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Anthropology Departmental Awards

Anthropology majors achieve amazing things, and one way the department supports and rewards them is through formal recognition of their accomplishments. Annually, the department presents five writing awards, one major research award, one award for visual work, and one award for service to current students. These awards—along with other student accomplishments—are celebrated at an annual student recognition ceremony in their honor.

Award Submission Information

The Awards Committee uses a blind review system for all submissions. Submissions are judged on originality (independent, novel, distinct approach), organization, clarity, theoretical sophistication, creativity (when applicable), and use of empirical data to support arguments for submission for "Best Paper" awards. Stand-alone posters do not qualify as eligible submissions. Papers or creative work must have been produced after April of the previous calendar year and meet the following guidelines:

  • Submitted directly by the student by e-mail to Erica Keener
  • Be anonymous (i.e., no direct evidence of the author's identity, the professor, or the course).
  • Show evidence of IRB approval (if applicable).
  • Include a separate page with: the author's name, email, award category, and paper/project title. The cover page title must match the title on the submission. 
  • Follow style guidelines for the AAA, APA, or SAA.
(Note: submissions may be considered in multiple award categories, but individuals are eligible for only one award per year.)

Departmental Awards

Kathy Erbaugh Senior Service Award

Funded by the Carol E. Kist Fund, the Kathy Erbaugh Senior Service Award recognizes a senior who has demonstrated outstanding service to the Department of Anthropology as an anthropology student. Faculty or Senior Staff nominations should include a letter of recommendation identifying at least three ways in which the student has demonstrated outstanding service to the department and its students over multiple semesters. 

Recent Recipients:

  • 2023: Ashley Morris Ashley’s extraordinary service to the Department includes a complete plan to overhaul the department website to bring it into compliance with new university requirements, and working as an Office Assistant for two years.
  • 2022: Emma Fanning Emma was recognized for her work with the Anthropology Club including her initiatives in creating a new partnership with the Myaamia Center, and for making anthropology more visible online.

Carl Jantzen Award for the Best Paper or Creative Work in Cultural Anthropology

Funded by the Carol E. Kist Fund and named in honor of Carl Jantzen, a cultural anthropologist who taught at Miami for over 30 years, this award recognizes a distinguished paper or creative work that uses cultural anthropology theory and/or method to examine a case study of explore a comparative topic in contemporary and/or historical perspective. 

Recent Recipients: 

  • 2023: Kathryn Sullivan “'Seeing' the Game through Language: Communication techniques to simulate reality in the primarily verbal medium of D&D" (Honorable Mention: Ashley Morris "Model United Nations: A Fictional Space - An Ethnographic Research Study”
  • 2022: Kayleigh Reimueller "The Discrimination and Enslavement of Afghan Women Under the Taliban" (Honorable Mention)

Award for Best Paper or Creative Work in Linguistic Anthropology

This award, funded by A. Robert and Nancy Tolley, recognizes a distinguished paper or creative work that uses a linguistic anthropology approach to analyze empirical data and present original findings. 

Recent Recipients:

  •  2023: Kayleigh Reimueller "Smashing Stereotypes: Gendered Performance During Super Smash Bros Play"

Award for Best Paper in Physical or Biological Anthropology

Funded by the Carol E. Kist Fund, this prize recognizes a distinguished paper that examines the biological and behavioral adaptations, variability, and evolution of human beings and non-human primate relatives. 

Recent Recipients: 

  • 2023: Nico Jaworski "Vocal Communication, Intra- and Inter-Individual Distinctiveness, and Group Decision Making in Lowland Woolly Monkeys (Lagothrix lagotricha poeppigii)" (Honorable Mention: Elisabeth Frank "Effects of age/sex on grooming behavior in a group of captive bonobos (Pan paniscus)"

Ronald and Judith Spielbauer Award: Best Paper or Creative Work in Archaeology and Material Culture

Funded by A. Robert and Nancy Tolley and founded by anthropology students to honor Ronald and Judith Spielbauer, who taught for the Department of Anthropology at Miami University for nearly 40 years. The prize recognizes a distinguished paper that analyzes past or present human societies through material culture remains. 

Recent Recipients: 

  • 2022: Izzy Hidasi "Media Review of the ‘Flower Burial’ at Shanidar Cave" (Honorable Mention)

Carol Kist Award for Best Paper or Creative Work Expressing a Holistic Approach in Anthropology

This award is funded by the Carol E. Kist Fund. The Dept. of Anthropology fosters a four-field understanding of human variation. This prize recognizes a distinguished paper that uses theoretical and/or methodological approaches from at least two subdisciplines. 

Recent Recipients: 

  • 2023: Autumn Spencer "The Japanese Butsudan and Sacred Waste"
  • 2022: Erin Lindberg, Ivan Wehner, Emma Fanning, and Lela Troyer "What's Reality? How Science and Pseudoscience Circulate Online" 

Award for the Best Visual Work in Anthropology

This award, funded by the Dept. of Anthropology, recognizes a distinguished work of visual representation (e.g., photo essay, digital collage, artistic creation). Submissions are accompanied by a ~150-word exposition of the visual work. 

Recent Recipients: 

  • 2023: Josie Adamson, Samantha Catchpole, Nico Jaworski, Mack Lotz, and Kyra Lough "How to Talk to Women: Exploring How Gendered Language is Used Against Women on Miami University’s Campus" (Honorable Mention: Shelby Ayers, Lindsay Douglass, Ashlee Greathouse, and Ashley Morris "Making Sure Healthcare Actually Cares: Discussing the Miami University Health Insurance Plan"
  • 2022: Emma Fanning and Ivan Wehner "Seven Generations Forward" (Honorable Mention: Andrew Kolb and Cash Perry "Can't You See Ms. Brie?")

Rebecca Jeanne Andrew Memorial Award

Rebecca Jeanne Andrew (April 14, 1975 - November 18, 1995) dreamed of being a primatologist. At Miami, Rebecca majored in anthropology and began studying with primatologist Dr. Linda Marchant. During her junior year, while studying abroad in Luxembourg, Rebecca and another Miami student, Christopher Eggerton, tragically died in a skiing accident.

Rebecca never completed her dream of becoming a primatologist. Yet every April, her parents, Melanie and Jeff Andrew, return to Miami to celebrate their daughter’s birthday by honoring her legacy through the Rebecca Jeanne Andrew Memorial Award. This award enables the dreams of other young people who want to study primates.

Each year, we ask for research proposals from Miami undergraduates who want to do projects that are primatological in the broadest sense — they can study fossil primates, explore the human fossil record, work with skeletal collections, or study primates who live in captivity or in the wild. These proposals are reviewed by three faculty members: Dr. Linda Marchant, Dr. Susan Hoffman, and a rotating faculty member.

The Rebecca Jeanne Andrew Memorial Award is a prestigious research award funding a student’s independent research project, and in many cases, helping to launch careers in primatology. To date, 50 Miami students have received a Rebecca Jeanne Andrew Memorial Award which has helped students to study primates in England, Ecuador, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda, Madagascar, Thailand, Nepal, Costa Rica, and multiple sites here in the U.S.