This page was last updated February 2024. 

Department Undergraduate Awards

Honors Research Proposal (Thesis Writing)

Year and Recepient

1996                Kathy Altom

1997                Erin Gingrich

1998                Jeanie Bianchi

1998                Carrie Donovan

1999                Chris DiTomo

1999                Michael Powell

1999                Sarah Scheiderich

2001                Katheryn Barnes

2001                Claire Dappert

2001                Sarah Erekson

2001                Rachel Balabuscko

2001                Brian Starmach

2001                Sara Zamor

2001                Michael Litchford

2001                Mireya Loza

2002                Tamira Brennan

2002                Joseph Bruce

2002                Heather Foran

2002                Michael Litchford

2002                Meghan Moran

2002                Lauren Szczensky-Pumarada


Patricia O'Brien Award

This award is presented to the student who submits a superior undergraduate anthropology paper. Any undergraduate anthropology major or minor may enter. Undergrad students are notified to submit papers during the spring semester award season.

Papers will be judged based on excellence as demonstrated by problem focus, development of ideas, literature covered, writing style, originality, and contribution to the field. Papers are chosen by the Department Awards Committee consisting of faculty members from all field subdisciplines. At the committee's discretion, an outside reviewer may be asked to assist in the evaluation of a particular entry. Oral evaluation of the candidates to determine the winner is optional and at the discretion of the committee.

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, not to exceed 35 pages.

History: Patricia J. O'Brien. Written by Amy Wedel

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.

Year and Recepient

1985                Jolee West

1986                Becky Gordon

1989                Kathy To

1990                Laura M. Oaks

1991                Richard R. Lawler

1992                Paul Blomgren

1993                Leahanne Sarla

1994                Charles W. Golden/ Tally M. Moskovits (co-recipients)

1995                Oscar Newman / Elizabeth Garibay (co-recipients)

1996                Michael Cepek

1997                Kevin Karpiak and Megan Casey

1998                Kevin Karpiak

1999                Chris DiTomo

2000                Nicholas Watkins

2002                Tamira Brennan

2003                Nichole Ortegon

2004                Danielle Schumacher

2005                Susanne Garrett

2006                Toni Sadler

2008                Annelise Morris

2009                Robert Mackin

2010                Susan Wachowski

2011                Rachel Zibrat/ Audrey Gallien (co-recipients)

2012                Danielle Cunningham

2013                Anna Lowe

2014                Taylor Thorton

2015                Paige Jamieson

2016                Ciara Reilly/Amirah Nasir (co recipients)

2017                Alia Kirsch & America Guerra

2018                Julia Carter

2019                Caroline Caton

2020                Harold Adams and Priya Bhatt

2021                Celeste Courtney

2023                Lisa Chasanov

Charles J. Bareis Award - Illinois Archaeology

This award is given for outstanding accomplishments and achievements in North American Archaeology. Priority is given to undergraduate students working on questions, materials, and sites that relate to the archaeology of Illinois to support undergraduate research and career development. Undergrad students are notified to submit papers during the spring semester award season.

Applications must include a CV for the nominee and a 1–2-page faculty letter of support describing the significance of the research for the student's intellectual development as well as for the understanding of North American archaeology in general, and Illinois archaeology in particular.

This award is chosen by the Anthropology Department Awards Committee.

Year and Recepient

2002                Michael Litchford

2003                Susan Alt

2005                Philip Millhouse

2006                Dan Marovitch

2007                Liz Watts

2011                Kelsey Anderson/ Melissa Baltus  (co-recipients)

2012                Leslie Drane

2013                Jamie Cater

2014                Mechell Frazier

2016                Mikayla Eastman

2018                Brandon Nakashima

2023                Rachelle Burdette

Liebman Engaged Anthropology Internship, Field School, and Research Award

Graciously endowed by alumnus Paul Liebman, this fund supports undergraduate internships, research, and field school experience in anthropology.


  • This award is open to all undergraduate anthropology majors, minors, and CS+ Anth. Preference will be given to first-time applicants in good academic standing.

Award Amount: 

  • Up to $2500

Priority Deadlines 

January 19th, annually: Liebman Award for spring funding (For students based on senior capstone projects, and possibly juniors working on an applied anthropology project in conjunction with a faculty member.)

March 1st and April 1st , and on a rolling basis, up to May 15 based on fund availability: Liebman Award for summer funding


Application Forms

Recommended Field Schools


Sample Budgets

If you have any questions, please contact (Liebman email) or Dr. Petra Jelinek at


Liebman Awardees Blog Posts




Department Graduate Awards

Nancy Abelmann Scholarship

This award is for an Anthropology graduate student from any subdiscipline conducting preliminary field research in the development of their dissertation project. This award is shared with the East Asian Languages & Cultures Department, and is therefore given every other year.

