NAPA is pleased to highlight the winners of the 2013 NAPA Student Achievement Award.  NAPA offers the annual Student Achievement Award to recognize student contributions in the area of practicing and applied anthropology. The award recognizes students who have excelled in the field and provides opportunities to be recognized during the AAA annual meeting and see their work published, particularly for students who have worked on team projects and in applied contexts. Papers go through a peer review process and are considered for online publication by NAPA.  Awardees receive a certificate of recognition and are acknowledged at the NAPA Business Meeting during the AAA annual meeting.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate degree program at the time they submit their paper. Submissions must be original work of publishable quality. The work may be undertaken alone or in collaboration with others, but for papers with one or more co-authors, an enrolled student must be the paper’s first author.

The 2013 first place winner is Celia White, a recent graduate from Vancouver Island University (British Columbia, Canada) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Anthropology and Global Studies.  Her paper “Questioning Voluntourism” examines the effects of volunteer tourism on the host communities:

Volunteer tourism, known popularly as voluntourism, is a global industry affecting millions, yet lacking critical discourse.  Analogous to the mission of international development, voluntourism is a practice of developing the “other” in a foreign country, where motivations for participation are just as heterogeneous as the outcomes. Despite the intentions of the volunteers, the practice of voluntourism may not serve towards the betterment of the host communities, and can even be detrimental to the populations in which the projects are situated.  Positive examples do exist; there will always be evidence for the opposing argument.  However, common, malignant traits can be identified to argue that voluntourism should be carefully scrutinized and repaired, if not eradicated.  By critically discussing how the current practices of development, such as voluntourism, have failed to benefit the very populations they allegedly intend to serve, the discourse on international development will hopefully be able to conceive new ideas that have grown from past mistakes.  Criticisms of the industry are not intended to cynically condemn, but to add to the learning process.

The 2013 first runner up is Rachel Wayne, a second-year Masters student in Applied Visual Anthropology at the University of Florida, for her paper “The Social Construction of Bullying Through US News Media”:

For the past ten years, childhood bullying has been heavily discussed in public discourse, through increased news reporting, discussion in awareness campaigns, and court proceedings. The characterization of bullying in the media is symptomatic of this discourse; moreover, it reflects the social construction of bullying. In particular, news media’s emotional and scientific portrayal of bullying has inspired criminalization of the act and defined bullying as a normative trend of deviant behavior—a marked difference from its previous portrayal as an isolated but treatable act. In this paper, I report the findings from a content analysis of articles from mainstream U.S. news sources on lawsuits regarding bullied children, suicides of bullied children, anti-bullying laws, and peer aggression research and prevention. The articles display narrative tropes that emotionally and didactically implicate the reader, and re-appropriate popular notions of psychology to schematize bullying situations. This research demonstrates that the definition and scope of bullying are largely indebted to the representation in the media and people’s relationship thereto. These processes have important implications for bullying’s effects and treatment.

The 2013 second runner up, Katharine Khanna, recently received her BA in anthropology and French studies from Brown University. Katharine’s paper is titled “ ‘What’s up, girl?’: Gendered Language Use Among Adolescents”:

The gendered connotations of many words in the English language are subtle yet powerful in producing gender ideology and identity. Departing from previous research that focuses on the differences in speech patterns between men and women, this paper examines the way that adolescents use gendered language in the classroom setting by looking at specific, gendered lexical items. Building on work in discourse theory, gender ideology, and gender socialization, this study investigates, through speech recording and transcription, the lexical choices of students in a suburban, upstate New York high school. The analysis takes into account a variety of factors, including the gender of the speaker and addressee(s), in examining how diction and gender norms differ between male and female students. From the results, it becomes clear that adolescents use gendered language as a means to challenge certain gender norms, as well as to assert their own identity, gendered and otherwise. Furthermore, the data show that female students both use a broader range of gendered words in speech and have a broader range of gendered terms that can be acceptably applied to them.

Information regarding the 2014 NAPA Student Achievement Awards can be found at NAPA’s website. The deadline for 2014 submissions is still to be announced but is typically in the early summer. For more information on the award, contact the student representative at

To submit contributions to NAPA Section News, please contact Contributing Editor Jo Aiken (



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