Student Achievements

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2019 Student Award Winners

Student award winners pose with their awards and Director Reed

Alumni Award for Academic Achievement in Anthropology

Sara Rodriguez

Cynthia Lakin Award

Jane Koistinen

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Medalist

Dean Blumenfeld

Reynold Ruppé Prize in Archaeology

John Murray and Jacob Harris
David Sandeford
Honorable Mention: Christopher Schwartz

Philip Mason Thompson Award

Christine DeMyers

Donald H. Morris Award for Outstanding Doctoral Students

Bioarchaeology: Sarah Hall
Evolutionary Anthropology: Sam Patterson

Graduate Teaching Award

Charlayne Mitchell
Jose B. Rosales Chavez

Directorate Teaching Award

April Kamp-Whittaker
Sofía Pacheco-Forés
Irene Smail
Christopher Schwartz

Past Years

2018 Student Awards

2018 Student Awards

Undergraduate Student Awards

Brittany Hale

Major: Double major in global health and justice studies

Award: Alumni Award for Academic Achievement

Research interests: Hale became interested in mental health and social stigma within a health context after working with doctoral student Ashley Hagaman on her research on suicide surveillance in Nepal. Hale’s honors thesis looked at better understanding student experiences and impacts in global health study abroad, and she is interested in both improved and standardized evaluations of these programs.

Accomplishments: Hale received a Killam Fellowship through Fulbright Canada and was able to study abroad in Toronto during fall 2017, where she learned about the Canadian health system and international development.

What’s next: Hale is currently applying for public health fellowships and internships, and she hopes to spend a year working and learning in the health sector before going to graduate school.

Kari Guilbault

Major: Anthropology BA

Award: Cynthia Lakin Award

Research interests: Guilbault studies the connections between biology and culture as seen through human osteology. Specifically, she is interested in quality of life and violence as evidence of inequality, as well as morphological variation, body modification and funerary practices.

Accomplishments: Guilbault has worked collaboratively with school faculty and students as a research apprentice in the Bioarchaeology of Nubia Expedition Laboratory and the Archaeological Chemistry Laboratory. She also assisted with research projects around the development of children's altruistic preferences and how the sella turcica (the part of the skull that holds the pituitary gland) anatomy compares and relates to life history in different mammals.

What’s next: Guilbault plans to begin graduate school in 2019. During her time off from formal academics, she will be attending the Blackfriary Archaeology Field School in Ireland to take part in an intensive bioarchaeology course. She has also been invited to join the Bioarchaeology of Nubia Expedition team for the 2018 field season.

Jessica Roberson

Major: Double major in anthropology and English literature

Award: Dean’s Medalist, Spring 2018

Research interests: Roberson is interested in applied anthropology. Specifically, she focuses on communication and expressions of meaning, memory and resistance in marginalized communities, as well as the processes by which communities construct narratives about their place in the world.

What’s next: After graduation, Roberson plans to participate in the Teach for America program in Alabama, where she will teach secondary English and pursue a master’s degree in secondary education.


Graduate Student Awards

Sofía Pacheco-Forés

Major: Anthropology PhD candidate, bioarchaeology approach

Award: Reynold Ruppé Prize in Archaeology

Research interests: Pacheco-Forés uses biogeochemical and biodistance methods to investigate identity-based violence in pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica. More broadly, she is interested in past mobility and migration, ritual violence, and if and how perceptions of social difference may predispose people to violence.

Accomplishments: Pacheco-Forés is proudest of the fact that she has mentored 14 undergraduate students through the course of doing her own dissertation research, and that many of those students have gone on to pursue their own research interests in anthropology and the life sciences.

What’s next: Pacheco-Forés is currently writing her dissertation and plans to apply for postdoctoral positions to continue her research.

Sarah Klassen

Major: Anthropology PhD, archaeology approach

Award: Reynold Ruppé Prize in Archaeology Honorable Mention

Research interests: Klassen’s interests include geographic information systems analyses, water management, adaptive capacity and resilience in medieval Southeast Asia.

Accomplishments: Klassen’s research projects have successfully garnered national funding, including a National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant and an Endeavour Fellowship from the government of Australia.

What’s next: This fall, Klassen will be a Mellon Fellow in Urban Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. In January 2019, she will begin a two-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Melissa Beresford

Major: Anthropology PhD candidate, sociocultural approach

Award: Philip Mason Thompson Award

Research interests: Beresford studies the ways people adapt to structures of power and inequality in economic systems. She is interested in questions such as how people understand the economy and their role in it, and how diverse economic practices allow people to secure fundamental resources and strive for social change.

