Presenter Biographies

3D Scanning & 3D Printing in Paleontology

Michael began to explore and implement 3D printing and imaging in exhibit production in 2013, subsequently utilizing these technologies at NMNH (Smithsonian) and the Burke Museum. Today 3D surface scanning has become a regular part of his work flow in fossil preparation, exhibit fabrication, and the creation of hands-on educational objects. Ongoing learning involves integration of scan-based 3D models and digital sculpture for both scientific and artistic pursuits.

A Beginner's Guide to Paleontology Fieldwork: What You Need To Know Before You Go

Hillary McLean has worked in the fossil preparation world for 9 years. Starting as a volunteer in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science while finishing her biology degree, she gained valuable experience preparing a wide range of fossils and participated on many various field excursions. She since has worked for many different museum labs in Montana, Kansas, and Texas and is currently assisting Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Colorado with the photographing and rehousing of the entire fossil collection. She has presented multiple projects at past AMMP meetings ranging from building working preparation labs to leading workshops on different preparation techniques. Hillary is very experienced with fieldwork and all of the trials and tribulations that can be paired with working in remote areas in the United States. She brings those years of fieldwork experience to help educate new people to the field to ensure that everyone is fully prepared for the rigors of fieldwork.

Be-Leaf-Able Plant Preparation Co-Leaders

Alex Lowe (he/him) is a paleobotanist who is interested in dominant controls on the ecology of plant communities over the Cenozoic. Alex worked with paleontology collections and geochemistry labs during his BS at the University of Utah and worked on the early Eocene McAbee Fossil Beds during his MS from Brandon University. Alex is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Washington (UW) studying the response of plant community ecology in the Pacific Northwest to the mid-Miocene climatic optimum within a highly resolved temporal framework. Throughout this career, Alex has worked on a variety of plant fossil localities, managing the fossil collection and preservation process from the field to the museum.

Conni O’Connor (she/her) has been the Museum Technician at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument since 2010. She specializes in the intricate micropreparation of plants and insects in paper shale and works to actively advance the conservation techniques and methods for the Florissant Formation and similar matrices.

Paige Wilson Deibel (she/her) is the Paleobotany Collections and Lab Manager at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Paige started working with geologic and vertebrate paleontological collections during her BA at Dartmouth College. In 2022, Paige received her PhD from the University of Washington (UW) with her dissertation studying plant macrofossils during the Cretaceous-Paleogene Mass Extinction. She now manages the macro- and micro-plant fossil collections at the Burke, maintains the plant fossil prep program at the Burke, and manages the safety and protocols of the paleobotany and paleoecology labs at UW.

Creating and Implementing Dual Anatomy/Inventory Workflow Guides

Jess Miller-Camp began taking museum studies classes while in grad school for vertebrate paleontology. They have since worked in university collections as a collections manager, plus other duties as they arise. Much of their work has involved training and managing students in museum work. They started a student club for natural history museums at UCR and have encouraged the creation of one at IU. Creating workflows is one of the things they create and encourage in their museum work. Because they also have a background in comparative vertebrate anatomy, they’ve been able to incorporate basic training in that with various activities partaken in by the students they supervise in order to make collections information more useful to researchers.

Custom Box Making

Siri Linz has been the assistant archaeology collections manager at the Burke Museum since 2013 and the curation services coordinator since May 2021. In these roles, she collaborates with the archaeology collections manager to oversee the delivery, processing and care of archaeological collections that include more than 1 million belongings from all over the world. At the Burke, she supports hourly student staff, graduate/undergraduate student research and communicates with our federal, state, and Tribal partners. Siri holds a Master of Arts in Museology and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Washington. Siri has taught an archaeology collections management lab course in the UW Museology graduate program since 2014.

Field Courtesy: Addressing Safety and Ethics While Conducting Fieldwork

Anthony Maltese is a Certified outdoor crew leader for trail building, former lifeguard, and has 27 years of paleontological and geological fieldwork experience in the USA, and overseas (Mexico, Canada, Scotland, Netherlands and Portugal). Anthony lead a field safety talk at the 2018 AMMP Annual Meeting in Lincoln and has led a field safety workshop at the 2018 SVP Annual Meeting. Fortunately, he claims to still has all his fingers and toes attached.

