Having started her academic career as a liberal studies major at Rowan University, Chelsea completed her master's degree at Monmouth. It was when she took an elective class in anthropology as an undergraduate that she thought there may be a future for her in the field.
"It lit something in me," Chelsea said. "The class was an intro class on peoples and cultures but there was something in the content that made me understand this was a field with a lot of opportunities for my interests."
Chelsea, who is from Howell, New Jersey, undertook a detailed analysis of the pathologies that impacted ancient Egyptians as part of her master's thesis. She had traveled to Egypt where she worked on tomb excavations alongside professors from the University of Pennsylvania and Rowan.
But, it is not the royal members of Egyptian society that Chelsea focused on. She has been actively studying the lives of the working classes who may have helped to build the pyramids for Egypt's pharaohs.
Chelsea examined mummies and said clues about their lives and how they died can be gathered from the local diet. "These are people who lived on a lot of bread and beer," Chelsea said. "Most corpses from that era are to some degree mummified and a lot can still be learned from studying them. It is important to know the impact diet had on their life span and how it may have compromised their immune system."
Chelsea said she studied mummies' teeth for evidence of disease. "It can be a bit like the TV series Bones. It is exciting and it is interesting."
While completing an internship at the Museum of Natural History, Chelsea was able to work behind the scenes and she was thrilled to be so immersed in her subject matter. However, she said one thing she takes away from her work is that "life can be short, so it is important to do what you love."
My favorite Monmouth memory
That there is a professor of biological anthropology on the faculty is what helped me to choose Monmouth. Dr. Hillary DelPrete is an expert is collecting skeletal data and she was extraordinarily helpful and a great mentor.