Vincas Steponaitis receiving the Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring from Graduate School Dean Steve Matson.
Vincas Steponaitis (right) receiving the Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring from Graduate School Dean Steve Matson

Vincas Steponaitis, professor of anthropology within the UNC-Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences, has received the 2015 Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring.

The Graduate School presents the annual award to a faculty member who has: encouraged graduate students to establish their own records of scholarly activity, provided a supportive environment that brings forth the very best from students, and achieved a successful record of graduate degree completion among students he or she has advised.

In presenting the award to Steponaitis at the 2015 Doctoral Hooding Ceremony, Graduate School Dean Steve Matson said, “Vin has a reputation for superb mentorship, and his long list of former students represent some of the most well-respected and successful young scholars in the field of Native American archaeology.”

Megan Kassabaum, August 2014 doctoral graduate in anthropology, with her dissertation adviser, Vincas Steponaitis, at the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony
Megan Kassabaum, August 2014 doctoral graduate in anthropology, with her dissertation adviser, Vincas Steponaitis, at the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony

Steponaitis has successfully mentored more than 20 doctoral students during his career. Each of those individuals, Matson said, is now making “impactful and important contributions in their fields.”

Current and former graduate students nominated Steponaitis for his award. One nomination letter said the following: “He has guided me through the hoops of graduate school, the field, the job market and my first year as a professor. He has provided me with endless advice and taught me to be a better scholar. In the process, he has been unceasingly generous.

“More than anything, I am happy to have completed this process as colleagues and friends. I look forward to collaborating with him throughout the career he has helped me to start.”

Steponaitis joined the University faculty in 1988 and has directed the UNC-Chapel Hill Research Laboratories of Archaeology since that year. He is the chair of the Curriculum in Archaeology at UNC-Chapel Hill and serves on the advisory panel for the National Science Foundation’s archaeology program.

By Deb Saine, The Graduate School

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