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Jeanette E. Stephens Student Paper Awards

The Illinois Archaeological Survey is pleased to offer the Jeanette E. Stephens Student Paper Awards. These awards are presented annually to the best paper(s) on a topic concerning Illinois archaeology from current or recent undergraduate and graduate students. A wide range of topics will be considered including, but not limited to, theoretical perspectives, methodological applications, and artifact analysis. Research concerning sites outside of Illinois but contributing to the interpretation of Illinois archaeology is also acceptable. We encourage winners to present an abbreviated version of the paper at the Annual IAS meeting this fall and to submit revised papers for publication in IAS’s journal Illinois Archaeology. Electronic submissions and support letters should be emailed by 5 pm on August 1, 2024, to If you have questions, contact Erin Benson, Chair of the Stephens Award committee. Download the award announcement poster here.

Undergraduate and graduate students who were enrolled in a university/college program anytime between August 2022 and August 2024 are eligible for the award this year!

Winners will receive:

  • Up to $500
  • A complete set of the IAS journal Illinois Archaeology
  • Selected books and reports donated from sponsors

Instructions for Undergraduate and Graduate Award Submissions

  • Entrants must have been enrolled in a university/college program between August 1, 2022 and August 1, 2024.
  • Papers are limited to 25 double-spaced pages including figures, tables, and references.
  • The papers should be prepared in accordance with the Illinois Archaeology instructions.
  • Upload an electronic copy of the paper to by 5 pm on August 1, 2024 and notify the committee chair by email.
  • A letter or email from your faculty sponsor or supervisor must accompany your submission (see next section).

Instructions for Sponsors

Write a letter (1 page max.) indicating why you support the student’s submission and why you think it is a valuable contribution to Illinois archaeology.

  • You may include information concerning other experiences with the student in class, field school, or as an employee or volunteer.
  • Email the letter as a pdf or word document to the committee chair by 5pm on August 1, 2024.
  • If you are a current member of the IAS, encourage the student to join the IAS and consider serving as their sponsor.


  • Awards are conferred based on the recommendations of three reviewers who are current members of the Illinois Archaeological Survey.
  • The papers will be evaluated based on a range of criteria including clarity of writing, methodology, appropriate use of supporting figures and tables, whether the interpretations are supported by the data, and if the paper provides new data or a significant contribution to Illinois archaeology.

Helpful Hints

  • Revised term papers, senior theses, and master’s papers are usually a good place to start.
  • Thoughtfully consider your figures and tables. The document should be mostly text with figures and tables only when necessary, to illustrate or clarify something in the text or orient the reader.
  • The research should be methodologically sound with the methods clearly stated.
  • Properly format your submission and cite your sources.

    2023 Winners

    Catherine Zoe Doubles (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), for a graduate paper titled “Variability and Cultural Change in the Terminal Late Woodland (A.D. 800-1300) in the Lower Illinois River Valley.”

    Megan Sands (North Central College), for an undergraduate paper titled “James Henry Breasted: Life and Legacy of a Pioneering Archaeologist and Egyptologist from Illinois.”

    Past Winners

    Kelly Arnold (2005, undergraduate), Valerie L. Starr (2006), Lacey Nicole Heflin (2007), Lori Belknap (2008), Elizabeth Conzelman (2009), Aimee Carbaugh (2010), Dan Blodgett (2011, undergraduate), Dana Bardolph (2012), No Award (2013), Megan Nyquist (2014, undergraduate), Kaitlin Roberts (2014, undergraduate), Allison Huber (2015, graduate), Rosemary Bolin (2015, undergraduate), Madeline Azar (2016, undergraduate), Jade Klope (2016, undergraduate), A. J. White (2016, graduate), Abby Baka (2017, undergraduate), Meagan Bell (2017, undergraduate), Alice Muntz (2018, graduate), and Wendi Wingerson (2019, undergraduate), no contest (2020), no award (2021), Tyler Ferree (2022, graduate). 

    Last updated 12/27/23.

    About us

    The Illinois Archaeological Survey is a society of professional archaeologists, and other technical professionals, dedicated to identifying and preserving important archaeological resources throughout the state of Illinois.

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