Elena Marella 




Computer: Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Raiser’s Edge

Research and writing: Applied in writing research papers & grants

Archaeological: Experience working with delicate and priceless artifacts

Communication: Demonstrated ability to communicate ideas effectively in a team in a professional work environment




De Young Museum

Education Internship for Monday School Programs                       Feb 2011 – June 2011

Greeted visiting schools and led school groups through program components

Managed in-gallery groups

Assisted the museum artists with the hands-on art project

Collaborated with fellow interns and museum staff to develop curriculum for Olmec Mondays

Taught students about archaeological process


Archaeological Collections Assistant

NAGPRA Laboratory SFSU                                                          September – June 2010

Catalogued historic and pre-historic period artifacts

Entered artifact data into database

Scanned and digitized historical photos and documents

Handled culturally sensitive materials

Acted as liaison between NAGPRA Coordinator and Anthropology Department


Field Archaeologist

Tepetate Archaeological Project      

Granada, Nicaragua                                                                                      Summer 2008

Surveyed and excavated site

Processed and catalogued pre-Columbian artifacts

Worked in conjunction with Mi Museo, a local museum

Raised awareness of local community’s cultural heritage

Worked on educational materials intended for public consumption




Anthropology BA   Concentration: Cultural 

San Francisco State University 2013

      President: Anthropology Club

Dean’s List

Community Service Learning Award 2009


Cover Letter

Dear Hiring Manager,


I am applying for the position of on-call archaeological field technician advertised on’s jobs board.  I believe I am an excellent candidate for this position because I have a love of archaeology and an eagerness to preserve our past.  I have field experience working in Nicaragua, and while I do not have 6 months of experience in the field working in California, I have 10 months of lab experience working on different sites throughout the Bay Area.  I am hard working, detail oriented, and not afraid to get my hands dirty.  I hope you will consider my application, and I look forward to the next phase in the hiring process.




Elena Marella

Critical Synthesis


The three articles chosen all agreed that an the ethnographer’s goal is to gain information for the ethnography by means of participant observation, which means the ethnographer must go into the field and become accepted by the cultural group in order to understand how the culture operates.  The Wang article, “Writing Live Fieldnotes: Towards a More Open Ethnography,” hints at this challenge while explaining her difficulties in choosing a medium for recording her notes; “Does a black moleskin look too nice for my fieldsite?… Does my notebook allow me to fit in with teens?”  The article from the Appalachian State University library site is especially clear on what ethnography is.  Each article also agrees that while interpreting the experiences from the field is important, the main focus should be how to translate these findings to the reader.  The Blowers article, from the Bethel College website, asserts that the failure to translate meaningful cultural features from its informants to its audience is a common pitfall in much ethnography written today.  This hearkens back to the Wang article where she talks about live fieldnoting, the practice of using social media to share notes with a wide audience.  She describes the value of live fieldnoting as being translative by nature “I can bring [my readers] into my fieldsite virtually and have them participate by proxy, thus making them feel like I am bringing them with me instead of showing them an end product.”  The articles are written for people who are already writing, or plan to someday write ethnographies so they can have a clear understanding of how to do so.




My Educational History

My chosen major is Anthropology.  I have always loved anthropology in one way or another; even before I knew what to call it.  As a child I loved reading books of Greek myths and watching documentaries on the History Channel.  I especially loved stories that explained how things came to be like the story or Persephone entering the underworld and how the sorrow her mother, Demeter, felt from losing her caused the seasons.  

My love of archaeology grew even further when I was 11 years old.  I was visiting my father in New York over the summer when he took me to the beach.  I have always been a beachcomber, and that day I found what I though was just a really pretty rock.  My father, however, saw something special in it.  He contacted a local archaeologist and we were invited to his house.  He looked at my “pretty rock” and concluded that it was actually an arrowhead that he dated at 2000 years old!  He gave me a copy of his book that he wrote about the local tribes and signed it for me.  I have it proudly on display at home to this day. 


As much as I love archaeology I have two passions that split my attention.  I have been a lifelong lover of theater, and have been acting from an early age.  After appearing in multiple school and local productions throughout elementary and high school, I booked my first paying job at seventeen.  I knew I wanted to go to college, and decided to major in theater.  I went to the local junior college planning on transferring to an art school and tailoring my courses to suit that goal. 


It was then that I took an art history class that changed my life.  We did a half a semester on prehistoric art that rekindled my love of archaeology.  Who were the people who created these works?  What did it mean to them?  I realized then that the appeal anthropology and acting have for me, while they seem completely at odds, are actually very similar.  I am in love with the idea of understanding how peoples environment makes them tick.  Whether I’m crafting a character from a well-written script or writing an ethnography of the homeless in the Civic Center, the core of what I’m doing remains the same.  I’m trying to understand what makes us who we are. 


After I changed my major to anthropology I transferred to San Francisco State University and quickly became the president of the Students for Critical Anthropology.   One of my professors was kind enough to recommend me to a colleague of hers who was starting an excavation in Nicaragua.  I spent my first summer after moving to San Francisco excavating a village outside of Grenada, Nicaragua and actually got to visit with my family there!  That’s right, I’m actually half Nicaraguan! 


After I returned to San Francisco I acted in more plays and got a job working in the archaeology lab at SFState.  Most of what we did is confidential, but I can say I learned a lot of cool stuff.  I didn’t pass the JPET so I wasn’t able to graduate when I planned it and wound up taking 3 years off from school to just work and try to get more acting gigs.  I supported myself by taking odd jobs and finally working in a restaurant.  The restaurant has really derailed my plans, and while I’m happy to have an easy job that pays relatively well, I found myself spending more time at the restaurant than at auditions.  I finally decided to take control of my life and enrolled in some acting classes at ACT.  Being back in the theatrical setting made me get my priorities straight and I became motivated to move to Los Angeles.  Taking English 414 is one of the loose ends I’m tying up before I say goodbye to San Francisco.


My name is Elena and I am an anthropology major about to graduate from SF State!  I’m very excited to embark on the next phase in my my life; my move to L.A. to further my acting career.  I currently live in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco and work part time in a restaurant along The Embarcadero.  My interests include cooking, dance lessons, theater, and history documentaries.  I love to read, especially old sci-fi by Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury.