Dr. Mara Vejby picked Santa Rosa Junior College twice in her life: the first time was when she started her college studies here, and the second time was when she decided to teach here.
Mara grew up in Sonoma County, went to Analy High School in Sebastopol, and then, with the help of a Doyle Scholarship, enrolled to take anthropology classes at SRJC. While studying full-time and working two or three jobs simultaneously, she also took upon many extra-curricular activities: tutoring students with academic needs, volunteering for the Jesse Peter Museum (now the Santa Rosa Junior College Museum), and scoring prizes with the speech and debate team. Her SRJC semester abroad in Paris and travels through Europe also influenced her future studies and career.
Graduating SRJC with the highest honors, Mara transferred to UC Davis, where she majored in Medieval and Early Modern Studies and designed some of her own classes. The UC Davis President’s Undergraduate Fellowship grant helped her get a first taste of what archaeology in Europe was like: she researched the archaeological aspects of The Táin Bó Cúailnge in Ireland. She eventually received her Ph.D. in Archaeology from the prestigious University of Reading in the United Kingdom. The California Indian Museum and Cultural Center in Santa Rosa tempted her to return to the US to work on a Pomo languages project. Her journey went full circle, from SRJC to the world and back, when she was hired here to teach in the Behavioral Sciences Department at SRJC, where she initially studied.
These days Dr. Vejby teaches at Santa Rosa Junior College, Sonoma State University, and College of Marin. She writes archaeological books and manuals, publishes research in specialty journals, and is one of the few specialists in European archaeology on the West Coast. Passionate about preserving local history, Dr. Vejby founded a cultural resources management company, Locality Research and Preservation, focused on increasing awareness on topics that used to be taught in our schools but are not any longer. Since so many textbooks are published out of state and don’t focus on the history of Petaluma, Santa Rosa or other local cities, she actively researches and crafts activities and lectures about our history for classrooms around Sonoma County.
Through SRJC’s Community Education department, Dr. Vejby has initiated a project for those passionate about archeology to participate in a mock archaeological excavation field school this coming summer 2017. With a team of interns, she will be creating an archeological site. Next summer, a new group of students enrolled in the Community Education Summer Camp Program will excavate the site and interpret the material they find. As she said, “It’s the kind of field school that students around here don’t have access to. They can have the experience of excavating and learning archaeological techniques without doing any damage to sensitive material.”
Learn more about SRJC Anthropology, Psychology, and Sociology classes and majors on the Behavioral Sciences Department's website.