This award is chosen by the Department Head and Financial Aid Committee during the spring semester award season.

Year and Recepient

2018                Lila Dodge

2022                Bryana Rivera



Doris A. Derby Scholarship

This award is to support students enrolled in the Department of Anthropology who are pursuing research related to the presence, history, culture, and /or status of African or African American communities.

It is chosen by the Department Head and Financial Aid Committee during the spring semester award season.

Year and Recepient

2022    Lila Dodge

Forest N. Baker Award in American Archaeology

This award is for an archaeology graduate student with research projects in American Archaeology. This award is made possible by a generous bequest from the late Forest N. Baker of Genesco, IL, who held a long-term interest in Illinois Archaeology. Graduate students will be notified to submit paper/proposal during the spring semester award season.

Funding will be awarded based on competitive evaluation of the intellectual merit and broader impacts of proposals for research in American Archaeology.

Proposals should be in the form of concise papers of no more than 5 pages, single-spaced in length; references, tables and figures are not included in the page limit; and a budget listing is not required. This award is chosen by the Financial Aid Committee.

Year and Recepient

2014                Jamie Arjona

2016                Tatiana Niculescu

2017                Rebecca Schumann

2018                Jamie Arjona

2019                Aimee Carbaugh, Adam Sutherland

2020                Caitlyn Antoniuk

2021                Emma Verstraete

Joseph B. Casagrande Award – Ethnography

This award is in conjunction with the Summer Research Assistance Awards. It is given to the best paper/proposal for a graduate student conducting field work in Socio-cultural Anthropology. Graduate students are notified to submit summer funding proposals during the spring semester award season.

This award is chosen by the Financial Aid Committee.

Year and Recepient

1986                Elizabeth Hurley

1989                Deborah A. Bakken

1989                Richard S. Howard

1990                Keith Dipboye

1991                Rosa DeJorio

1993                Gina Hunter de Bessa

1994                Maria Tapias

1995                Soo Jung Lee

1996                Sarah Phillips

1996                James Gilmore

1998                Angelina Cotler

1999                Derek Pardue

2000                So Jin Park

2001                Bjorn Westgard

2002                Jennifer Shoaff (co-recipient)

2002                Junjie Chen (co-recipient)

2003                Brian Montes

2004                Daniel Gutierrez

2005                Allison Goebel

2006                Isabel Scarborough

2007                Katie O’Brien

2009                Jennifer Baldwin

2010                Wendy Finley

2011                Melinda Bernardo/ Kyou ho Lee (co-recipients)

2012                Alex Jong Seok Lee

2013                Emily Metzner

2014                Agnes Sohn / Ezgi Guner (co-recipients)

2015                Jonghyun Park

2016                Benjamin Krupp

2017                Dilara Caliskan

2018                Bea Maldonado & Ofira Fuchs

2019                Dilara Caliskan, Lila Dodge, Chibundo Egwuatu

2022                Michelle Patino and Grazzia Grimaldi

2023                Margie Giacalone, Grazzia Grimaldi Calderon, Michelle Patino and Tamara Pavlovic

Edward M. Bruner Award

This is a faculty nominated award given to a graduate student for academic excellence and promise in Anthropology. This award was started by the Edward M. Bruner family upon the retirement of Ed. Graduate students will be notified to submit papers during the spring semester award season.  

This award is chosen by the Anthropology Department Awards Committee.

Year and Recepient

1995                C. Richard King

1996                Mary Greenpool

1997                Walter Little

1998                Lamisa Bangali

1999                Moeslim Abdurrahman

2000                Angelina Cotler

2001                So Jin Park

2002                Robin Bernstein

2003                Noriko Muraki

2004                Martin Kowalewski

2005                Andrew Asher(co-recipient)

2006                Junjie Chen (co-recipient)

2007                Melissa Baltus

2008                Tomi Castle

2009                Jason Ritchie

2010                Scott Williams

2011                Michele Hanks

2012                Nicoletta Righini

2013                Sophia Balakian

2014                Dohye Kim

2015                Sophia Balakia

2016                Paul Michael Atienza

2017                Matthew Go

2018                Jamie Arjona

2019                Zev Cossin

2020                Jamie Arjona

2021                Nicole Cox

2022               Tatiana Niculescu

2023               Grazzia Grimaldi Calderon

Charles & Janet Keller Fellowship

Established by Charles and Janet Keller. Preference shall be given to graduate students working on critical approaches to material culture within the unit. This fellowship may be used for ABD graduate students writing fellowships. Graduate students are notified to submit applications during the fall semester.

This award is chosen by the Department Head and Financial aid Committee.

