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Student research Awards

ARARA believes that one of the best ways to support rock art research is to support students who are pursuing rock art related research during their academic careers. These awards are available to students anywhere in the world. Students can be enrolled in a variety of programs such as anthropology, archaeology, Indigenous studies, art history, fine arts, chemistry/physics, geology, linguistics, or geography. For example, this award is open to students in chemistry working on rock art dating, in linguistics working on interpretation, and in fine arts looking for aesthetic/production-oriented similarities, etc., or pursuing a discipline that we haven't mentioned that will benefit rock art research.

ARARA recognizes that the scope and costs of research projects can be substantially different at the undergraduate, master, and PhD levels of education. As a result, we have three different awards that recognize each of these levels of academic pursuit. Only one award will be funded per year at each level of academic research.

Award funding:
Undergraduate: Not to exceed $500
Master: Not to exceed $1500
PhD: Not to exceed $2500

Reimbursable expenses:

Award funds are designated for the reimbursement of research expenses associated with the publication of a thesis, dissertation, or peer-reviewed academic paper as part of a student’s academic program. The award supports:

  • travel to a rock art site;
  • field work with a qualified mentor or program;
  • laboratory work to further research study and/or literature research;
  • reasonable out-of-pocket travel costs (airfare, mileage, meals, accommodation);
  • field or laboratory equipment;
  • materials for documentation and/or analysis.

This research award will not reimburse salary for research time, travel to meetings to present research, or indirect overhead costs (for example any cost or administrative fees from academic institution).

Qualified Applicants:
Students must be actively enrolled at either a traditional or non-traditional equivalent (NTE) degree program in order to qualify for the awards. Prior recipients in good standing can re-apply for additional projects or research, once the initial award has been fully completed, as long as the applicant is still in a collegiate program or NTE. Past applicants who were not selected are also encouraged to re-apply if their project is still ongoing or if they have continued their education by enrolling in a higher-level collegiate program or NTE. For example, a student can receive an award for a Master’s degree project and then re-submit for a PhD project.

The application deadline is variable based on the timing of the annual ARARA conference where we announce the award recipients (conference information is available under ‘Events’ tab in the main menu). Applications for the Student Research Award must be submitted to the Committee Chair at ( by January 31 of the award year. The application should include:

  • Research proposal no more than 3 pages in length (excluding references) describing the objectives and methodology of the research project, Indigenous involvement, impacts to the study/education of rock art, type of expected product (thesis, dissertation, or peer-reviewed paper), and timeframe/ability to complete the stated research
  • Budget and budget justification
  • Up to 5 images may be included with the application on a separate document. The decision to include images with an application is optional and does not factor into the ranking of individual applications.
  • Two letters of support, including one from the thesis/dissertation chair or academic mentor that certifies that the student is conducting the proposed research along with their expected date of degree completion.

Proposals are reviewed by the Education Committee and approved by the ARARA Board.  A Final Report should be submitted to the ARARA Education Committee ( at the completion of the project (no more than four years after the award was received). Once accepted the award recipient will be required to submit a 5-minute update video that will be shown at the ARARA Conference(s). This video should include research progress, schedule updates, and interesting/unusual observations or data.

The award recipient is encouraged to present the research at future ARARA conferences and submit articles to the American Indian Rock Art publication. The award recipient is eligible for a Student Travel Advance Award ($500) if the recipient presents a paper at an ARARA Annual Conference.

Award winners will be notified by the Education Committee no later than February 26 of the award year. Award recipients are paid at the time of the approval of the award. Recipients are required to provide proof of valid expenditures and refund any unused funds.

Questions and other ARARA Awards:
Questions regarding the Student Research Awards, or the application process should be addressed to the Committee Chair and submitted at ( Other ARARA sponsored awards can be found at ( We encourage all students to review the Castleton Award which can be awarded for unpublished rock art research.

Past recipients include (award not given in years not listed):

2019: Levan Losaberidze

2020: Jordan Schaefe
2021: Robert McBride (Undergrad)
2021: Lucy Gill (PhD)
2022: Jack Hubler-Dayton (Masters) and Mairead Dorey (PhD)
2023: Aleko Zavradashvili (Undergrad), Milena Ramierez (Masters), and Lucia Gutierrez (PhD)

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