PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — As an undergraduate at Brown University, Laurel Bestock found herself, time and time again, immersed in improbably significant research opportunities.
At age 20, she became a trench supervisor at a world-famous archaeological dig site in Petra, Jordan. She wrote up her findings, publishing them two years later in a respected peer-reviewed journal.
While not every undergraduate lands the chance to tackle such hefty roles, Bestock said, such were the possibilities in working with Martha Sharp Joukowsky. The late professor of archaeology taught at Brown for decades, thrusting her students into leadership positions and encouraging them to learn and thrive.
“[These were roles] she asked me to play, and expected that I could, and stood back and let me do it,” Bestock said of Joukowsky. “Martha didn’t make me — she gave me the incomparably greater gift of creating spaces over and over again in which I could make myself.”
Bestock, a Class of 1999 graduate and now an associate professor of archaeology, Egyptology and Assyriology at Brown, was one of several women who spoke at a Friday, Sept. 23, panel event celebrating Joukowsky’s decades of scholarly accomplishments and immense influence on a generation of female archaeologists before her death last January. Bestock spoke before hundreds of in-person and virtual guests, among them alumni, Joukowsky family members, and University students, faculty and staff.