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:

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, Chief Fossil Preparator and Research Assistant, Fryxell Geology Museum at Augustana College, 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