Student and Faculty Awards

Jason DeCaro with co-recipients of an Award for Outstanding Faculty/Staff-Initiated Engagement Effort, John Lochman, Ansley Gilpin, and Qshequilla Mitchell.

Numerous students and faculty were recognized for achievements and commitment this spring. Several undergraduates mentored by Anthropology faculty were recognized at the annual Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference as follows: Mark Ortiz, Honorable Mention for Oral Presentations in the Fine Arts and Humanities division (David Meek, faculty mentor); Taylor Lawhon, 4th Place for Oral Presentations in the Social Sciences division (Ian Brown, faculty mentor); Rachel Madey, 1st Place for in Emerging Scholars Fine Arts and Humanities Division and International Focus (Kathy Oths, faculty mentor), and Sommer Hallquist and Madeline Anscombe, 2nd Place in Emerging Scholars Fine Arts and Humanities division (Ian Brown, faculty mentor).

Lynn Funkhouser accepts her award from Ian Brown.
Lynn Funkhouser accepts her award from Ian Brown.
Jessica Kowalski accepts a DeJarnette Scholarship.
Jessica Kowalski accepts a DeJarnette Scholarship.
Greg Batchelder accepts the 2015 Maxwell Scholarship from Dr. Brown.
Greg Batchelder accepts the 2015 Maxwell Scholarship from Dr. Brown.

This year’s recipients of David and Elizabeth DeJarnette Endowed Scholarships in Anthropology are doctoral candidates Lynn Funkhouser and Jessica Kowalski. Doctoral student Greg Batchelder received the Allen R. Maxwell Endowed Anthropology Scholarship. The competitions were extremely tough, as always, so these honors are indeed great. For this year, each awardees will be receiving scholarships of $8,000 each to be used toward their research.

Achsah Dorsey, who received her M.A. in Anthropology in 2014, received the University of Alabama Outstanding Research by a Master’s Student Award for her thesis “Food Insecurity, Maternal Mental Health, and Child Well-Being in NW Tanzania.” This follows receipt of the same award in the Arts & Sciences in the fall 2014.

Katelyn Moss receives undergraduate honor from Dean Olin.
Katelyn Moss receives undergraduate honor from Dean Olin.
Taylor Lawhon, Jessi Mays, and Melinda Carr receive undergraduate honors from Cameron Lacquement.
Taylor Lawhon, Jessi Mays, and Melinda Carr receive undergraduate honors from Cameron Lacquement.

This year’s Honors Day allowed three of our outstanding undergraduates to be recognized. Katelyn Moss received a Dean’s Award of Merit, while Taylor Lawhon, Jessi Mays, and Melinda Carr were acknowledged as recipients of the “Smitty” and Hughes Awards. Taylor received the C. Earl Smith Award, which is given to the graduating senior with the highest GPA in Anthropology. Jessi and Melinda were co-recipients of the Lynn Hughes Award, which is given to students in Anthropology or Economics who capture the imagination of the faculty through potential, intransigence, inventiveness, perseverance, or a combination of qualities.

The following students received funding from the Graduate School for their proposals to the Graduate Student Research and Travel Fund: Mirjam HollemanLynn FunkhouserLessye DeMossDaniel LaDuRachel BriggsLisaMarie Malischke, and Paul Eubanks.

The Research Advisory Committee (RAC) selected Jason DeCaro as the 2015 recipient of the President’s Faculty Research Award for Arts & Sciences—Social Sciences. These awards, organized by the RAC and sponsored by our President and by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, recognize select University of Alabama faculty members whose research or scholarship represents excellence in their field.

Chris Lynn receiving AS Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award from Dean Olin.
Chris Lynn receiving AS Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award from Dean Olin.
Jason DeCaro with co-recipients of an Award for Outstanding Faculty/Staff-Initiated Engagement Effort, John Lochman, Ansley Gilpin, and Qshequilla Mitchell.
Jason DeCaro with co-recipients of an Award for Outstanding Faculty/Staff-Initiated Engagement Effort, John Lochman, Ansley Gilpin, and Qshequilla Mitchell.

Dr. DeCaro and his collaborators Ansley Gilpin, Caroline Boxmeyer, and John Lochman were also recipients of the 2015 Center for Community-Based Partnerships Awards for Outstanding Faculty/Staff-Initiated Engagement Effort. In addition, David Meek and Sarah Morrow were recognized at the same event with a Community Engagement Fellowship Award.

Dr. Lisa LeCount was awarded a National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration grant for $21,412 and a College Academy for Research, Scholarship and Creativity Activity grant ($5,000). These grants were to support another season of the Actuncan Project—“Archaeological Research at Actuncan’s E-Group: Testing the Political Significance of Preclassic Lowland Maya Public Architecture.” E-groups are the earliest known public architecture on ancient Maya sites.  Multiple models have been proposed to explain their significance, the most recent of which suggests that Middle Preclassic (1000 to 400 B.C.) E-groups served as high-points on the geopolitical landscape to claim territory visible from them.  The proposed research seeks to test this model by excavating Actuncan’s E-group to discover the heights of early architectural stages and performing ArcGIS geospatial analyses (least-cost path and radial line-of-sight) to determine the territorial boundaries visible or walkable from contemporaneous E-groups within the upper Belize River valley.

Finally, Chris Lynn received the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award at the Undergraduate Honor’s Day celebration. This highly coveted award is issued each year by the Leadership Board of the College of Arts and Sciences and recognizes a single faculty member for his or her superior teaching ability and absolute dedication to students. This is a most deserving award for Dr. Lynn and a great honor for our Department.

Opportunities for Giving

Department of Anthropology promotional video

We are grateful to the many former students, colleagues, and other donors who made possible the establishment of our newest scholarship opportunity for our students, the “Jim Knight.” According to the resolution, they “contributed $13,687.36 to The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama to honor Dr. Knight and to promote the education of students in the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Alabama.” This was matched by $12,500 in Capstone Foundation funds as directed by the College of Arts and Sciences to be used for the same purpose. To ensure the continuity of this and other efforts to fund our students and programs, we humbly welcome tax-free donations toward the Knight Endowed Scholarship or any of the following initiatives:

The Allen R. Maxwell Endowed Anthropology Scholarship is awarded to support graduate student research in the areas of ethnography or linguistic anthropology. Established through a bequest from Dr. Maxwell’s estate, it is our first award specifically dedicated to ethnographic or linguistic field research.

The Anthropology Club Fund supports the activities of the Anthropology Club, which includes camping trips, workshops, and guest speakers each semester. The opportunity to participate in Club activities is critical in fostering the ethic of collegiality and professionalism so import to our Department.

The Anthropology Field School Gift Fund goes to the support of our undergraduate field schools in archaeology. Our field schools receive no budget from the University and depend heavily on these gifts for supplies and operating expenses. Our annual field schools for undergraduates date back to 1956, and, traditionally, they are among the most memorable experiences of our alumni.

The Anthropology Lectureship Fund goes to support distinguished guest speakers from outside the University. We try to have at least four guest speakers per year. These speakers greatly enrich our undergraduate and graduate programs by exposing our students to prominent ideas by the leading lights in our discipline.

The C. Earle Smith Award is given for academic excellence at the undergraduate level in anthropology. The annual award goes to the graduate senior in anthropology having the highest overall grade point average. Names of former “Smitty” Award winners are prominently displayed on a plaque in the Department.

The David and Elizabeth DeJarnette Endowed Scholarship in Anthropology is awarded to support graduate student research on Moundville or Mesoamerica-related topics. Each spring, the award is made during the popular DeJarnette BBQ, held at Moundville Archaeoligical Park on the Saturday of Honors Week. Since it was founded in 1993 by Sarah and James Caldwell, the endowment has steadily grown. In recent years, our DeJarnette Scholars have received awards of as much as $6,000.

The Evolution Education Fund (EEF) supports evolution education activities organized by and in conjunction with the University of Alabama. EEF supports evolution education broadly construed and across academic and professional disciplines. Funded activities include the Alabama Lectures on Life’s Evolution (ALLELE, http://evolution.as.ua.edu/), organized and hosted by the Evolution Working Group; Darwin Day activities hosted by the Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) minor and Club, which are housed in the Department of Anthropology (http://evolutionarystudies.as.ua.edu/); Speaking Evolution TV series and teacher resource site (http://www.speakingevolution.org/); and other evolution education-related programs and opportunities.

The Hughes Prize recognizes students who have captured the imagination of the faculty by potential, intransigence, inventiveness, perserverance, insight, or a combination of those traits.

The Panamerican Consultants, Inc. Award (formerly The Bob Work Award) is a graduate student paper competition with a monetary prize. Archaeology graduate students submit papers for review by a faculty, and the winner receives recognition at our annual Holiday party.

The Richard A. Krause Award is given for academic excellence at the graduate level in anthropology. The recipient of this annual award is chosen by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department based on classroom performance and the promise of the student’s proposed thesis or dissertation research project.

The Vernon James Knight Endowed Scholarship in Anthropology will be awarded to students enrolled in the Anthropology graduate program who are conducting research on the anthropology of art and design, with a preference for iconography projects. Secondary consideration shall be given to undergraduate majors with the same research interests.

