Student Paper Award

      Full or part-time, undergraduate or graduate students are invited to participate in the annual Student Paper Award. You will present your paper at the annual Plains Conference. The winner will receive a cash award and the winning paper will be published in the Plains Anthropologist.

      Students attending the Plains Conference are invited to compete for this annual award. Separate undergraduate and graduate student awards will be granted. The award is a cash payment of $200 to undergraduates and $300 to graduate students and an invitation to submit the paper for publication in Plains Anthropologist. The winner will be announced at the conference banquet, to which all presenters will receive two complimentary tickets. Nominations are currently solicited for the 2018 Award. Papers need to be submitted to the student paper committee (Laura Scheiber, chair) by Friday, October 19th at 5pm. See deadlines and entry form below.

      For additional information, contact

      Laura Scheiber 
      Indiana University
      Department of Anthropology
      Student Building 130
      701 E. Kirkwood Avenue
      Bloomington, IN 47405-7100
      Tel.: 812- 855-6755
      Fax: 812-855-4358

      Who qualifies for the award?

      You must be enrolled as a full or part-time student. 
      You may be enrolled as either an undergraduate and graduate student. 
      You must indicate your intent to participate in the competition when submitting your abstract to the conference program organizer. 
      You must present your paper in the student paper session. Papers may also be presented in an organized session but they must be given during the student paper session to be eligible.

      How do I apply? 
      To be eligible for the 2018 award

      1) Register for the conference 
      On the abstract form, note your intention to enter the Student Paper Award competition.

      Abstract Submission Deadline: September 17
      Early Registration Deadline: October 1

      2) Submit an electronic written version of your paper AND an application form to the chair of the student paper award committee who will distribute them to the committee members (Laura Scheiber,

      Deadline: October 19, 5pm.

      Application Form:

      Adobe Acrobat Document

      Word document

      Entrants are responsible for conference registration. 
      Submitting a paper to the committee will not register you for the conference!


      Competition Guidelines and Tips


      • A panel of at least three judges, including the editor of the Plains Anthropologist, chooses the award recipient.
      • The award is based on both the oral presentation and written version.
      • The written version of your paper should not be the same as the oral presentation.
      • There is no page limit on the written version of the paper, but please do not include material that is not part of the subject you will be presenting at the conference--an entire chapter of your thesis, for example.
      • About 15 pages double-spaced is a good length to aim for. The written paper should follow stylistic guidelines for Plains Anthropologist manuscripts (see
      • You will have 20 minutes for the oral presentation.
      • You are encouraged to use audiovisual materials, but you must do a spoken presentation.
      • The paper may not be co-authored.
      • The paper must be based on your own research.
      • You may present a paper that has been submitted for publication.
      • The Student Paper Awards Committee reserves the right to make no award or multiple awards depending on the quality of papers submitted for the competition.
      • The committee's decision is final.

      Student Paper Award Evaluation Matrix

      The research, written paper, and oral presentation all are important. No paper will be considered for the award if it receives fewer than 30 points in any of the following three categories.

      Research (maximum of 100 points/10 points for each aspect) 
      Research question shows originality and thought 
      Project is placed into a context of previous research 
      Research methods are appropriate, ethical, and logical 
      Data gathering identifies all variables and minimizes bias 
      Data are accurately gathered, recorded, and summarized 
      Data set is appropriate to the question 
      Conclusions are logical and well supported by the data 
      Project leads to recommendations for future research 
      Implications of the project are clearly identified and logical 
      Research contributes to Plains anthropology

      Written Paper (50 points/10 points each) 
      Paper is written in article format (not a dissertation chapter or contract report) 
      Paper is clear, concise, and original 
      Paper clearly explains each of the research aspects listed above (question, research context, methods, results, and conclusions) 
      Paper is well organized and logical 
      References are complete, correct, and relevant

      Presentation (50 points) 
      Presentation is well rehearsed; speaker is thoroughly familiar with the material, speaks audibly, maintains eye contact with audience, and conveys an enthusiasm for the subject (30 points) 
      Power Point presentation and other audiovisual aids are easy to see, relevant, and appropriate in number (20 points)

      Tips for a Successful Entry

      1. Ask a colleague or professor to read your paper and listen to your presentation. Try to incorporate their suggestions into the final product.

      2. Your written paper and presentation should not be the same. The presentation must "cut to the chase" or you will run out of time. The written paper is the place for listing the details of your data.

      3. Carefully proofread your paper and check the bibliography. Don't try to sound important by using big words, unnecessary jargon, or long sentences. Just express your ideas simply and clearly. Remember that all sorts of Plains anthropologists must be able to understand your ideas.

      4. Time your presentation. Nothing is more disastrous that finding yourself only halfway through when your time is up. Practice what you will say. Change any words or phrases that you tend to trip over.

