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 2014 Award. Nominations are currently solicited for the 2014 Award. Papers need to be submitted to the student paper committee (Laura Scheiber, chair) by September 21. 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 presented in other organized symposia are not eligible.

How do I apply?
To be eligible for the 2013 award

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

Deadline: September 6

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: September 21.

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


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)
Slides, overheads, 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 will 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 overload the slide tray. A few eye-catching slides or overheads 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. Go through your slides to make sure none are upside down or backwards. Know how to place your transparencies so they project correctly. Sometimes it works best to have someone place the transparencies for you as you speak.

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, 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.


Who are the past recipients?


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).

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).
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).

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).
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).

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).

No undergraduate student paper awarded.
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).

No undergraduate student paper awarded.
Raven Carper (University of Montana): A Study of the Utility of a 'Symmetry Index' in the Assessment of Biface Production Goals. 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.

No Award

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

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.




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)