Accomplishments: Beresford believes that completing her dissertation research and finishing up her dissertation has been her biggest academic accomplishment. Her research, based in Cape Town, South Africa, examines how South African entrepreneurs are attempting to develop new economic realities in the wake of the country's post-apartheid economic transformation.

What’s next: During Beresford’s fieldwork, Cape Town experienced one of the most severe droughts the city has seen in over 100 years. As a result, a host of new “water entrepreneurs” emerged, some working on water-saving technology and others developing water delivery businesses. Beresford is developing her next research project, which will ethnographically examine these new, market-driven resource approaches.

Emily Sharp

Major: Anthropology PhD candidate, bioarchaeology approach

Award: Donald H. Morris Award for Outstanding Doctoral Student, Bioarchaeology

Research interests: Sharp analyses skeletal trauma to understand how violence is produced, perpetuated and ultimately becomes a culturally sanctioned behavior in human groups. Her regional focus is on non-state societies that lived 1,000 – 1,900 years ago in the Andes.

Accomplishments: In 2017, Sharp co-directed archaeological excavations at a site in highland Peru as part of the Proyecto de Investigación Arqueología de Jecosh. The project formed out of a collaborative partnership with Elizabeth Grávalos from the University of Illinois Chicago and Peruvian archaeologist Denisse Herrera Rondan, and Sharp’s responsibility was to direct excavations in and around tombs at the site.

What’s next: This summer, Sharp and the research team will present a museum exhibit of their work at the Museo Arqueológico de Ancash in Huaraz, Peru. Her long-term plans include continuing her research in Peru and writing her dissertation.

Joel Bray

Major: Anthropology PhD candidate, evolutionary approach

Award: Donald H. Morris Award for Outstanding Doctoral Student, Evolutionary Anthropology

Research interests: Bray studies social relationships among male chimpanzees. He is particularly interested in how early social experiences during infancy and juvenility — a period in which mothers exert substantial influence over an offspring's social opportunities — affect adult social behavior and fitness.

Accomplishments: Bray considers his continuing perseverance throughout graduate school to be his greatest accomplishment.

What’s next: Bray is currently finishing up a year of fieldwork in Gombe National Park, Tanzania. For the next two years, he will be analyzing data and writing his dissertation.

2017 Student Awards

2017 Student Awards

Undergraduate Awards

Lea Gleason

photo of Lea Gleason

Major: Anthropology, with a minor in biology

Awards: Alumni Award for Undergraduate Academic Achievement in Anthropology, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Research interests: Gleason is interested in gene-culture co-evolution and large-scale cooperation. She plans to investigate how cooperation “scales up,” especially in high-stakes scenarios like warfare. She is also interested in the evolution of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Inspiration to pursue her field: Gleason was inspired after listening to a guest lecture by School of Human Evolution and Social Change Assistant Professor Sarah Mathew, whose research examines humans’ ability to cooperate with millions of genetically unrelated individuals, and how that ability relates to the origins of morals, prosocial behavior, norms and large-scale warfare.

“I thought the entire topic was really interesting and had important implications. Additionally, with my military background, I saw a way to connect what I had already done to future ideas,” Gleason says.

Accomplishments: Due to her incredible work ethic and dedication to research, Gleason was singled out by the SHESC Undergraduate Committee as the graduating student who best exemplified academic excellence this year.

She was also selected for the NSF Fellowship because of her “demonstrated potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise,” says Dean Evasius, NSF division director of graduate education.

In addition to assisting Mathews with her research, Gleason has worked extensively with various faculty, including Assistant Professor Chris Morehart in the Paleoethnobotany Lab recording the historical use of plants by the Maya, and with Professor Bill Kimbel in the Institute of Human Origins managing the digital archive.

She is also a research assistant on the projects of Dr. Hillary Lenfesty, Dr. Bailey House and Dr. Matt Zefferman.

What’s next: Gleason says the NSF grant and Alumni Award will help with her current and future financial constraints, allowing her more time to focus on her research, rather than worry about other distractions in her life.

“I am extremely grateful to have received these two awards and know they will help me tremendously as I progress through my career,” she says.

After graduation, Gleason plans to remain at Arizona State University for graduate school and work with Mathew, as well as SHESC Professor Robert Boyd. One day, she would like to become a professor.

