July 11, 2018

PURE Award Winner 2018: Drew Thomas

Undergrad examines the way in which historical value is assigned to Alberta’s archaeological sites
Communications and Archaeology student Andrew Thomas
Communications and Archaeology student Andrew Thomas Debby Herold, Faculty of Arts

Committed to a goal of research excellence with its bold Eyes High strategy, one of UCalgary’s most important initiatives is the Program for Undergraduate Research Experience, better known as PURE.

Each year undergraduates can apply for the prestigious PURE Awards, which provide financial research support to some of the university’s most promising students over the Spring and Summer months.

The program is designed to give undergraduate students the opportunity to learn how to develop research projects, undertake independent research and contribute to knowledge in their respective fields.

To celebrate the PURE Award winners from the Faculty of Arts we will be running Q&A’s with a few of the recipients. Good luck to all of the Faculty of Arts PURE winners in their research pursuits!

Drew Thomas

Degree sought:
Combined degree in communications (Honours) and archaeology.

Research Topic: 
Constructing historical value in classifying Alberta’s archaeological sites

What attracted you to this particular research project?
“As a combined degree student in communications and archaeology I’ve been extremely interested in finding connections between my two areas of study. The creation of archives and discourse on the value of traditional heritage sites is an interesting point of connection. The plethora of archaeological sites and the history of archaeological digs in Alberta provided a perfect opportunity for this research”

Why is this research important?
“Archaeological sites are resources not only for tourism revenue but for our understanding of historical peoples of Alberta. The effective designation of sites based on their archaeological significance opens up a whole discussion on the creation of value for some sites but not for others in the Alberta context. This designation of value may have lasting effects on the conservation efforts afforded the various sites. That, in turn, will affect the way we view the historical record.”

What do you hope to achieve with this research?
“I hope to shine a light on our discussions surrounding the designation of archaeological value in Alberta. I’m hoping to illuminate ways in which we could improve upon the system from both a communications and an archaeological perspective.”   

What do you love most about your field of study?
“I love that I can look at two very separate schools of thought that people do not generally connect with each other and provide some useful insight in both fields.”


Here is the complete list of PURE award winners from the Faculty of Arts:

  • Ali Hassan (Psychology) “The role of zinc in neurotransmission in the olfactory bulbs)
  • Alyssa Carruthers (Urban Studies) “Temporary land use, the creative class and the local economy in Calgary”
  • Andrew Kacey Thomas (Communications Studies and Archaeology) “Constructing Historical Value: Value discourses and the classification of archaeological sites in Alberta”
  • Araleigh Cranch (Geography) “Techniques in dissolved inorganic carbon analysis for sea ice”
  • Brooks Johnston (Linguistics) “Tracking the plural in classical Nahuatl”
  • Chloe Devereux (Psychology) “Language development and internalizing problems in children”
  • Emilie Rebecca Medland-Marchen (English) “My business is cloak and dagger: The historical and contemporary development of goth subcultures in Western Canadian urban centres”
  • Ira Adam (Law and Society) “Rehabilitation and social inclusion in twentieth century Canada”
  • Kate Lee (Psychology) “Can children be taught to understand verbal sarcasm? Short and long-term effects of training”
  • Katia Milovanova (Psychology) “Towards improving interview strategies: a glimpse into the goals of current interview practices”
  • KyungHwan Woo (Psychology) “Brian asymmetry study in children with prenatal alcohol exposure”
  • Leighton Fenske (Art History) “Spatial Context: The role of space in the sculptures of three baroque artists”
  • Mischa Longman (International Relations) “Changing attitudes to Arctic security policy”
  • Rachel Huh (Communications Studies) “Peer mentorship and inquiry based learning in higher education: A qualitative study of emotive support for first-year students”
  • Sabrina Pennetta (History Honours / Italian Studies) “Every word I write is history: Memory and literary analysis of Italian postwar literature”
  • Shifa Hayat (Geography) “Mapping accessible mobility in a Calgary community”
  • Yomna Waly (Psychology) “The effect of anxiety on grit in ethnic minority and non-minority undergraduate populations”