Outstanding Student Awards | Anthropology | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

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Outstanding Student Awards

The Department each year gives an award to the Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Anthropology majors with the highest overall grade point average. (No application necessary)

Taylor Beltz


Taylor R. Beltz, lifelong native of Energy, Illinois, has been awarded the 2014 Outstanding Junior Award and the 2015 Outstanding Senior Award by the Department of Anthropology. Beltz is a senior in anthropology minoring in Global Studies and Visual and Screen Cultures.

She is interested in how humans embed and enact their cultural identities in performance, music, and other forms of art. She loves exploring the ways in which indigenous groups maintain and express their identities in a contemporary setting, and how various Native American and Australian Aboriginal societies function in today's world. She is also concerned with LGBT issues, including how meanings of sexuality and gender vary across cultures. Her interest in the cinema has encouraged her to explore the ways in which anthropology can be utilized by filmmakers to make movies that challenge dominant discourses, support diversity, and give voice to marginalized groups within society. Additionally, she enjoys primatology studies, specifically those that areas that relate to primate behavior and conservation.

VaughnRebecca Vaughn has been awarded the 2014 Outstanding Sophomore Award and the 2015 Outstanding Junior Award by the Department of Anthropology. Vaughn, from Herrin, IL is majoring in anthropology with a minor in sociology. She’s most interested in, and hopes to one day study, various internet subcultures and how they interact with and change society. After graduating, she plans on joining the AmeriCorps and then continuing on to graduate school while dedicating some small time to traveling. This photo is from her Spring Break backpacking trip to Athens. 

HilsabeckAbigail Hilsabeck, originally from Jacksonville, Illinois, has been awarded the 2014 Outstanding Senior Award by the Department of Anthropology at SIU. Abigail studies linguistic anthropology and balances out these studies with a minor in art history.

Abigail elaborates: “My focus is linguistic anthropology and specifically how gender is displayed and preformed within different facets of American society.  I plan to devote next year to preparing for and applying to graduate school while also possibly doing a second year of service in Americorps to work and grow in a community in need.”