Alexandra Norwood

photo of Norwood with her poster at the SHESC Research Symposium

Awards: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Medalist, Cynthia Lakin Award, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Major: Double-major in anthropology and geology

Research interests: Norwood is interested in reconstructing paleoenvironments to understand the context of human evolution. 

Accomplishments: Norwood has won many previous awards, including two NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates and several from ASU institutions. During her undergraduate career, she’s done a variety of research on Mesoamerican archaeology, comparative urbanism, prehistoric Southwestern ceramics, oceanic nitrogen cycles and paleoecology. She also helped establish the “Ask an Anthropologist” resource while working at the ASU Institute of Human Origins. In her spare time, Norwood has served as a volunteer for the Arizona Museum of Natural History and the Pueblo Grande Museum, as an elementary school student mentor at the Tempe Public Library, and as the president of the Undergraduate Anthropology Association.

“I am probably most proud of the diversity and robustness of my research, as well as my work getting children and the public excited about science and mentoring the SHESC students who have come after me,” Norwood says.

What’s next: Norwood will go on to pursue her PhD in biological anthropology at another prestigious university.

Graduate Awards

Grant Snitker

photo of Grant Snitker

Award: Reynold Ruppé Prize in Archaeology

Major: Anthropology PhD candidate, archaeology approach

Research interests: Snitker researches prehistoric uses of controlled fire, settlement history and environmental change using methods such as geoarchaeology, archaeological survey, GIS modeling and landscape/fire ecology. He is currently working in Valencia, Spain to investigate early farming communities’ origins, evolution and agricultural use of fire.

Accomplishments: Snitker’s recent work, “Identifying Natural and Anthropogenic Prehistoric Fire Regimes through Simulated Charcoal Proxy Records,” was named the year’s best paper in archaeology authored by an ASU graduate student. In the past, archaeologists’ ability to study how past peoples managed landscapes with fire was limited by the scanty record of tiny charcoal particles. Snitker solved the problem by developing a computer model, CharRec, which allows researchers to generate expectations for different fire-use scenarios that they can compare to observable data.

What’s next: After graduation, Snitker will continue his research on man-made fire and landscape change though either academic or governmental employment.

Ryan Bleam

photo of Ryan Bleam

Award: Phillip Mason Thompson Award in Sociocultural Anthropology

Major: Anthropology PhD candidate, sociocultural approach

Research interests: Bleam studies “sense of place” and other aspects of the human-environment relationship.

Accomplishments: Bleam was awarded as the year’s most exceptional graduate student in sociocultural anthropology. His dissertation work is a partnership with the local McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit that manages Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The project explores how engagement in conservation volunteerism helps foster a sense of place for residents, particularly retirees. Read the ASU Now article on his work.

What’s next: Bleam’s goal is to continue in academia as a professor while also remaining engaged in community-focused research.

Elise Alonzi

photo of Elise Alonzi

Award: Donald H. Morris Award for Outstanding Doctoral Student in Bioarchaeology

Major: Anthropology PhD candidate, bioarchaeology approach

Research interests: Alonzi uses isotopic analysis, or biogeochemistry, to study where ancient people lived and how they may have moved to new areas during their lifetimes.

Accomplishments: Alonzi was recognized as the year’s most outstanding graduate student in bioarchaeology. She is currently in Ireland on a Fulbright Student Research Award, where she is collecting samples for her dissertation, which investigates the mobility of monks and lay people who were buried in early- and late-medieval Irish monasteries. She will analyze around 100 individuals from five different sites that date from the ninth to 16th centuries. She is also working with Irish researchers to create a radiogenic strontium isotope baseline from Irish plant samples, which they will use to better understand human isotopic data. Read the ASU Now article on her work.

What’s next: Alonzi hopes to continue her research uncovering Irish history.

Ignacio Lazagabaster

photo of Ignacio Lazagabaster

Award: Donald H. Morris Award for Outstanding Doctoral Student in Evolutionary Anthropology

Major: Anthropology PhD candidate, evolutionary anthropology approach

Research interests: Lazagabaster is interested in the paleoecological and paleoenvironmental reconstruction of fossil hominin sites.

Accomplishments: Lazagabaster was named the year’s most outstanding graduate student in evolutionary anthropology. His paper, “Inferring diet from dental morphology in terrestrial mammals,” was published in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution last November. He and his research team created a new method – the multidimensional multi-proxy dental morphology analysis – which can tell which one of eight different diet types a given mammal had based on the physical characteristics of its teeth. His work has applications for ecological, paleoecological and evolutionary research.

