Religious Studies Student Wins National Award

College of Arts & Letters senior Joshua Schnell has won a National Science Foundation Award (NSF) from the Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

portrait of a man with blonde hair and glasses

Schnell is an Honors College senior double majoring in Religious Studies in the College of Arts & Letters and Anthropology in the College of Social Science.

Close to 17,000 students applied for this year’s NSF awards with only 2,000 individuals being named recipients from the Graduate Research Fellowship Program. The awards recognize individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant research achievements, with the goal of helping propel this country’s future innovations and economic growth. This year’s awardees represent a diverse group of scientific disciplines and come from all states.

In the fall, Schnell will attend Brown University (Providence, R.I.), with full funding for six years, to pursue a Ph.D. in Anthropology, with a focus on Archaeology. He will conduct archaeological fieldwork in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico studying the ancient Maya.

I honestly don’t think I’d be where I am now had I gone to a different school.

“I honestly don’t think I’d be where I am now had I gone to a different school,” Schnell said. “It was all of the amazing research mentors I’ve met, my friends and colleagues in my majors, MSU’s focus on undergraduate research, and all of the opportunities that came from those that enabled me to pursue a Ph.D.”

While at MSU, Schnell has served as a research assistant to multiple professors. He currently works for Associate Professor Gabriel Wrobel completing three-dimensional cranial skeleton comparisons, and has worked for Professor Lynne Goldstein performing ritual landscape analysis of Mississippian villages. Additionally, he’s working with Associate Professor Amy DeRogatis on her Religious Soundmap Project.

Schnell has participated in the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF) and won the anthropology section of UURAF this year with his project, “Going digital: Toward a sustainable program for the three-dimensional research and analysis of bioarchaeological skeletal remains in the MSU Bioarchaeology Lab.”

Schnell will be graduating in May from the Honors College with a B.A. in Religious Studies as the Religious Studies Outstanding Interdisciplinary Scholar. He also will receive a B.S. in Anthropology as the Outstanding Senior in Anthropology. He hopes to pursue a tenure-track university position after finishing his Ph.D. at Brown.