The Patricia O'Brien Award is given to the best undergraduate anthropology paper. Senior capstone projects, honors theses, course research papers, fieldwork analyses, and independent projects are all acceptable entries. The papers must be cleanly typed, and the format should be as appropriate for professional journals such as American Anthropologist, American Antiquity, or American Journal of Physical Anthropology. The papers will be judged on the basis of excellence as demonstrated by clear focus, development of ideas, synthesis of literature covered, writing style, originality, and contribution to the field.
Eligibility: This award is open to all undergraduate anthropology majors and minors.
Award Amount: $500
Applications due by March 23rd
MORE INFORMATION: The Patricia O'Brien Award
The Patricia O'Brien Award will be presented this spring to the student who submits a superior undergraduate anthropology paper. Any undergraduate anthropology major or minor may enter. The award this year includes a prize of $500 to the winner.
The papers will be judged on the basis of excellence as demonstrated by clear focus, development of ideas, synthesis of literature covered, writing style, originality, and contribution to the field. Papers will be judged by the O'Brien Committee made up of representatives of the four sub-disciplines. At the committee's discretion, an outside reviewer may be asked to assist in the evaluation of a particular entry.
Papers must be submitted no later than 3:00 pm Tuesday, March 10th, 2020. Papers must be submitted electronically to Karla Harmon at firstname.lastname@example.org. The papers must be cleanly typed, and the format should be as appropriate for professional journals such as American Anthropologist, American Antiquity, or American Journal of Physical Anthropology. The paper must be anthropological in subject matter and approach. Senior honor theses, course research papers, fieldwork analyses, and independent projects are all acceptable entries. The paper must have been written or substantially developed while the student has been at the University of Illinois.
The award will be presented to the winner at the Anthropology Spring Banquet. The O'Brien Award Committee will announce the winner to the department just prior to this event. The department will display the winner's name on the Patricia O'Brien Award plaque in Room 110 Davenport Hall. The recipient will also receive a formal letter of acknowledgment from the head of the Department. If you have any questions regarding the competition, do not hesitate to contact Professor Ripan Malhi (email@example.com).
We wish you the best of success if you decide to submit a paper for the competition and strongly encourage you to do so.
Note: Dr. Ripan Malhi, Director of Undergraduate Studies
History: Patricia J. O'Brien
Patricia J. O’Brien was born on April 1, 1935, in Chicago, Illinois to John P. O’Brien and Edna M. Massow. She attended Nicholas Senn High School, graduating in 1953, and then worked at the Illinois Bell Telephone Company as a plant engineering clerk from 1953 to 1960. Concurrently, Pat attended Wright Junior College and graduated in 1960 with an associate’s degree in art. She then attended the University of Illinois, graduating with a bachelor’s of art in anthropology in 1962 and a Ph.D. in the same subject in 1969. Her dissertation was, “A Formal Analysis of Cahokia Ceramics: Powell Tract”. O’Brien was an interim anthropology instructor at Florida Atlantic University in 1966-1967, and became an assistant professor of archeology and sociology at Kansas State University (KSU) in September 1967. O’Brien worked at KSU for 31 years, retiring as a professor emerita in 1998. She has published seven books and over forty articles, and has presented regularly while at KSU. She has been involved professionally, including in the American Anthropological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Sigma Xi. In 1989-1990, O’Brien was an Honor Lecturer at the Mid-American State Universities Association, and the following year she received the Conoco Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award and Sigma Xi deemed her a Distinguished Research Lecturer. She was a Fulbright Senior Lecturer in 1994-1995 at Würzburg, Germany, and was a guest professor in 1996 at Munich, Germany. In 2009, the Plains Anthropological Society recognized her lifetime achievement of Plains-related research, teaching, scholarship, and service by awarding O'Brien with the Distinguished Service Award.
Note Author: Amy Wedel