      5. Don't overdo the number of Power Point slides. A few eye-catching slides are more effective than a mind-numbing race through dozens of images. Remember that different people respond best to different kinds of information. Let your visuals (or audios) reinforce what you are saying. A simple graph is worth 1000 words. Complicated graphs, charts, and tables do not work well. Don't copy these out of your written paper, but make new ones just for your talk. Try to keep what is on the screen related to what you are saying. If you proceed to another topic, then proceed to another visual.

      6. If you are not used to using audiovisual aids, practice beforehand.  Read your paper outloud numerous times while advancing through your presentation.

      7. If you are nervous, remember almost everyone in the room has felt the same way, especially the first few times out! People attend your talk because they are interested in what you have to say. You won't find a friendlier audience anywhere! Visit the room before your session begins so you can get a feel for the podium, screen, lights, etc. Recruit some friends to occupy seats around the room so you can practice making eye contact. If you can remember to smile, it will help both you and the audience relax.

      8. Have fun! This is your chance to show off your research to people who care about it! 

      When is the grant awarded? 

      The award winner is announced at the Plains Conference banquet. Every student in the competition will receive two free banquet tickets, so please join us at the banquet.

      Past Recipients:
      Since 2001, 17 of the 25 winners (68%) have been published. 


      Amanda Anne Burtt (Indiana University): Unlikely Allies: Modern Wolves and the Diest of Pre-contact Domestic Dogs (Graduate Student Award).

      Travis Jones (University of Georgia): Revisitting Huff Village: Toward Generational Timescales for Plains Villages (Graduate Student Award).

      No Undergraduate Student Award


      Abigail E. Fisher (Southern Methodist University): When is a Wolf a Dog? Combined Geometric Morphometrics and Stables Isotope Analysis for Differntiating Wild from Domestic Canids on the North American Great Plains (Graduate Student Award).

      No Undergraduate Student Award


      Seamus Anderson (Texas Tech University): Death, Divination, and Obligation: Owls in 19th Century Kiowa Culture (Undergraduate Student Award). 

      Ryan Breslawski (Southern Methodist University): Seasonal Bison Hunting by Paleoindians on the Northwestern Plains: Revisiting Fetal Prey Remains from Horner II and Casper (Graduate Student Award).


      Whitney A. Goodwin (Southern Methodist University): Complementary Techniques for the Estimation of Original Firing Temperatures of Plains Ceramics: Experimental and Archaeological Results (Graduate Student Award). Published as “Assessing Techniques for the Estimation of Original Firing Temperatures of Plains Ceramics: Experimental and Archaeological Results” by Whitney A. Goodwin and Kacy L. Hollenback. Ethnoarchaeology 8(2):180-204.  2016.


      Adam Wiewel (University of Arkansas): Examining Agricultural Surplus at Huff Village, North Dakota: Combining Archaeological and Geophysical Data (Graduate Student Award). Published as part of his dissertation Remote Sensing Insights into Storage Capacities among Plains Village Horticulturalists (University of Arkansas, 2017).


      Sarah E. Wolff (University of Arizona): Protecting a National Icon:  The First Use of the Antiquities Act of 1906 to Declare Devils Tower National Monument (Graduate Student Award).


      Elsa M. Perry (University of Lethbridge): Correlating Etching Tool Materials with Petroglyphs at Writing on Stone (Undergraduate Student Award).  Published in Plains Anthropologist 60(233):72-83 (2015).


      William Reitze (University of Arizona): Salvaging a Sandia Site: Reinvestigation of the Lucy Site, Central New Mexico (Graduate Student Award).


      Travis Hill (Colorado State University): Qualifying Comfort: Intentional Design in Unhafted End Scrapers at the Lindenmeier Folsom Site, Northern Colorado (Undergraduate Student Award).

      Kacy Hollenback (University of Arizona): Social Memory of Disaster: Exploring Historic Smallpox Epidemics among the Mandan and Hidatsa (Graduate Student Award).


      Brigid Grund (University of Colorado): Understanding the Great Plains Paleoindian Projectile Point Chronology: Radiocarbon Dating and Potential Coevality of Point Types (Undergraduate Student Award).  Published as “Radiocarbon calibration curves, summed probability distributions, and early Paleoindian population trends in North America” by Douglas Bamforth and Brigid Grund  Journal of Archaeological Science 39(2012):1768-1774.

      Maureen Boyle (Indiana University): Beyond Linearity in Western Historical Narratives:  The Wild West as Temporal Frontier (Graduate Student Award).

      Wendi Field Murray (University of Arizona): Feathers, Fasting, and the Eagle Complex: A Contemporary Analysis of the Eagle as a Cultural Resource in the Northern Plains (Graduate Student Award).  Published in Plains Anthropologist 56(218) (2011).


