Student Awards and Assistantships

General Information

Program Director:

Alexander Roedlach, SVD, Ph.D.
Phone: 402.280.2567

MMA Student Award and Assistantships

The Medical Anthropology Magis Award

The program annually bestows this award to an outstanding student in the program. The original intent of the Ignatian ideal "magis" is Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, meaning "for the greater glory of God." Magis, rooted in this ideal means "the more" or "the greater good" and refers to the value of striving for the better, striving for excellence. It embodies the idea of discerning, of identifying the best choice in a given situation and then acting upon it.

This award is bestowed each year on the student who has made the greatest strides during their time in the program, through one or more of the following:

  • Conducting outstanding original and innovative research
  • Carrying out applied work that has improved the lives of others, or is highly likely to do so
  • Making great leaps in one's own development as a scholar, activist, or in some other area, while being a student in the program
  • Engaging in exceptional service to the MMA Program

"In just one year, I have matured into a beginning scholar, thanks to the program challenging students to develop and explore their interests, to critically analyze health and related social problems, and to seek fair and culturally sensitive solutions to these problems. I hope the program will continue to support those, like me, who dare to change the world!" (Mooka Maboshe-Sitale, 2016 award recipient)

No matter the avenue by which any student has come to be considered a candidate for this award, the recipient of The Medical Anthropology Magis Award will be determined according to the extent to which the student meets each of the following general criteria:

  • Student will demonstrate zeal for the methods, goals, and advancement of medical anthropology
  • Student will demonstrate intellectual curiosity, critical discernment, and creative thinking abilities
  • Student will demonstrate collegiality, ethical behavior, and academic integrity
  • Student will demonstrate a passion for social justice

Program faculty will determine at the end of Spring I semester which student best meets the above criteria. The recipient will be announced at the department's Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony, generally held each Spring. The student will be invited to address the incoming cohort of students during their on-campus orientation, either in person or via Skype.

Award Recipients:

  • 2015: Cathy Orr
  • 2016: Mooka Maboshe-Sitali
  • 2017: Stephanie Keeney Parks

Wilhelm Schmidt SVD Award

The medical anthropology program, in conjunction with the Anthropos Institute and the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), annually bestows this award on the author of the year's best MA thesis.

The award is named in honor of Wilhelm Schmidt SVD (1868-1954), an anthropologist, linguist, and historian of religion. Schmidt was a priest in the Society of the Divine Word, a Catholic missionary congregation committed to the systematic study of culture and society. He founded in 1906 the Anthropos journal, one of the oldest anthropology journals that still exists, and established in 1931 the Anthropos Institute, which has currently an international membership of about 40 anthropologists, sociologists, and scholars of religion, and is associated with professional institutes for the study of culture and religion in Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Papua New Guinea.

Recognizing Schmidt's contributions to anthropology, this award is bestowed each year on one student among all who wrote and successfully defended an MA thesis. The medical anthropology program faculty will assess the theses of the year according to the following criteria:

  • Originality of design - including topic and scope of research
  • Originality of implementation - including conduct of field research
  • Originality of interpretation - including analysis and theoretical insight
  • Originality of presentation - including quality of writing and styles of presentation

Creighton has challenged my thinking and nourished my soul, allowing me to engage in my thesis project that blended my training in anthropology with a strong desire to raise my voice as a patient advocate. The thesis writing process pushed me in a way that made me not only a better students but also a better human being. I believe this is the purpose of education and the reason why I chose Creighton University." (Cathy Orr, 2016 award recipient)

The program director of the medical anthropology program presents the selected candidate and thesis to the International Coordinator of the Anthropos Institute, who, if satisfied with the quality of the thesis, bestows the award to the student. The Society of the Divine Word, Schmidt's religious order, will provide the plaque for the award.

The recipient will be announced at the department's Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony. The student will be invited to address the incoming cohort of students during their on-campus orientation, either in person or via Skype.

Award Recipients:

2016: Cathy Orr for her thesis titled "E-Cigarettes: Smoking Cessation Device or Big Tobacco's New Frontier? Vapers Tell Their Stories in the Face of Pending Regulation by the United States Food and Drug Administration."

2017: Andy Gleason for his thesis titled "Towards an Anthropology of Service-Learning: An Exploration of the Impact of a Cross-Cultural, Service-Learning Experience on Health Professional Students."

 2017: Chad Baber for his thesis titled: "Unraveling Dyslexia: The Medicalization of Learning Differences as a Form of Structural Violence in the American Education System."


Graduate Teaching Assistantships

The program also awards three Graduate Teaching Assistantships each academic year (for the fall and the spring semesters). The program director sends out a call for applications to all students in the program at the end of the first summer semester and the program faculty select the recipients from applicants. The assistantships include a 50 percent tuition reduction and a monthly stipend.

The teaching assistants are assigned to one faculty member and assist him/her in teaching two undergraduate courses in the fall semester and two undergraduate courses in the spring semester.