history of it,” said Stammitti-Campbell.

Turns out there was much more.

“At 18, I had no clue about how things might fit into my life later, but I absolutely loved that scuba class.”

Recognizing Stammitti-Campbell’s’s budding passion, three ’Berg history professors – Dr. David Hogan, the late Dr. Bonnie Fors and former faculty member Dr. David Staley – nurtured and encouraged her to explore a career in underwater archaeology that was barely known at the time. The professors’ message to her: “This does exist. It is a thing. You should go for it.”

So she did. After graduation from Heidelberg, Stammitti-Campbell enrolled in a master’s degree program, studying international relations, at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California. With her eye on entering the Peace Corps, she headed to California because the wait time for a Peace Corps assignment was shorter. After earning her master’s degree in 2007, she took a giant leap.

She was accepted into a dual master’s/Ph.D. program at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. “This place just captured me. I’m still here,” Stammitti-Campbell said.

“During my Ph.D., I studied underwater archaeology, but because international relations was my major, I took that as my focus,” she said. All the while, she did field work in Scotland and Egypt, studying the effects of reservoir submergence on land-based sites.

Stammitti-Campbell earned her Ph.D. in 2015. Since then, she’s been working as a project officer at York Archaeological Trust. She manages the field work of a team of archaeologists and writes reports to city and county councils and historical organizations – the equivalent of the National Park Service or the Environmental Protection Agency.

She continues to be involved in archaeological digs and dives regularly – although she had to take a hiatus last year when she was pregnant with her daughter, Audrey Jean-Marie.

Next year, Stammitti-Campbell will qualify for dual citizenship. Her husband, Craig, is Scottish, so she plans to pursue that path. Eventually, though, she and her family plan to return to the U.S. Ultimately, she would like to teach. Her experience at Heidelberg inspired her desire to be in the classroom.

"I’ve tried so hard to emulate the professors I had at Heidelberg. They turned my life around. They were kind to me. They believed in me and they are damned good at what they do."

None of her other colleges lived up to Stammitti-Campbell’s Heidelberg experience.

“I just hope to God my daughter goes to Heidelberg,” she said.

Published in Spring 18

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