When I first began considering Egyptology as a career, I looked to current Egyptologists for inspiration. Of course I imagined my days being lived out much like Evelyn O’Connell’s in The Mummy movie series—working within a fantastic museum and making amazing discoveries, all while looking camera-ready fabulous. Unfortunately, after two seconds of conversation with someone actually working in the field of Egyptology, my dreams of galavanting down the Nile with Brendan Fraser were quickly dashed.
Swallowing my tears, I began searching for a more realistic idol for my Egyptology career. I had many options to choose from among the greats of female Archaeologists/Egyptologists, Amelia Edwards, Margaret Murray, and Lady Hilda Petrie to name a few. With a more modern-day inspiration in mind, I finally uncovered the one who showed me that all of my Egyptological dreams are possible—all while looking even MORE fabulous than Evelyn O’Connell.
That being said…
( courtesy of karacooney.com)
Dr. Kara Cooney is currently an Assistant Professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture at UCLA. Among her many accomplishments rank a PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Johns Hopkins University in 2002, archaeological excavations in the craftsmen’s village of Deir el Medina, the royal temple site at Dahshur, and multiple Theban tombs, not to mention her past teaching positions at Stanford and Howard University. In 2005, she was the co-curator Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at the Los Angeles County Museum. In all honesty, I could continue to spout of Dr. Cooney’s accomplishments, but then I would sound a bit like the Eloquent Peasant. J
So, putting aside her numerous international adventures, countless publications, and extensive curating expertise, why do I have such extreme Egyptologist Envy of Dr. Kara Cooney?
Simply put, she has been able to balance the pursuit of her dreams, the demands of a busy career, and the raising of a family—a feat that deserves great praise. And along with this balancing act, she manages to look fabulous on screen (in her archaeology series Out Of Egypt, created with her husband Neil Crawford, presently airing on Planet Green and Netflix) and off screen.
So here’s to you, Kara Cooney. For allowing an aspiring Egyptologists like myself to believe that dreams of being the next Evelyn O’Connell may not be all that impossible.
Want to learn more about Dr. Cooney? Check out her website http://www.karacooney.com/ and like her page on facebook