Checks directed to any of these initiatives should be made out to the UA College of Arts and Sciences and mailed to the Department at the address below. If you would like to discuss a contribution, please contact Department Chair Ian Brown (ibrown@ua.edu) or College of Arts & Sciences Director of Development Kathy Yarbrough (kathy.yarbrough@ua.edu).

Thanks to Our Generous Supporters

A total of $32,134 was donated to the Department of Anthropology from 19 different organizations or private individuals in 2013-14. We received one donation since the last newsletter from Roberta S. Largin. We are grateful for the support. These gifts helped support faculty research ($21,000), graduate student research ($8900), or student scholarship ($2234) during this past year. In-kind donations were also made to provide books for the Anthropology Reading Room Library and benches for the ground floor in ten Hoor.

The Department distributed $12,200 in student awards and scholarships during the academic year. The majority of these funds went to two graduate student recipients of the DeJarnette Scholarship (Clay Nelson and Rachel Briggs, $5,000 each), but a number of undergraduates also benefited from scholarship aid as well (Maryanne Mobley and Meghan Steel, and Katie Moss—$500 each). The Alan Maxwell Scholarship is now an endowed fund, awarded this year to Max Stein, and will be reported upon in next year’s annual report.

We welcome contributions and have several funds to which donations can be made, including the DeJarnette, Maxwell, Smith, and Krause awards, the Anthropology Club, and the Archaeology Field School at Moundville. Please contact Teri Kirkendoll (tkirkendoll@ua.edu) for more information or to make a contribution.

Graduate Students Receive Awards

Dr. Jason DeCaro with Honors Day 2014 awardees Francois Dengah, Paul Eubanks, Clay Nelson, Erik Porth, and Rachel Briggs

We’re very proud of our students, who continue to earn numerous accolades for their efforts in advancing anthropology. In the spring 2014, there were numerous award winners.

Paul Eubanks was the winner of the 2014 Bob Work Award for Scholarly Excellence in Archaeology for a paper entitled “The Timing and Distribution of Caddo Salt Production in Northwestern Louisiana.”

Dr. Jason DeCaro with Honors Day 2014 awardees Francois Dengah, Paul Eubanks, Clay Nelson, Erik Porth, and Rachel Briggs
Dr. Jason DeCaro with Honors Day 2014 awardees Francois Dengah, Paul Eubanks, Clay Nelson, Erik Porth, and Rachel Briggs

Kareen Hawsey and Paul Eubanks were the 2014-15 co-winners of the David and Elizabeth DeJarnette Endowed Scholarship, which is awarded at the annual spring DeJarnette barbecue at Moundville Archaeological Park. David DeJarnette, a southeast archaeologist, was the first anthropologist at the University of Alabama. The DeJarnette Scholarship is awarded each year to support graduate research about Moundville or Moundville-related topics.

Adviser Bill Dressler with Best Dissertation Award winner Francois Dengah
Adviser Bill Dressler with Best Dissertation Award winner Francois Dengah

Lauren Marsh, a 2014 graduate in anthropology, won a Fulbright Award from the U.S. State Department to serve in Sichuan Province, China as an English Teaching Assistant and conduct research on the Nutrition Literacy of Infant Caregivers during 2014-2015.

Max Stein, a PhD student currently conducting fieldwork in Peru, was the 2014 winner of the Allen R. Maxwell Endowed Anthropology Scholarship. This scholarship honors the late Professor Allen Maxwell, who was a pioneer anthropology of Southeast Asia and a longtime and much admired faculty member of our department. Professor Maxwell dedicated his career to the kinds of ethnographic and linguistic research that this scholarship is designed to support.

During Honors Week (March 31 – April 4), numerous Anthropology students were recognized for excellence. A committee of faculty emeriti selected Dr. Francois Dengah for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis. Elizabeth Wix, Lessye Demoss, Luke Donohue, and Paul Eubanks were recognized as Graduate Council Fellows. Kareen Hawsey was awarded a National Alumni Association License Tag Graduate Fellow, which is given to a resident of Alabama with potential to make an outstanding contribution to the people of the state. Brass Bralley was recognized as a McNair Graduate Fellow, which are awarded to low income, first-generation college students, or members of a group traditionally underrepresented in graduate education.

Finally, the January 2014 round of the Graduate School Research and Travel Awards, which is available several times a year, was particularly tough, with 16 submissions. This is testimony to the efforts students and professors are giving to producing excellent proposals. We are delighted that all proposals submitted by the Department to the Graduate School received some funding. January 2014 awardees include doctoral students Rachel Briggs and Lynn Funkhouser and master’s students Achsah DorseyEmma Koenig, and Elizabeth Wix.