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Preserving the past for a better future.

STCU member Lexie Dyson is an archeological conservationist for the Tahoe National Forest in California.

She preserves artifacts to learn about the past — and to piece together lessons for the future.

"I help people by preserving their own heritage," she says. It's a role that combines her loves of history, culture, art, and science.

Yet she may never have ventured to the forest — analyzing prehistoric tools and old pots and pans — if she hadn't received encouragement from her high school science teacher, Randy James. Randy founded the Institute of Science and Technology at North Central High School in Spokane.

Photo of Lexie Dyson in a classroom

Sure, the people wearing lab coats on TV always seemed to be men. Randy told Lexie that she could do science, that she was good at asking questions and making connections. Not only that, she would be a person who made a difference in the world.

"He showed me an entire side of the world," she says, "of what you can be capable of, with the right motivation and with the right questions."

Curiosity compels her. She keeps digging for clues.

Education, she says, "opens up our minds to what we can do, and what we're capable of."

“I help people by preserving their own heritage,” she says.

Photos of Lexie Dyson in the forest. Photos of Lexie Dyson in the forest. Photos of Lexie Dyson in the forest.