Honors College double-major nominated by Michigan State University for nationally competitive graduate school scholarship

February 19, 2015

Joshua Schnell of Howell, Michigan has been nominated by Michigan State University (MSU) for the nationally competitive Beinecke Scholarship, which pays for graduate studies in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Schnell is an Honors College junior majoring in anthropology in the College of Social Science and religious studies in the College of Arts and Letters.  

If awarded the scholarship, he will receive $4,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school. He plans to earn a doctoral degree in bioarcheology or Mesoamerican archaeology.

Schnell has already distinguished himself while at MSU, including serving as a research assistant to multiple professors. He currently works for Associate Professor Gabriel Wrobel completing three-dimensional (3D) cranial skeleton comparisons, and for Professor Lynne Goldstein performing ritual landscape analysis of Mississippian villages. Additionally, he’s worked with Associate Professor Amy DeRogatis on her Religious Soundmap Project.

He has participated in the University Undergraduate Research & Arts Forum (UURAF) and produced 20 original maps and figures for Professor Kenneth Lewis’ upcoming book.

“Joshua is an outstanding student who easily navigates between disciplines,” said Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore, dean of the MSU Honors College. “He’s shown a propensity to combine what he’s learned in the classroom immediately with what he’s learned from the research distinguished MSU faculty have exposed him to. He is certainly worthy of nomination for the Beinecke Scholarship.”

In addition to his classroom and research activities, Schnell is involved in the Campus Archaeology Program, Meta-Religious Inquirer’s Club of MSU, the MSU Undergraduate Anthropology Club and the MSU Paranormal Society.

A graduate of Howell High School, Schnell is the recipient of the Cole Excellence Award from the Honors College, the Honors College Alumni Association Scholarship, the Charles Hayden Kelly Scholarship from the College of Social Science, and the Samuel Jay Hartt Award from the College of Arts and Letters.

“I would like to continue working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and 3D applications in graduate school because developments in these fields continue to be at the forefront of cutting edge archaeological research,” Schnell said. “Combining GIS and 3D has the potential to completely change the way archaeologists record field notes. I want to make these changes happen, not just watch them happen.”

The Beinecke Scholarship Program was established in 1971 by the Board of Directors of The Sperry and Hutchinson Company to honor Edwin, Frederick, and Walter Beinecke. The Board created an endowment to provide substantial scholarships for the graduate education of young men and women of exceptional promise. The program seeks to encourage and enable highly motivated students to pursue opportunities available to them and to be courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

MSU has produced one Beinecke Scholar since 2011, which is when the university was invited to be a nominating institution. 

The National and International Fellowship and Scholarship (NIFS) Office at Michigan State University, administered by the Honors College, helps interested undergraduate and graduate students to pursue major national and international opportunities by providing information and direct support throughout the competitive application processes. The Honors College serves academically talented, committed students who wish to pursue and achieve academic excellence.