Eligibility for the Student Awards:
- The podium paper/poster must be authored and presented by a student member of CAPA in good standing. The student's contribution to writing the paper/poster must be substantive to be eligible. The award will go only to the student author and not to the other non-student authors. If there is more than one student co-author of the paper/poster, the award will be split among the multiple student authors.
- The text or PowerPoint file (podium and poster) as it is to be presented at the meeting must be submitted to the indicate annual meeting coordinator by the date specified by the scientific program coordinator (usually mid-October).
- The papers/posters are judged according to the following form.
- Please read “Guidelines for Student Papers” for more information and helpful advice.
Normally, CAPA-ACAP awards two prizes for student members in good standing at each annual meeting, one for the top podium paper and one for the top poster paper. The value of each award has varied over the years (see list of previous recipients), although the current amount of both awards is $500. The Oschinsky-McKern Award is normally presented for the top podium presentation and the Davidson Black Award is normally awarded for the top poster. It is up to the judges’ discretion to decide whether one or both prizes are awarded to podium or poster papers. It is also possible for students to receive an Honourary Mention for an excellent paper, although this is not accompanied by a monetary award.
The History of the Awards
The first prize awarded to a student was the Ochinsky-McKern (OM) award valued at $50 granted to Dr. Shelley Saunders, who was studying at the University of Toronto at the time. The OM award continued to be the primary source of student funding along with the reimbursement of costs associated with travelling to the conference, and both ranged from $50 to $100 per student depending on the amount of funds available each year (see Secretary/Treasurer reports).
During the 1982 business meeting the motion was approved to use the Davidson Black (DB) funds for a prize for the best paper presented at the annual meeting by a M.A. student and if no such papers were given, then there would be no award (CAPA-ACAP 1984 Newsletter). During the 1983 meeting, an ad hoc committee was formed to make the guidelines for the money allotment clearer and to determine whether such funds would be used for other purposes such as bringing a distinguished speaker to the annual meeting (CAPA-ACAP 1984 Newsletter). Following this, there is little in the archived materials from CAPA-ACAP regarding the Davidson Black fund until the 1989 annual meeting, when the committee judging the student paper awards decided that the Davidson Black Award should be given to the top poster while the Ochinsky-McKern (OM) Award would be given to the top podium presentation (CAPA-ACAP 1990 Spring Newsletter:7) and it was decided that each would be valued at $100 (CAPA-ACAP 1992 Spring Newsletter). However, in 1997, the Canadian Scholars’ Press contributed to CAPA-ACAP funds for student awards, and so the value of both the DB and OM awards was raised to $200 (CAPA-ACAP 1998 Newsletter). In 2008, both awards were again adjusted to the current value of $500 each.
Davidson Black Award (By J. L. Cormack & A. J. Rand, November 2015).
Dr. Davidson Black was a Canadian professor of Anatomy at the Peking Union Medical College in Beijing from 1919 until his untimely death in 1934. In 1927, with the assistance of two colleagues, Amadeus Grabau and Otto Zdansky, he coined the name of our ancient hominin species from Asia, Sinanthropus pekinensis based on the discovery of three teeth from Zhoukoudian (known as the Peking Man site). He was a well-respected international scholar whose accomplishments have been greatly honoured in Chinese Anthropology, but who is less well-known in Canada (CAPA-ACAP Newsletter, July 1976:4).
Four years after its inaugural formation, CAPA-ACAP held an international symposium in 1976 to honour Davidson Black (II) with scientists from Canada, the United States, Germany, France, Indonesia, and China. This symposium resulted in the publication of the volume Homo erectus: Papers in Honor of Davidson Black edited by Becky Sigmon and Jerry Cybulski. During the symposium, Dr. Black's son, Dr. Davidson Black (III), unveiled a National Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada commemorative plaque located on the University of Toronto campus (Black’s alma mater) honouring his father. CAPA-ACAP President Emöke Szathmary spoke at the unveiling and Dr. Harry Shapiro from the American Museum of Natural History gave the symposium memorial address on the significant role that Davidson Black contributed to our understanding of human origins.
Starting in autumn 1981, Dr. Black’s son donated royalties from use of Zhoukoudian film footage originally created by his father to CAPA-ACAP, totalling a donation of over $1000. With Dr. Black (III)’s approval, the CAPA-ACAP Executive decided to create the Davison Black Trust Fund with $100 being given annually to the student judged to have presented the “best paper dealing with the subject of human evolution, broadly defined.” This Davidson Black Fund (now Award) is now granted to CAPA-ACAP student members in good standing who present the best poster at the CAPA-ACAP meeting. Guidelines for the Davidson Black Award were first clearly outlined in the 1992 Spring CAPA-ACAP Newsletter.
