Burpee Alumni

Burpee Museum of Natural History is not only home to world famous dinosaurs, but also to world famous paleontologists!  Here are just a few of our success stories:

Stephen Brusatte, PhD, School of GeoSciences,  
University of Edinburh, Scotland

 Steve grew up in Northern Illinois and religiously attended PaleoFests while in high school and college and has worked with the Burpee Museum on many field and research projects. Steve has an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago, Master's from the University of Bristol, and PhD from Columbia University, where he worked under Mark Norell at the American Museum of Natural History.

Today, Steve Brusatte is on the faculty of the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He is a vertebrate paleontologist specializing on the anatomy, phylogeny, and evolution of dinosaurs and other archosaurs, particularly carnivorous theropod dinosaurs and basal archosaurs.

Steve has written over 70 peer-reviewed papers, five books (including the coffee table book Dinosaurs and the textbook Dinosaur Paleobiology), and does fieldwork in North America and Europe. Learn More on Stephen 


Mindy Householder, Head Fossil Preparator, 
Badlands National Park, SD

Mindy became an intern at Burpee in 2003, and assisted with the preparation of Jane the following year. During her 8 years at Burpee, Mindy worked on several projects including the preparation of Jane the juvenile T-Rex, Homer the Triceratops, and an unsubscribed Allogatoroid from the Hell Creek Formation of Montana.


In 2012, Mindy became the Chief Preparator at Badlands National Park. There, she built the park's first public viewing lab and designed the park's fossil preparation protocol and training program. She has worked on several significant fossils including one of the best preserved skulls of Hoplophoneus.  In 2013, Mindy began splitting her time between the South Dakota School of Mines and the Technology's Museum of Geology.


Today, Mindy is assisting with the development of a fully functional mobile fossil preparation lab for the Museum of Geology. She is also working on a very large skull of a Brontothere collected in the Chadron Formation of Badlands National Park.


Joshua C. Mathews, MS, PhD Student,
Northern Illinois University, IL

Josh Mathews began volunteering in the Burpee fossil preparation lab in the fall of 2004 and accompanied them on his first expedition the following summer. It was during this expedition that Burpee’s Triceratops, Homer, was discovered and became the focus of Josh’s Masters research at Northern Illinois University.

In January of 2010, Josh accepted the position of Chief Fossil Preparator and Research Assistant to Dr. Bill Hammer at Augustana College. As part of the Transantarctic Vertebrate Paleontology Project, he was part of an expedition to the Central Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica. There, the crew completed the excavation of the previously discovered theropod dinosaur Cryolophosaurus.

This fall, Josh will begin work toward his doctoral degree in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Illinois University. This past summer, he was part of an expedition to Madagascar where he set up Madagascar’s first fossil prep lab.


Joseph Peterson, PhD,
Assistant Professor of Geology, UW-Oshkosh, WI

Joseph began at Burpee in 1998 as a volunteer Fossil Preparator. In 2000, he was hired to assist with exhibits and fossil restoration. Additionally, Joseph was also a part of the field crew on the first official Hell Creek expedition in 2001 and assisted with the collection of Jane.

Joseph's work with Burpee continued on various field expeditions to Montana while working towards his bachelor's degree in Geology at Southern Illinois University. Utilizing the Burpee collections in his research, Joseph began graduate school at Northern Illinois University in 2005 and graduated with his Doctorate in Geology in 2010.

Today, Dr. Peterson is an Assistant Professor of Geology at the UW-Oshkosh, WI. His research interests include vertebrate paleontology and vertebrate taphonomy, focusing specifically on Late Cretaceous dinosaurs. Dr. Peterson still maintains a strong collaborative relationship with Burpee Museum, both in the field and in research endeavors. Learn More on Joseph


Katie Tremaine, BS,
Student at Museum of the Rockies/Montana State University,
Bozeman, MT

Katie started at Burpee as an intern in 2003, and was hired in 2004 to aid in the preparation of Jane, Burpee's Juvenile T-Rex. Katie has worked on many specimens for Burpee, including Hanksville-Burpee dinosaur, and the Hell Creek specimens Homer the Triceratops, Garny the Triceratops, and an Oviraptor Pearl. Katie completed her Associates of Science at Rock Valley College, transferred to Northern Illinois University, and completed her Bachelors of Science there in 2011.

Katie ended her time at Burpee in 2012 as the Chief Preparator, and moved on to become one of Dr. Jack Horner's Masters students at Museum of the Rockies/Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. Along with her studies, Katie acts as President of two student organizations and continues to work as a group leader for Burpee every summer in Utah and Montana, as well as a fossil preparator when she can. She looks forward to a continued association with the museum where she got her start.