Alania Fike is a Preparator with over 10 years of paleontological experience. She has completed field work in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Kansas, and Colorado. Alania has worked for Triebold Paleontology Inc. since 2018 as a member of the prep/field team. Leading paleontology field crews is a duty of hers and she also has experience leading amateur crews on day trips. She has the perspective of the ins and outs of working on US Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and private land. Alania has presented a talk at the 2022 SVP Annual meeting that included basic field techniques and safety.

Fossil Preparation 101 and Introduction to Microsorting

Patrick Wilson is a 5th year Ph.D candidate at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT). Before attending SDSMT, Patrick worked for the Sternberg Museum of Natural History during his Master's of Science degree and as a Field Instructor in Montana. While attending SDSMT, he has had numerous opportunities for field and lab work to broaden his skill set. One of these opportunities at SDSMT was to take a Fossil Vertebrate Preparation and Conservation course, where he learned the basic principles and techniques of preparation and microsorting. These principles and techniques will be shared with the membership during his workshops.

GIS for Field Paleontology

Melissa Macias is a Senior Paleontologist and GIS Analyst at Applied EarthWorks, Inc. in Pasadena, CA. She has many years of experience using GIS to create maps for reports and fieldwork, and regularly trains staff on the proper usage of the ESRI applications in the field for large-scale paleontological mitigation projects.

Illustrating Fossil with Pencils

Crystal Shin is a scientific illustrator and a botanical artist who has illustrated multiple paleo illustrations for published papers. She graduated from The Natural Scientific Illustration Certificate program at The University of Washington. She has illustrated the paleo scientific illustrations for the researchers at the Burke Museum, University of Washington for several years. She has a highly tuned attention to detail, and fine drawing skills. She also worked as a primary illustrator on the second edition of the renowned plant identification book, “Flora of the Pacific Northwest” at the University of Washington Herbarium. She teaches workshops and classes through various organizations throughout Pacific Northwest. She is passionate about serving science as an artist. She works in graphite, pen and ink, colored pencils, and watercolor.

Polyethylene Glycol and Its Uses in Fossil Preparation and Conservation

Kelsie Abrams received her MS in Geoscience from Fort Hays State University in 2015. She has been managing fossil preparation labs for eight years and has been leading fieldwork crews for twelve years. She specializes in microvertebrate preparation and has worked extensively on Permo-Triassic animals from Africa, Antarctica, and Arizona. When not preparing strange reptilian holotypes or digging dinosaurs, she enjoys collecting live modern orchids. Kelsie has 9 years experience using PEG and learned from JP. Kelsie has used PEG to prepare several delicate Triassic-age holotype specimens.

JP Cavigelli has been Prep Lab Manager and Field Trip Organizer and Collections Manager at the Tate Geological Museum at Casper College since 2004. He has been preparing fossils since he was a skibum, starting by experimenting with a drywall screw on the dining room table. JP convinced some people to let him prepare fossils for them and started attending SVP conferences where he was able to ask Bill Amaral about carbowax when Bill mentioned it in an SVP presentation. JP managed to get his hands on some with help of the vertpaleo listserve (he believes) and by begging the big chemical companies for samples. He has been using the stuff since then and teaching volunteers how to use it and has used it for many delicate fossil prep projects both professionally and personally. JP accidentally discovered one day at a big box store that carbowax can be acquired in your local pharmacy and is very affordable.

Beyond Airscribes

Alan Zdinak is Senior Fossil Preparator in Vertebrate Paleontology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. He mostly works on fossil whales and Miocene mammals. Over the last decade he's also prepared fossils at the Smithsonian's NMNH and Yale's Peabody Museum. He received his initial training in fossil prep at the AMNH. A former Vice President of AMMP, he's taught workshops in specimen housing and lab design, and delivered many talks at AMMP meetings and elsewhere. During pandemic lockdown, without access to a compressor, he gained a deepened appreciation for the role rotary tools can play in fossil preparation, applications he'll illuminate in this workshop.

Developing and Adapting Workflows and Protocols - WITHDRAWN

Dr. Aly Baumgartner has been living and breathing museums for more than 10 years. From volunteering and internships to her current position as the Paleontology Collections Manager at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History where she oversees the vertebrate paleontology, invertebrate paleontology, paleobotany, and geology collections, as well as the fossil prep lab, Aly has had years of hands-on experience developing, testing, and adapting workflows and protocols in a museum setting.


