Laura White

Instructional Associate Professor
Scientific Diving Safety Officer
Department of Liberal Studies

Laura White

Phone: +1 (409) 740.4067
Fax: +1 (409) 740.4074

Ocean and Coastal Studies Bldg. (OCSB), Office 102


Learn more about Laura White

Get To Know Laura White

What in your life drew you to your current field of study?

I'm fascinated by the idea of the unknown as it pertains to historic's not something we're very comfortable with nowadays when we're accustomed to be able to access up-to-date electronic information about our location at all times, but the idea that ancient and historic seafarers often set off with only the haziest idea what they'd experience along the way is riveting to me.

Of course, there's also the thrill of discovery...that moment when you brush the sand away from an artifact that has been hidden for centuries. There is something incredible about realizing that you're the first person to see and touch something in centuries, or even millennia. I'm privileged enough to have been able to travel all over the world having these experiences... I feel like I have homes and best friends in countries around the globe!

What do you hope your students gain from studying or working with you?

An important part of my job is to make sure that diving students and researchers are safe, compliant with our partner organizations and agencies, and confident in their dive plans and abilities.

More than that, I like to bring students together from wide varieties of disciplines to see what they can contribute each other. I’m quite selfish here….of course my passion is in underwater archaeology, and underwater archaeology is just now beginning to be conducted holistically, in ways that not only result in high-quality archaeological data, but that also contribute to the community and environmental health of the local area once the excavation is complete. I really love working with students who come from a wide variety of disciplines, but who have a shared passion for the sea, to build on this theme.

I hope that my experiences help students to see the benefits of developing a wide variety of skills in an ever-changing environment. I think that archaeologists, like many field scientists, are jacks-of-all-trades. They draw on a smattering of biology, chemistry, physics, oceanography, geology, geography, history, anthropology, culture, history of technology, languages, and sometimes, art and design, and more.

When you are on an excavation, your tasks underwater may be different every day. Some days, you excavate using airlifts or dredges. Some days you recover delicate (or heavy and unwieldy!) one-of-a-kind artifacts, which can be an incredible challenge! Others you record data, or take measurements, or act as a safety diver, or make sketches, or (unglamorously) work on fouled anchors or moorings! On other days you might take video, or set datums, or you might not dive at all, and instead spend your day wrestling with pumps, compressors, and air lifts or driving boats. It’s SO important for students in ALL disciplines to have mastery of a wide variety of underwater and deckside skills, so that they can be confident, competent, and contributing members of a research team.

What are you passionate about in your personal life?

In my free time I love traditional relief printmaking, spending time with family or friends in or on the water, scavenging craigslist for vintage and antique furniture, fiber arts, DIY projects on my old house, and horror films!

Ph.D. Anthropology (Nautical Archaeology), Texas A&M University, 2023
Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford, 2010
B.S. Marine Sciences (Minor Chemistry), Texas A&M University at Galveston, 2008
B.S. Maritime Studies (Minor Anthropology), Texas A&M University at Galveston, 2008
Courses Taught
ANTH 225:  Physical Anthropology
DIVE 331: Alternative Diving Technologies
DIVE 357:
  Dive Leadership: Divemaster
KINE 199:  AAUS Diving to Advanced Depths
MAST 256:  Elissa Sail Training/Historic Seamanship
MAST 489:  AAUS Scientific Diving