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STEM in the Field of Family Research

A common question is “How do science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) relate to family research?” STEM offers us an incredible gateway to improve our understanding of who we are through discovering our family beginnings, recording, and digitizing family heritage, and connecting with other families around the world. STEM enables people to conduct various forms of family research, including genetics, historical archaeology, genealogy, technology, anthropology, and mathematics. Researching family involves analyzing DNA, excavating burial sites, and studying artifacts, heredity, and ancestral lineage and traits. All these forms of research are STEM!

I am currently working with the Hamilton Hood Foundation on a preservation project at the historic Pierce Chapel African American Cemetery, and our preservation approach incorporates STEM. During a preliminary review of the site, an archeologist identified various cultural plants, artifacts, and geological structures inside the cemetery. This archaeological review is a great example of using STEM—specifically science—in the field of family research. STEM contributes to family research in unique ways, enabling us to apply the processes of science, technology, engineering, and math to discover family connections and untold stories in family histories.

Leah Pierce

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