Year and Recepient

2018                Rebecca Schumann

2021                Benjamin Krupp & Negin Valizadegan

2022               Alana Ackerman, Aimee Carbaugh and Yue Liao

2023               Breanna Escamilla and Michelle Farley


George L. Beslow Graduate Paper Award

This award is in conjunction with the Graduate Students 2nd year reports. The award is shared with the Sociology Department, therefore is given every other year.  It provides a stipend for one semester free of TA/RA duties. Graduate students will be notified to submit 2nd year reports during the spring semester award season.

This award is chosen by the Financial Aid Committee.

Year and Recepient

1992-93           Robert Connolly

1994-95           Lauren Sieg

1996-97           Gina Hunter de Bessa

1997-98           Rachel Corr

1999-00           Jennifer Rehg

2002-03           Derek Pardue

2004-05           Bjorn Westgard

2006-07           Akiko Takeyama

2008-09           Melissa Raguet

2009-2010       Sociology

2010-2011       John Cho

2011-2012       Sociology

2012-2013       Anthropology  Liz Mallott

2014-15           Paul Michael Atienza

2015-16           Sociology

2016-17           David Arstizabal

2017-18           Sociology

2018-19           Use it Fall 2019 give out in spring 2019

2019-20           Sociology

2020-21           Meredith Wilson

2021-22           Sociology

2022-23           Michelle Patino

2023-24           Sociology

Demitri B. Shimkin Award

Established by Patricia O’Brien in honor and memory of Demitri B. Shimkin. The award is for the most outstanding research paper written by an Anthropology graduate student.  Grad students are notified to submit papers during the spring semester award season.

Papers will be evaluated in terms of their problem orientation, logical development, research breadth, originality, and contribution to the field and should follow American Anthropologist, American Antiquity, or American Journal of Physical Anthropology style guidelines.  It must be anthropological in subject matter and approach.   

Research papers, fieldwork analyses, independent projects, and Master papers are all acceptable entries.  The paper's text must have been written or substantially developed while the student has been at the University of Illinois, and must not exceed 35 pages (12pt. double-spaced) in length, including texts, notes, and references (but excluding tables, graphs, and illustrations).  Multi-authored papers must be accompanied by a statement of contributions made to the study by each author. In multi-authored papers, the student author must have written the paper.  Published papers will not be accepted. However, papers currently under review for publication will be considered.

This award is chosen by the Anthropology Department Awards Committee.

Year and Recepient

1997                Paul Park

1998                ShanShan Du

1998                Lewis Thomas

1999                Marsha Brofka

2000                Maria Tapias

2001                Angela Shand

2002                Jesook Song

2003                Michelle Wibbelsman

2004                Robin Bernstein

2005                Andrew Asher

2006                William Hope

2007                Norika Muraki

2008                Alyssa Garcia

2009                Jason Ritchie

2010                John Cho

2010                Scott Williams

2012                Mark Grabowski

2013                Sophia Balakian

2014                Jonghyun Park

2015                Jamie Arjona

2016                Liz Mallott

2017                Jamie Arjona

2018                Mary Rogers and Mike Atienza

2019                Allie Zachwieja Emma Verstraete

2019                Honorable Mentions Yue Liao, Ezgi Guner, Amanda Lee

2020                Ben Krupp

2021                An-di-Yim and Jeongsu Shin (Co-Winners)

2021                Honorable Mentions Caitlyn Antoniuk and Dilara Caliskan

2022                Negin Valizadegan and Jeongsu Shin

2023                Austin Hoffman


Graduate Department Conference Travel Award

Once per academic year, registered grad students are eligible for department conference funds, in the form of reimbursement. Students will receive up to $250 for those presenting papers or posters, while those not presenting are eligible for $75.

  1. All applicants must complete the Anthropology “Online Travel Authorization and Information Form” found at Please answer question #10 “N/A”
  2. Each student presenting a paper/poster must provide an abstract of the paper or poster, and a brief description (1 paragraph) of how it relates to the dissertation or other research.
  3. Students not presenting, must provide an outline of key symposia they plan to attend, and briefly mention how these symposia are expected to inform their graduate research.
  4. Students must be registered for current semester.
  5. These forms must be submitted to the Anthropology Graduate Program Coordinator, Joyce Dowell at, prior to travel in order for students to qualify for funds. Reimbursement will be provided to qualified students for costs (up to the amounts specified) upon presentation of receipts to Joyce after the meetings.

Anthropology Department Summer Research Awards

This program provides modest grants to PhD grad students for summer research. Priority will be given to students in any sub-field in the early years of their doctoral training. Past recipients are eligible to apply again, however funding priority is given to students who have not previously received a summer research award.

