Student Achievement Award

The National Association for the Practice of Anthropology offers the annual Student Achievement Awards to recognize graduate and undergraduate student contributions in the area of practicing and applied anthropology. The Awards recognizes graduate and undergraduate students globally who have excelled in the field and provides opportunities for those who have conducted original research/projects in any applied context to be recognized during the AAA annual meetings and have their work considered for publication in the Annals of Anthropological Practice.
Please note that NAPA recognizes the significant impacts and disruptions caused by COVID-19 in terms of social distancing and traveling. There is no expectation for you to attend the AAA annual meetings in-person, and all prospective applicants are welcomed and encouraged to submit their work with this in mind.

Student Paper Award
Each year NAPA’s student representative leads a competition for the best student papers. This year, NAPA divided the competition into undergraduate and graduate students and awarded a first prize and a runner up for each category.

First place and honorable mention winners are awarded the following prizes:

A panel of anthropological practitioners will review all student paper submissions. Awardees will receive a certificate of recognition and will be acknowledged during the NAPA Business Meeting at the AAA annual meeting. Outstanding papers will be considered for publication in the Annals of Anthropological Practice.Eligibility

Applications will be accepted from current students or within 2 years after graduation. Students must have been enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate degree program at the time they conducted their work, although the paper may be edited or written after graduation. The degree program does not have to be in anthropology or within the United States to qualify, as long as the work was clearly in the scope of practicing and applied anthropology (see Criteria for Evaluation). Submissions must be original work of high quality. The work may be undertaken alone or in collaboration with others, but for papers with one or more co-authors, an enrolled student (at the time of the work) must be the paper’s first author. Submissions listing professors as authors are not eligible.

Submission Requirements

Papers must not exceed 25 pages of text and footnotes, excluding bibliography and any supporting materials, double-spaced using a common 12-point font, submitted in either MS Word or PDF formats. Margins should be 1″ on all sides. Papers should conform to the author guidelines of the American Anthropologist. Preference will be given to papers that address the practical ramifications of a project/original research conducted in any industry. This could include examinations of community impact, identifying and improving local/service needs, implications for business strategy, implementation of user research, impact of collaborative research etc. We will also accept papers that integrate theory and methods towards generally advancing the field of applied anthropology. For any clarifications, please write to the NAPA Student Representative at

Students are encouraged to have the papers reviewed by an academic adviser apprised of the criteria below before submission, although this is not mandatory.

Criteria for Evaluation

Successful applicants will have read through and followed the award criteria closely. Papers will be judged on the following criteria. The paper:

● clearly states the problem or issue being investigated
● is clearly relevant to practicing/applied anthropology
● clearly states the practical implications of the research for addressing or understanding real-world problems, and discusses recommendations, appropriate solutions, or outcomes
● demonstrates a clear understanding of relevant literature about the topic
● is mechanically sound, including strong grammatical writing, proper formatting, and appropriate citations and bibliography

Submission Process

The deadline for 2024 submissions is June 15, 2024. Winners will be notified in late October.

Papers must be submitted via email by the deadline to the NAPA Student Representative at with the subject line “[LAST NAME], Undergraduate Student Achievement Award” or “[LAST NAME], Graduate Student Achievement Award”.

Past Award Winners
For information on past award winners, see the Student Achievement Award archive page.