Hello! My name is Anna Whitaker, and I’m a master’s student in Museum Studies at the University of Kansas. My focus is on collections management and curation, as my career goal is to become a curator. I’m pursuing my paleontology research through an affiliation with the Biodiversity Institute. 

I am supplementing my coursework with museum experience acting as the Vertebrate Paleontology collections assistant in the KU Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum. Working in this historic museum is such a thrill, and everyday there are new learning opportunities. 

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My current research is on the preservation pathways of Cambrian Burgess Shale-type (BST) deposits. I am focusing on the Spence Shale, a member of the Langston formation, which outcrops in Utah and Idaho. The Spence Shale has a wide range of depositional environments and geographic range, making it perfect to study the influence of environmental variables on soft-bodied preservation. Stay tuned!


Previously, I worked in the Ordovician Reedsville Formation of central Pennsylvania, which has spectacular preservation of unique fauna such as ophiuroids. During my time at Penn State, I worked in the Stratigraphic Paleoecology Lab under Dr. Mark Patzkowsky and Dr. Max Christie. I participated in diverse research projects, from studying Pliocene biogeographic boundaries to reconstructing Eocene ecosystems in South America. These projects led to interactions with museum collections, and I discovered my passion for