Undergraduate Essay Award | Anthropology | SIU

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Undergraduate Essay Award

Each year, an award and cash prize are given to an undergraduate for the best research essay submitted to a departmental competition, generally early in Spring semester. Preference is given to students who are Anthropology majors.

AustinLauren Austin was awarded the 2015 Undergraduate Essay Award and has been interested in Archaeology for as long as she can remember, “I honestly feel so lucky to be here at SIU. My experience in the department has been so positive.” She has worked at the Center for Archaeological Investigations since Fall 2013, where she has gained applied experience in lithic and artifact analysis, data collection, and curation. Her minor is in history, which has contributed to a greater love for historic archaeology in the United States. After graduation in December 2015, she plans to enter graduate school here at SIU to further her anthropological education.


RobertsonCaroline Robertson, from Dow, IL, was awarded the 2015 Undergraduate Essay Award. She is a senior here at SIU and will be graduating in August with her bachelor's degree in anthropology and a minor in history. This fall, she will be attending graduate school in Washington, D.C. at the American University to earn a MA in Public Anthropology. She plans on using her award winning paper, “Memories of the Herrin Massacre” as a springboard for further ethnographic studies in historical traumatic memories.


Jaime SykesJaime Sykes, originally from San Diego, California, has been awarded the 2014 Undergraduate Essay Award by the Department of Anthropology at SIU.

Her paper, entitled "Epigenetic Changes in Children Conceived During the Dutch Hunger Winter and the Question of Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance," discussed the possibility that traits which are acquired in utero could be genetically passed down to the next generation. Her paper focused on a case study of children impacted by the Dutch Hunger Winter at the end of World War II.

In her anthropology studies at SIU, Jaime is primarily interested in biological anthropology. She elaborated: “My research interests include the bioarchaeology of trauma and ritual violence, forensic taphonomy, osteometrics, and evolutionary theory. My ultimate goal is to complete my PhD in biological anthropology and become a bioarchaeologist and forensic anthropologist who conducts research in both bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology, teaches in a university setting, and works on forensic cases.”


Rachel HuszarRachael Huszar won the 2011 Undergraduate Essay Award. Rachael is an undergraduate student from Oshkosh, WI.

Her paper, "Black, Yellow, Tooth, and Claw: An Analysis of Jaguar Symbolism in South America," discussed the significance of the use of jaguars in mythic narratives for indigenous groups in South America.

After graduation, Rachael plans to attend graduate school for Museum Studies.