Mary Oliver discovered anthropology as an undecided Wright State University student looking to fulfill curriculum requirements with some interesting electives. The courses proved so captivating that she went on to study archaeology and physical anthropology, and was awarded a B.A. in Anthropology with a History minor in 1995. Mary went on to receive an M.A. in Public History, also from Wright State University, in 1998. While a student in the anthropology department, Mary participated in the summer field school in archaeology, first as a student in 1994 and 1995, and then as a supervisor in 1996 and 1997. Mary also worked as a contractor for various local archaeological excavations.
Following her graduation, Mary was hired by the Montgomery County Historical Society as Curator of Collections. Presently, she is the director of collections for Dayton History, where she supervises the curatorial staff and oversees a collection of more than three million artifacts of local and national significance, including the Wright Flyer III, the world's first practical airplane. Despite a full schedule, Mary also currently serves on the board of the Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums and the Springfield (Ohio) Historic Landmarks Commission. Mary lives in Springfield with her husband, Brian, a fellow WSU graduate (B.A., Sociology, 1993), and their daughter, Sarah.