Who We Are

Staff

Stephen Humphreys

Stephen Humphreys, BA, MTh, MA, PhD, RPA

CEO

stephenhumphreys.avar@gmail.com

Stephen Humphreys was commissioned in the US Air Force following his completion of a BA in History at the University of North Texas. He served as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer, deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Following an assignment as Assistant Professor of Aerospace Studies at Texas A&M University, he separated in order to attend a seminary program with the intent of returning to military service as a chaplain. A trip to a dig at Tel Gezer, Israel convinced him to become an archaeologist instead.

Stephen holds a Ph.D. in archaeology from Durham University as well as an MA in Archaeology and Biblical Studies and an MA in Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His academic areas of interest are charity in the Early Christian era, and health and wellness in antiquity. His doctoral thesis was on the development of ‘Holy Water’ in the Christian church between the 4th and 7th centuries (spoiler: it was for demon-killin’). He is a National Geographic Explorer and a dedicated field archaeologist with dig experience in Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, the United Kingdom, Sicily, and the USA.

Mackenze Burkhart

Mackenze Burkhart, BA, RA

Operations Manager

mackenzeburkhart.avar@gmail.com

Mackenze Burkhart has a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, and completed her field school in bioarchaeology in Tuscany, Italy, through the Ohio State University and the University of Pisa. Her time studying bioarchaeology instilled in her an interest in the evolution of public health and communities and led her to seek a career in small-scale agriculture. Having spent five years as a farmer and food-access advocate before returning to the field of archaeology, Mackenze brings administrative experience in the non-profit sector, a strong background in manual labor management, and a passion for exceptional project execution.

In support of her position as Operations Manager, Mackenze has completed several certificates, including Working with Veterans and Their Families, Advanced Metal Detection, and the DPAA Academy Partner Orientation. She has a current Mental Health First Aid certification and is a Wilderness First Responder. As of November 2022, she has assisted in executing eight AVAR projects, four of which were international.

Alexis Duggan

Alexis Duggan, BA, MS, CRC, LPC-A

Mental Health Clinician

Alexis Duggan has a BA in Special Education from the University of North Florida and an M.S. in Counselor Education from Florida International University. Her love for individuals with disabilities started as a Special Education teacher where she served students with varying disabilities for five years. In 2019 she transitioned into Vocational Rehabilitation where she worked to assist adults and adolescents with disabilities gain independent living resources, reach their career aspirations, and increase their overall mental health. As a current Licensed Professional Counselor Associate under supervision Alexis has gained a new love for veterans and archaeology and has completed two digs in Italy and San Antonio.

Alexis’s areas of expertise within mental health are disability, societal barriers in light of a disability, self-advocacy, mindfulness, and educational concerns. Alexis is a current Student Disability Services Director at Texas A&M University Commerce where she is also working on her doctoral degree in higher education. As a current Student Disability Services Director, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), and a Licensed Professional Counselor associate under supervision (LPC-Associate) Alexis looks forward to collaborating with you!

 

Kyle O’Connor

Kyle O’Connor, BA, MBA, MS

Crew Support Supervisor

Kyle A. O’Connor was a non-commissioned officer in the US Army. He served as a tanker and as an MP gunner while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and later as a human resources sergeant. Kyle graduated with a BA from St. Cloud State University, double majoring in Anthropology and Political Science with an emphasis in Archaeology. Additionally, he completed his field school in archaeology through St. Cloud State University in 2006.

While in the military, Kyle completed an MBA in Human Resources Management to coincide with his HR sergeant role. After being medically retired in 2016, he obtained a second Master’s degree in Exercise Science with an emphasis in Wellness Coaching. Post-military, Kyle has engaged with the veteran community by serving as a board member for a veteran homelessness prevention nonprofit and is involved with his local VSO chapters. Through AVAR, Kyle has combined his passions for archeology and serving the veteran community. His recent dig experience consists of sites in New York, Texas, and Italy.

Technical Advisory Committee

American Veterans Archaeological Recovery is uniquely capable of carrying out world-class fieldwork projects that benefit our veterans due to the expertise of our Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).  Composed of field-leading specialists in battlefield (conflict) archaeology and excavation, public outreach, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and field safety, these individuals provide the training and guidance that allow AVAR to balance the needs of a range of archaeological missions with the wellness and development needs of our veterans.

Dr. Jaimee Hegge

Dr. Jaimee Hegge has practiced as an occupational therapist since 2012 and has been a Clinical Assistant Professor at Sacred Heart University since 2018. Dr. Hegge teaches and coordinates the adult and geriatric physical rehabilitation curriculum in the Graduate Occupational Therapy (OT) Program. She received her Master of Science in OT degree from Sacred Heart University and her Post-Professional Doctoral degree from St. Catherine University.

Dr. Hegge’s area of clinical expertise is in adult and geriatric physical rehabilitation, with a focus on orthopedic injuries, cumulative trauma disorders, and pelvic floor dysfunction. She is also a Certified Kinesio Tape Practitioner. Dr. Hegge has been working with AVAR and supervising OT students’ clinical fieldwork with AVAR since 2019.


Dr. Lola Halperin

Dr. Lola Halperin has practiced as a mental health occupational therapist since 1995 and has been teaching/coordinating the mental health curriculum in the Graduate Occupational Therapy (OT) Program at Sacred Heart University (SHU) since 2010.

She has a Bachelor in OT degree from Tel Aviv University, a Post-Professional Master’s degree from New York University and a Doctor of Education degree from Columbia University.
Throughout her career, she has worked with clients experiencing mental health issues and other forms of adversity in inpatient and outpatient psychiatric facilities as well as community-based settings in Israel, Canada, and United States.

Dr. Halperin has participated in American Veterans Archaeological Recovery (AVAR) digs in Albany and Saratoga (NY) and Beit Shearim in Israel. In collaboration with her colleague, Dr. Jaimee Hegge, she has been also supervising SHU OT students’ clinical fieldwork with AVAR.


Joel Bohy

Joel is the Director of Historic Arms & Militaria for Bruneau & Co Auctioneers and an appraiser on PBS’ Antiques Roadshow for Arms & Militaria. He is an active member of the American Society of Arms Collectors and an instructor and board member for Advanced Metal Detecting for the Archeologist.

His passion for material culture and the history of the start of the American Revolution has led him to write and lecture with the Society for Historical Archaeology, the Fields of Conflict archaeology conference, Colonial Williamsburg’s “Weapons of War” conference, the Concord Museum, and Minuteman National Historical Park.


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