What’s next: Lazagabaster plans to remain in academia and apply for post-doctoral positions.

2015 Student Awards

2015 Student Awards

Undergraduate Awards

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Medalist
Hannah McAtee

Cynthia Lakin Award
Rebecca Harkness

Alumni Award for Undergraduate Academic Achievement
Faye McGechie

Undergraduate Research Awards
Christina BalentineHana Alkahlout

Graduate Awards

Reynold Ruppé Prize in Archaeology
Kent Johnson, Kathleen Paul, Nicolas Gauthier

Philip Mason Thompson Award
Joseph Hackman

Donald H. Morris Award for Outstanding Doctoral Student in Bioarchaeology
Katelyn Bolhofner

Donald H. Morris Award for Outstanding Doctoral Student in Evolutionary Anthropology
John Rowan

2014 Student Awards

2014 Student Awards

Undergraduate Awards

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Medalist
Lawrence Fatica

Cynthia Lakin Award
Megan Best

Alumni Award for Undergraduate Academic Achievement
Anne Beyens  

Len and Gordon "Spunky" Award
Elija Flores 

Undergraduate Research Awards
Megan BestLawrence FaticaFaye McGechieKelsey Vaughan 

Graduate Awards

Reynold Ruppé Prize in Archaeology
Simen Oestmo

Reynold Ruppé Prize in Archaeology Honorable Mention
Adrian Chase

Philip Mason Thompson Award
Alissa Ruth

Donald H. Morris Award for Outstanding Doctoral Student in Bioarchaeology
Allisen Dahlstedt

Donald H. Morris Award for Outstanding Doctoral Student in Evolutionary Anthropology
Genevieve Housman

School of Human Evolution and Social Change Graduate Student Teaching Award
Ryan Bleam

2013 Student Awards

2013 Student Awards

Undergraduate Awards

Alumni Association's Outstanding Social Science Graduate
Blake Thomson

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Medalist
Blake Thomson

Pitchfork Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student Leader
Holly Vins

Cynthia Lakin Award
Erik Thunberg

Dons of Arizona Award
Rebeca SuarezJames McGrath

Alumni Award for Undergraduate Academic Achievement
Madeline Sands

Spring 2013 Undergraduate Research Assistantships
James McGrathRebecca Harkness 


Graduate Awards

Reynold Ruppé Prize in Archaeology
Christopher R. Caseldine

Reynold Ruppé Prize in Archaeology Honorable Mention
Emily Sharp

Philip Mason Thompson Award
Ryan Bleam

Donald H. Morris Award for Outstanding Doctoral Student in Bioarchaeology
Kathleen Paul

Donald H. Morris Award for Outstanding Doctoral Student in Evolutionary Anthropology
Emily Hallett

School of Human Evolution and Social Change Graduate Student Teaching Award
Terry Ritzman

ASU Graduate + Professional Student Association Teaching Excellence Award
Terry Ritzman


2012 Student Awards

2012 Student Awards

Undergraduate Awards

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Medalist
Mirna Hodzic

Sun Angel Funk Scholarship
Blake Thomson

Cynthia Lakin Award
Benjamin Snow

Dons and Doñas of Arizona Award
Monica AlgaraPaige OwenBenjamin Snow

Alumni Award for Undergraduate Academic Achievement
Jake Lulewicz 

ASU Alumni Association Outstanding Graduate Award
Mirna Hodzic

Spring 2012 Undergraduate Research Assistantships
Mirna HodzicTom Sprynczynatyk

Fall 2012 Undergraduate Research Assistantships
Danielle JohnsonMadeline Sands

Graduate Awards

Reynold Ruppé Prize in Archaeology
Sean BerginChristopher Roberts

Reynold Ruppé Prize in Archaeology Honorable Mention
Josh Watts

Philip Mason Thompson Award
Ben Jewell

Donald H. Morris Award for Outstanding Doctoral Student in Bioarchaeology
Kelly Harkins

Donald H. Morris Award for Outstanding Doctoral Student in Physical Anthropology
Amy Shapiro

School of Human Evolution and Social Change Graduate Student Teaching Award
Sotiria Anagnostou

ASU Graduate + Professional Student Association Outstanding Mentor Award
Juliana Novic

ASU Graduate + Professional Student Association Teaching Excellence Award
Allain Barnett

