Serena Stein Garners Undergraduate Anthropology Prizes

December 21, 2009

Serena Stein, an anthropology and comparative literature double major who is graduating in December 2009, recently received two prestigious undergraduate anthropology prizes.

Stein was presented with the Rudolf Virchow Undergraduate Student Paper Award by the Society for Medical Anthropology, a section of the American Anthropological Association, at the association's meeting in December. The award was given for her undergraduate thesis, "Health at the Margins: Distress and Illness after the 2005 Mudslide in Santiago Atitlán, Guatamala."

Stein also won the Carrie Hunter-Tate Award from the National Association of Student Anthropologists. The award recognizes a student anthropologist each year who demonstrates enthusiasm for service to the profession through both academic and professional achievements.

In addition, Stein was Penn's 2009 recipient of the Beinecke Scholarship, awarded last spring. The scholarship is awarded to students who plan to enter a master's or doctoral program in the arts, humanities or social sciences, and have demonstrated intellectual ability, scholastic achievement and personal promise. Recipients are nominated from 100 invited colleges and universities; 21 new scholarships were awarded in 2009.

Stein, who was both a Benjamin Franklin and University Scholar, travelled to the Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala with the Guatemala Health Initiative in 2008 to research questions of distress and medicalization among Tzutujil Maya survivors of the 2005 Hurricane Stan mudslide. Stein noted that this research experience "really opened my eyes to the complexities of disaster relief and the distress that humanitarian aid shortcomings can produce." Following her December graduation, Stein plans to work in Brazil on tuberculosis treatment programs in a poor community in Rio de Janeiro and go on to graduate studies in England in the fall.