Applications are submitted to the Anth grad contact, by the department deadline, so materials can be compiled for the selection process. Applications consist of a proposal, budget and letter of support from an advisor. Be sure to refer to email during spring semester award season for complete details.



Proposals should be written in a professional manner and submitted with a completed cover sheet. The proposed project must be directly related to your progress-toward-degree, cost-effective, and one that can be completed in the summer interval.

The proposal should be no more than 1500 words (for steps 1 through 4) and contain the following information:

  1. A brief abstract of 150 words or less
  2. Statement of the research problem
  3. Statement of the proposed research, including working hypotheses and research methodology constructed against a background of research in the discipline.
  4. Significance of the research:
    1. (a) theoretical,
    2. (b) potential applied relevance (if applicable)
    3. (c) personal import (i.e., dissertation, career)
  5. References cited
  6. Research schedule (overall dates) and plan of activities
  7. Budget
  8. Human subjects form, animal research approval form, or artifact disposition statement (or evidence of its submission for approval), if applicable.


In order to provide the maximum number of summer research opportunities from the department’s limited summer funds, in most instances only basic assistance can be provided. We urge applicants to seek supplementary sources of funding and indicate personal or other investment in the project. Budgets must be realistic, modest, and cost-effective and should include: a) the total project budget and b) the amount of the partial assistance that you are requesting from the department.

Teaching and Service

Illinois Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in Anthropology (as of '96 Luckman Award)

Year and Recepient

1986-87           David Grove (Dept. &  Prokasy)

1986-87           Paul Garber

1987-88           Edward M. Bruner

1988-89           David Grove

1990                Linda Klepinger (Dept. & LAS)

1991                David Grove (Dept. & UIUC Campus/Luckman)

1992                Paul Garber

1993                David Grove

1994                David Grove

1995                David Grove / Enrique Mayer (co-recipients


LUCKMAN (Faculty)

1996                Helaine Silverman(nominee)


CAMPUS AWARD (Faculty) (previously luckman)

1997                Susan Gillespie and Steve Leigh

1998                Paul Garber and Linda Klepinger

1999                Steve Leigh and Helaine Silverman

2000                Linda Klepinger

2001                Dave Grove

2001                Steve Leigh


LUCKMAN (Student)

1996                Eric Hollinger(nominee)


CAMPUS AWARD (Student) (previously luckman)

1997                Lauren Sieg

1998                Lauren Sieg

1999                Stephanie House

2000                Angelina Cotler & Paul Park

2001                Missy Loyet

Anthropology Dinstinguished Service Award

Year and Recepient

1997                Thomas Emerson

1997                Paul Kreisa and Kevin McGowan

1997                Eric Hollinger and Carol Yokell

1998                Karla Harmon and Ronda Rigdon

1999                Nancy Abelmann, Susan Gillespie and Barry Lewis

2000                Nora McKinley, Sec. III, Academic Human Resources

2001                Susan Gillespie, Bill Kelleher, and Tim Pauketat

2002                Bill Kelleher

2003                Steve Leigh

2004                Andrew Orta

2005                Alma Gottlieb

2008                Janet Keller

2009                Brenda Farnell

2010                Kate Clancy

2011                Karla Harmon

2012                Paul Garber

2013                Fennell/Gottlieb

2016                Farnell/Moodie

2017                Susan Frankenberg

2019                Jessica Greenberg

2020                Laura Shackelford

2022                Ripan Malhi

Graduate College Outstanding Mentor Award

Year and Recepient

2000-01           Alma Gottlieb (fellowship for 2001-02 given to Junje Chen)

Campus Awards

Provost Campus Awards and Honors

The Office of the Provost administers and helps support several awards for faculty and graduate students. 

Provost Campus Awards and Honors



Campus Conference Travel Support

The following are supported by University of Illinois entities.

Campus Conference Travel Support

Graduate College Dissertation Travel Grants

This award is awarded by the Illinois Graduate College, further information can be found here

  • Fall 2018 – Ben Krupp & An-Di Yim
  • Spring 2019 – Claire Branigan
  • FA 2019 – Aimee Carbaugh & Bea Maldonado
  • SP 2020 – Grazzia Grimaldi & Alana Ackerman
  • FA 2020 – Yue Liao
  • FA 2021 – Nicole Cox
  • SP 2022 – Michelle Farley
  • FA 2022 – Austin Hoffman
  • SP 2023 – Urooba Fatima & Caitlyn Antoniuk
  • FA 2023 – Michelle Patino

Graduate College Dissertation Completion Fellowship

This award is awarded by the Illinois Graduate College, further information can be found here.

  • SP 2020 – Paul Michael Atienza
  • SP 2022 – Meredith Wilson
  • SP 2023 – Aimee Carbaugh & Grazzia Grimaldi Calderon