Oschinsky-McKern Award (By A. J. Rand, September 2015)
This award was originally instituted in 1975 to honour the memory of Dr. Lawrence Oschinsky, and Dr. Thomas McKern was added the following year. It honours Drs. Lawrence Oschinsky and Thomas McKern, two researchers who were seminal to the study of physical anthropology in Canada and beyond. A brief biography outlining the lives and accomplishments of Drs. Oschinsky and McKern are presented below. Dr. Charles Ernest Eyman (1933-1990) instituted and funded the Oschinsky-McKern Award for the best student paper at the annual conference from his own pocket for over a decade.
Dr. Lawrence Oschinsky (1921-1965) completed his B.A. at Brooklyn College and an M.A. at the University of Chicago studying sociology and general anthropology from 1939 to 1947. From 1947 to 1953 he completed a doctorate in Anatomy, Zoology and Physical Anthropology at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, taking a short hiatus from 1951-1952 where he taught and collected and analyzed data for his dissertation research. From 1953 to 1958, he took up several short-term positions that broadened his teaching and research experience (see Ossenberg 2001). In 1958, he moved to Canada when he was appointed Curator of Physical Anthropology at the National Museum of Man (now the Canadian Museum of Civilization) in the late 1950s and in 1963 he took up an appointment as Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Anthropology at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Oschinsky was passionate about the variation present in human populations, and was inspired by debate with various colleagues and the morphological diversity of Canadian skeletal collections and living Inuit populations. Dr. Oschinsky placed a strong emphasis on understand evolutionary theory and taxonomy (Gaherty et al. 1969), and went on to develop the total morphological pattern, or “the constellation of traits of the nasal bones, cheek bones and mandible that in sum distinguish one group of people from another” (Ossenberg 2001; see also Gaherty et al. 1969) that characterized the “Arctic Mongoloid” facial skeleton and to question the origins and affinities of Inuit peoples. Ossenberg (2001) illustrates that Dr. Oschinsky’s most influential contribution to Canadian osteology was The Most Ancient Eskimo (Oschinksy 1964), in which he used measurements and morphological observations of the cranium of First Nations and Siberian people to illustrate the Dorset crania are clearly affiliate with Inuit rather than other First Nations groups such as the Beothuk of Cree. For more information regarding the contributions of Dr. Oschinsky to osteology in Canada and elsewhere, please see Gaherty et al. (1969), Ossenberg (2001), and Spencer (1997:247).
Dr. Thomas W. McKern (1920-1974) earned his Ph.B. from the University of Wisconsin with a major in anthropology and honors in sociology, zoology and geology in 1943, and received his M.S. in anthropology under the guidance of W. W. Howells in 1948, also from Wisconsin. From 1948 to 1949, Dr. McKern worked with the American Graves Registration service where he developed techniques for post-mortem identification of remains and helped establish identification centres in the Pacific for the identification of American war dead. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1954 from the Univeristy of California, Berkley, and from 1955 to 1958 he held a variety of positions (see Steele 1975:161). He began his career as a professor at the University of Texas in 1958, and at the University of Kansas from 1967 to 1971, and Simon Fraser University from 1971 until his death in 1974.
Dr. McKern played a key role in the development of skeletal biology and forensic anthropology in North America. He was also a passionate teacher, interested in skeletal morphology of prehistoric populations as well as the history of physical anthropology and the natural history of humanity. He is perhaps best known for his research in the field of forensic medicine, specifically the techniques he developed for distinguishing commingled remains and analyzing skeletal age changes in young American males (McKern and Stewart 1957). Furthermore, Dr. McKern was instrumental in formulating the correlation between bone robusticity with the perforation of the coronoid-olecranon septum in the human humerus and the assessment of maximum long bone length from fragmentary elements (Steele 1975:161). He was also an active consultant in identifying unknown human skeletons for several law enforcement agencies in both Canada and the United States and served as associate editor of the Kansas Academy of Sciences (1969-1971) and editorial advisor to Syesis and Science Digest. For more information on the life and accomplishments of Dr. McKern, please see Steele (1975).
Gaherty, G., D. Kettel, J. MacDonald, L. Niemann, B. von Graeve, and E. Arima. 1969. Notes on the Physical Anthropology of Lawrence Oschinsky. Anthropologica 11(2):275-292.
McKern, T. W., and Stewart, T. D. 1957. Skeletal Age Changes in Young American Males. Quartermaster Research and Development Center, Environment Protection
Research Division, Technical Report EP-45. Natick, MA: Headquarters Quartermaster Research and Development Command.
Oschinsky, L. 1964. The Most Ancient Eskimos. Ottawa: The Canadian Centre for Anthropology.
Ossenberg, N. S. 2001. Lawrence Oschinsky: The contribution to Canadian osteology of a Classical Anthropologist. In: Out of the Past: The History of Human Osteology at the University of Toronto, Sawchuck L., Pfeiffer, S. (eds.). Scarborough, ON: CITDPress, University of Toronto at Scarborough.
Spencer, F. (ed). 1997. History of Physical Anthropology: An Encyclopedia, Volume 1. New York: Garland.
Steele, D. G. 1975. Thomas W. McKern 1920-1974. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 43(2):160-164.