      Shana Wolff (Laramie County Community College): An Analysis of Plants Traditionally Used by Plains American Indians as Topical Antiseptics for Antimicrobial Effectiveness (Undergraduate Student Award).  Published in Plains Anthropologist 55(216):310-317 (2010).

      Jeremy Planteen (University of Wyoming): The Wild West Show: Rethinking the Influence of the Miller’s 101 Ranch Wild West Show and Early Film on the Native American Stereotype (Graduate Student Award). Published as part of his dissertation The Native American Stereotype in Early Hollywood: Thomas Ince, the 101 Ranch, and the Myth of the West (University of Wyoming, 2011).


      Sarah Trabert (Kansas State University): Steed-Kisker Ceramics: Analysis of the Scott Site (14LV1082) Assemblage (Undergraduate Student Award).  Published in Plains Anthropologist 54(212):289-299 (2009).

      Naomi Ollie (Colorado State University): Many Mountains Moving: Tales of Mass-Wasting and Archaeology in the Absaroka Range, Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (Graduate Student Award).


      Jayme Job (Minnesota State University-Moorhead): Sourisford Salamanders: Renewal Iconography of the Devils Lake-Sourisford Ceramic Complex (Undergraduate Student Award).  Published in Plains Anthropologist 54(209):75-82 (2009).

      Michael P. Jordan (University of Oklahoma): Religion and Reservation Life: Kiowa Revitalization Movements of the 1880s (Graduate Student Award).


      Patti Kinnear (University of Colorado): Cooperation and Conflict: Examining Alternative Views of Archaeology on the Great Plains (Graduate Student Award).  Published in Plains Anthropologist 53(206):161-177 (2008).

      Tomasin Playford (University of Manitoba): Establishing Site Seasonality: Importance, Problems and a Potential Solution (Graduate Student Award).


      Raven Carper (University of Montana): A Study of the Utility of a 'Symmetry Index' in the Assessment of Biface Production Goals. (Graduate Student Award). Published in Lithic Technology 30(2):127-144 (2005).


      Lucy Burris (Colorado State University): Western Harvester Ants: Archaeology's Little Helpers.


      Jodi Jacobson (University of Tennessee): Identification of Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemiounus) and White-tail Deer (Odocoileous virginianus) Post-cranial Remains as a Means of Determining Human Subsistence Strategies.  Published in Plains Anthropologist 48(187):287-297 (2003).


      Charles Egeland (Colorado State University): From Cutmarks to Behavior: The Reliability of Cutmarks for Inferring Processing Intensity. Published in Plains Anthropologist 48(184):39-51 (2003).

      Chad Goings (University of Arkansas): A Predictive Model for Lithic Resources in Iowa.  Published in Plains Anthropologist 48(184):53-67 (2003).


      Paula Renaud (University of Wyoming): Sticks, Stones, and Cyberwaves: Creating an International Community of Aboriginal Philosophy in the 21st Century.


      Rhonda S. Fair (University of Oklahoma): Becoming the White Man's Indian: An Examination of Native American Tribal Web Sites. Published in Plains Anthropologist 45(172):53-67 (2000).


      Jesse Ballenger (University of Oklahoma): Late Paleoindian Land Use in the Oklahoma Panhandle: Goff Creek and Nall Playa. Published in Plains Anthropologist 44(168):189-207 (1999).


      Susan Tanner (University of Nebraska): An Analysis of Use-Wear on Nebraska Phase Ceramics.


      Honorable mention given to Scott D. Brosowske, Kirsten E. Hock, Robert J. Speakman, and Janet L. Stoffer Tursi


      Bruce Low (University of Saskatchewan): Swan River Chert: Its Geological Occurrence, Geographical Distribution, and Archaeological Collection - A Ubiquitous Pre-Contact Lithic Resource of the Northern Plains/Southern Boreal Forest.  Published in Plains Anthropologist 41(156):165-174 (1996).


      No Award


      No Award, insufficient entries


      Elizabeth Miller (University of Nebraska): Evidence for Prehistoric Scalping in Northeastern Nebraska.  Published in Plains Anthropologist 39(148):211-219 (1994).


      No Award


      Jeffrey A. Huebner (University of Texas-Austin): Late Prehistoric Bison Populations in Central and Southern Texas.  Published in Plains Anthropologist 36(137): 343-358 (1991).







      Judith Habicht-Mauche (Harvard University): Southwestern-Style Culinary Ceramics on the Southern Plains: A Case Study of Technological Innovation and Cross-Cultural Interaction.  Published in Plains Anthropologist 32(116):175-189 (1987).



      First discussion presented to the board to institute a student paper award.