College of Arts & Letters Student Awarded the Beinecke Scholarship

picture of a man measuring the distance between eyes on a skull

Joshua Schnell has been nominated by Michigan State University 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.

portrait of a blonde man with glasses standing in front of a self of fossils
Joshua Schnell, a junior in the Honors College at MSU, has been nominated for the national Beinecke Scholarship

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 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.

He has also been 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.

The last MSU student to receive the Beinecke Scholarship was in 2011, which was the first year the university was invited to participate.