The Center for Public Anthropology (CPA) has recognized 13 first-year students for op-ed articles they submitted to its 2009–10 Community Action Project competition. More than 7,500 students from 28 U.S. colleges and universities submitted work to the CPA op-ed challenge this year. Only the top five percent of entrants are given awards.
Three students in the Social Science University Seminar taught by Vania Smith-Oka, Nancy O’Neill Assistant Professor of Anthropology, received Public Anthropology Awards in the spring 2010 round of the CPA competition: Jordan Bai, Ted Glasnow, and Isaac Harrington.
Ten students in the Introduction to Anthropology course taught by Assistant Professor Daniel Lende and Associate Professor Ian Kuijt received awards in the fall 2009 round: Paige Aiello, Chris Allen, Woo Hyun Chun, Gabriel De Vela, Julian DeMelis, Sara Kolettis, Phillip Lettieri, Catherine McDonough, Christina Rogers, and Alex Ydoate.
Entrants were called on to address three questions about the return of blood samples taken from an Amazonian tribe in a 1968 research project—a controversial issue in anthropology:
- As students of anthropology—the study of humanity—when should they act as global citizens, assisting people outside their own culture and country?
- After gathering information about the controversy, what are the objective facts of the issue?
- Based on their understanding of the facts and their beliefs about their social responsibilities, what action should they take in this controversy?
The CPA posts students’ responses to their challenge on a website and solicits feedback on the quality of the work from other students participating in the competition. Students who are ranked in the top five percent of entries by their peers are given the Public Anthropology Award.