Lilia McEnaney '17

Lillia McEnaney ’17, a double major in archaeology and religious studies, will attend New York University’s prestigious master’s program in museum studies in the fall. There, she will focus her research on museum anthropology and intellectual property issues in indigenous community museums.

This latest accomplishment should come as no surprise — McEnaney’s time at Hamilton has been punctuated with extraordinary academic and professional achievements. Among many other accomplishments, she graduated cum laude with departmental honors in both of her majors, wrote three senior theses, and worked as a teaching assistant for the archaeology department and research assistant for religious studies professor Seth Schermerhorn.

About Lillia McEnaney ’17

Majors: archaeology and religious studies

Hometown: Newtown, Conn.

High school: Newtown High School

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In 2016, she traveled to Helsinki, Finland, with him to present an invited, co-authored paper at the European Association for the Study of Religions Conference. In April, a revised version of this paper was published in Religious Studies and Theology: Interdisciplinary Studies in Religion.

Off the Hill, she interned with the National Museum of the American Indian and Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. In the summer of 2015, McEnaney participated in an archaeological field project in Greece and in a computational photography-focused archaeological program in Macedonia. This spring, she was selected to attend the National Endowment for the Humanities-sponsored workshop at the Yale University Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage. She has published with SAPIENS, the Center for Art Law, and Museum Anthropology.

But this extensive (and incomplete) list has only been the beginning, and McEnaney shows no sign of slowing down. Immediately following graduation, she traveled to Montreal with two staff members of the Smithsonian Institution to co-organize a panel and conduct a conference ethnography of the Council for Museum Anthropology’s inaugural conference, “Museum Anthropology Futures.” And, even with graduate school on the horizon, McEnaney has plans for the steps that follow: earning a Ph.D .in anthropology and becoming a curator of indigenous ethnographic collections.

While McEnaney’s passion, determination and talent in these academic disciplines have undoubtedly served her well, she cites the religious studies department as a transformative influence. Schermerhorn in particular, she said, provided “incredible mentorship” that will continue to impact her throughout her academic career. More broadly, she commented that the archaeology department’s “focus on quantitative methods is, and continues to be, extremely unique for a liberal arts school.”

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