Zoe Kulik has 8 years of bone histology experience making thin sections of anything from dinosaurs to zoo animals. She was trained by Dr. Megan Whitney and Dr. Kristi Curry Rogers at Macalester College where she managed the Curry Rogers’ Paleohistology lab. Her expertise is primarily focused on synapsid cranial and postcranial histology, and has also worked with oversized titanosaur bones and skeletonizing and sectioning modern bones. 

Paleontology Preparation Training Manual

Stephany Potze has been with the La Brea Tar Pits and Museums since 2016, where she has trained a diverse audience (~200 people), ranging from elementary school students to volunteers, on asphaltic fossil preparation and microfossil sorting. Over the past five years, the Rancho La Brea Fossil Lab has been active in developing and improving asphaltic paleontological preparation techniques that have been presented at various conferences, including the Association of Materials and Methods in Paleontology. Prior to working on Rancho La Brea material, she trained and supervised preparation staff and volunteers in acetic acid preparation techniques from hominin-bearing cave deposits, while working at the Ditsong Museum of Natural History in South Africa. In November 2022, Stephany and her colleague Connie Clarke were awarded the Hix Preparators Grant, in association with the 82nd Annual Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting. This workshop forms part of the BREAS initiative (Bridging Research and Education at Asphaltic sites) and will introduce all aspects of asphaltic fossil preparation to students in Trinidad, with the aim of developing and strengthening collaborations to build capacity with paleontological contemporaries around the world working with asphaltic deposits.

Cornelia Clarke (Connie) is a preparator in the Fossil Lab at the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, specializing in asphaltic fossil preparation since 2018. With Stevie and Stephany, Connie has worked to supervise and train over 80 volunteers in fossil preparation techniques and microfossil sorting. The volunteer team incorporates people aged 16 to 92, including summer-only volunteers, other museum staff, and interns that only have brief commitment periods, requiring quick turn-around and efficient training. Connie has presented on improved asphalt fossil techniques at AMMP, GSA, and SVP.

Stevie Morley has worked at the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum Fossil Lab as an Assistant Preparator and Museum Associate since 2017. They have experience in both excavation and preparation techniques unique to Late Pleistocene asphaltic fossil deposits. During this time Stevie has helped identify and refine new materials and methods for the removal of external asphalt from macrofossil bone. Prior to the CoVid-19 Pandemic, the Rancho La Brea Fossil Lab supported a large volunteer cohort which Stevie helped train and supervise. The Fossil Lab staff (S. Potze, S.L. Morley, & C.A. Clarke) created a manual to improve volunteer training and to enhance fossil preparation and microfossil sorting results. Since 2019, Stevie has co-presented preparation-based research with 3 posters for the AMMP Annual Meetings held in 2019 and 2021 and collaborated on 2 poster presentations for the Geological Society of America’s Cordilleran/Rocky Mountain section meeting in 2021. Their poster submission for the AMMP 2022 Annual Meeting has been accepted for presentation, describing adhesive techniques in fossil preparation. 

Standarding Fossil Preparation Lab Protocols

Shyla Davison is a graduate curatorial assistant at The Stenberg Museum of Natural History at Fort Hays State University. She has gained experience with the topic of data acquisition, transfer, and archiving in fossil preparation labs during her graduate research project. The purpose of her project was to assess how data are collected and archived in fossil preparation labs, and how accessible the data are to those who need it such as researchers and collections managers. The results of the project showed that many institutions struggle with lack of standard protocol for data communication between the preparation lab and collections. She hopes to bridge the gap in communication to ensure all data collected in preparation labs are properly archived and made available to those who need it by collaborating with other institutions to create a best practices protocol.

Tribal Consultation: Perspectives from the Burke Museum

Polly Olsen has experience in trial relations that provides a perspective of Indigenous Ways of Knowing and lived cultural experiences. She leads with creativity, and healing models that provide authentic voices for tribal communities focused on the past, present, and future narratives for the diversity of tribal communities. Polly is a member of the Yakama Nation. Her work is focused on enhancing reciprocal partnerships with tribes and communities. She isa UW graduate with a BA degree in Cultural Anthropology. Her work at the Burke Museum began in June 2017.

Destructive Sampling Protocols

Marilyn Fox is the Chief Preparator at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. As such, she is asked to comment on all incoming destructive sampling requests and has been instrumental in creating the current guidelines in use at the museum.

2024 Host Committee

Adolfo Cuetara, Chair

Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre

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