ARCE Public Workshop: Thinking Outside the Sarcophagus: Exploring Diverse Career Paths

Registration is required

Panelists: Dr. Julia Troche, Rachel Leslie, Chance Coughenour, Dr. Julia Hsieh, Dr. Elizabeth Waraksa, and Nigel J. Hetherington

  • 1:00 PM ET/ 8:00 PM EET
  • Zoom
  • + Add to Calendar

Lecture Information: 

Did you know that in addition to academic jobs your degree in Egyptology can get you high paying, stimulating, and prestigious careers in a wide range of fields in some of the country’s top institutions and companies? While the R-I academic job (the highest research classification) might be ideal for some, it is not the only path, and many other paths, at “lower status” institutions or outside of academia entirely can offer more benefits, flexibility, higher salaries, and as much cachet as an R-I position. These are not “second-best” or “fall back” options and require their own set of skills and preparations. This ARCE panel includes a wide range of participants who will share practical advice as to how you can turn your Egyptology (or Egyptology adjacent) degree into a successful career.

Panelist Bios:  

Dr. Julia Troche

Assistant Professor of History at Missouri State University and Vice President and co-founder of ARCE-Missouri, is an Egyptologist and social historian whose forthcoming monograph with Cornell University Press focuses on how power structures and mortuary culture intersected in Egypt’s Old through Middle Kingdoms (c. 2700-1800 BCE). Her next big project considers Egyptomania through the lens of Imhotep. She received her BA in History from UCLA and her PhD in Egyptology and Assyriology from Brown University. Julia is deeply invested in education at all levels, including public outreach and K-12 enrichment. Her efforts to increase advocacy for graduate students, early career scholars, and contingent faculty led her to become an active member of the Egyptology State of the Field Project. She has had the privilege to work as excavator, surveyor, and epigraphist at Abydos and Luxor, Egypt and at Petra, Jordan. 

Rachel Leslie 

Cultural Affairs Officer at U.S. Embassy Cairo since July 2019, and as a Foreign Service Officer since 2003. As a public diplomacy practitioner, Rachel has managed a full range of cultural, academic, media, and educational advising programs. As part of her portfolio in Egypt, Rachel focuses on cultural heritage policy, cultural preservation, and management, and restoration and adaptive reuse as a component of community and economic development. Ms. Leslie’s previous assignments include Syria, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Bahrain, and Jerusalem. Rachel also served  as Public Affairs Advisor and subsequently as Acting Director in the Secretary of State’s Office of Religion and Global Affair in Washington DC (2015-17), as well as a Development Outreach and Communications Specialist at the USAID Mission in Egypt (2018-19). 

Chance Coughenour 

Program Manager – Google Arts & Culture

As Head of Preservation at Google Arts & Culture, Chance leads heritage preservation efforts through international partnerships employing innovative technology for 3D documentation, education, and public dissemination. Recent partnerships include UNESCO, ICOMOS, British Museum, CyArk, World Monuments Fund, ARCE, Pergamon Museum, Brazil’s National Museum, Lima Art Museum, Rhizome, and ML experiments Fabricius and Woolaroo. Prior to joining Google, he co-founded Rekrei, a crowdsourcing project for lost heritage and was a Marie-Curie Research Fellow at the Institute for Photogrammetry, University of Stuttgart. He received an MA in Archaeology and Ancient History from the University of Leicester and is Mapping Director of an archaeological project in Belize. 

Dr. Julia Hsieh 

Campaign Director & Director of Strategic Initiatives at Yale School of Management

Hsieh has worked in higher education development and alumni relations for the past eight years. In addition to her day job, she is Assistant Editor of Near Eastern Archaeology and has published articles on topics ranging from ancient Egyptian toponyms and grammatical constructions to vessel repair. Her monograph Ancient Egyptian Letters to the Dead will be available later this year through the series Harvard Egyptological Studies: Brill. 

Dr. Elizabeth Waraksa 

Associate Dean, Libraries and Academic Innovation, George Washington University

Waraksa has a portfolio that includes Special Collections, University Archives, Global Resources, Digital Services, and the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships. Prior to joining GWU, she was a program director at the Association of Research Libraries. Elizabeth has also been a Council on Library and Information Resources Postdoctoral Fellow, a librarian for Middle Eastern Studies, and a lecturer. She holds a doctorate in Near Eastern Studies with a specialization in Egyptian art and archaeology from the Johns Hopkins University. 


Nigel J. Hetherington

Founder, Past Preservers; MA Archaeologist, TV Producer, & Agent

He earned a BA in Egyptian Archaeology and an MA in Cultural Heritage Studies from the Institute of Archaeology, University of College London, with a focus on the Valley of the Kings. In 2003 he joined the Theban Mapping Project as Conservation Manager alongside its director, Egyptologist Dr. Kent Weeks, at the American University in Cairo, where he co-authored the Valley of the Kings Site Management Masterplan. In 2007 Nigel founded the consultancy Past Preservers, providing professional support to the media industry. Nigel’s goal is to facilitate and support the happy marriage of rigorous and scientific archaeology to innovative and entertaining media projects.