Undergraduate Research Award

Fall 2014Christina Balentine, Hana Alkahlout
Spring 2014Lawrence Fatica, Faye McGechie
Fall 2013Megan Best, Kelsey Vaughan
Spring 2013James McGrath, Rebecca Harkness
Fall 2012Danielle Johnson, Madeline Sands
Spring 2012Mirna Hodzic, Tom Sprynczynatyk
Fall 2011Rebecca Coleman, Wilman Vergara
Spring 2011Jacob Harris, Mara Steinhaus
Fall 2010Nick Banovich, Jessica Goodsell
Spring 2010Cinthia Carvajal, Jesus Villa
Fall 2009Mitch Darnell
Spring 2009Merideth Masoner, Margaret Watjen
Fall 2008Katrina Johnston, Amelia Villasenor
Spring 2008Sarah Elsasser, Jennifer Guida, Meagan Ruebel
Fall 2007Will Russell
Spring 2007Catlin Buthrie, Paul Wren
Fall 2006Stephanie Gresham
Spring 2006Andrew Sommerville
Fall 2005Nawa Sugiyama, Melanie Tluczek
Spring 2005Leshana Leslie
Fall 2004Catherine Bird, Melissa Wilkens, Cherie Larkin
Spring 2004Maya Murakami
Fall 2003Cynthia Atencio
Spring 2003Linda Davis, Patrick Kaup
Fall 2002Erick Steinback
Spring 2002Amy Hallock
Fall 2001Michelle Fiedler, Catherine Haradon, Lydia Pyne
Spring 2001Daniel Temple
Fall 2000Chelsea Klein, Ian Wheeler
Spring 2000Gail Bleakney, Anthony Kegley
Spring 1999Mary C. DeVriese, Amy Moreno, Jason Prichard
Fall 1998Brandeis McBratney, Wendy Potter
Spring 1998Linda Countryman, Thalia Gonzalez

Alumni Award for Undergraduate Academic Achievement in Anthropology

2016-2017Lea Gleason
2014–2015Faye McGechie
2013–2014Anne Beyens
2012–2013Madeline Sands
2011–2012Jake Lulewicz
2010-2011Mara Steinhaus
2009–2010Amy Karabowicz
2008–2009Meridith Masoner
2007–2008Jessica Joganic
2006–2007Laura Burghardt
2005–2006Noah Theriault
2004–2005Penny Wagner
2003–2004Linda Davis, Carrie Veilleux
2002–2003Angela Watts
2001–2002Catherine M. Haradon, Lydia V. Pyne
2000–2001Michelle Speck
1999–2000Alexandra A. DeSousa
1998–1999Wendy Potter, Thalia Gonzalez
1997–1998Wayne M. Boyd
1996–1997Julia A. Sommerfeld
1995–1996Patricia M. Hodges

Cynthia Lakin Award

2016-2017Alexandra Norwood
2014–2015Rebecca Harkness
2013–2014Megan Best
2012–2013Erik Thunberg
2011–2012Benjamin Snow
2010–2011Nicholas Banovich
2009–2010Meagan Rubel
2008–2009Jason Stokes
2007–2008Arianne Peterson
2006–2007Lara Lloyd
2005–2006Andrew Somerville
2004–2005Angela Ruggles
2003–2004Michelle Fiedler
2002–2003Brenda Rason
2001–2002Marie C. Verleure
2000–2001Heather Smith
1999–2000Jennifer A. Thompson
1998–1999Annette Smith
1997–1998Lara A. Altizer
1996–1997Donna Jacques
1995–1996April Henry Clark, Shauna Moore
1994–1995Cynthia Bates, Brenda Bradley
1993–1994Jane Briesemeister, Indiana Jones
1992–1993Maria Coyle, Bryan Brown, Jewel Touchin
1991–1992Louis Apricella, Dawn Frost, Matthew Pridemore
1990–1991Christine Kaye, Dori Ranck, Mark Werner
1989–1990Bradley Ensor, Melisssa Grieves, Mary Schulte-Dawn
1988–1989Andrew Crawford, William Harrison
1987–1988Kathy Moyer, Korri Turner, John Ziker
1987–1988Scott Cunningham, Ricardo Gonzales, Louisa Morris
1986–1987Donna Cheung
1985–1986Bethel Brown
1984–1985Carolyn Smith
1983–1984Tammy Ledington, Sylvia McCullough, Shirley Robling