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 Committee Information Minimize

 Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship Minimize

The application period is now closed.

Congratulations to the 2016 scholars:

HUGS Scholarship


Milena Carvalho, University of New Mexico

Danielle Huerta, University of Santa Cruz


Raghda El-Behaedi, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Lisa Small, University of Toronto, Mississauga

HUGS-IFR Scholarship

Cecilia Vasquez, University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship (HUGS)

The SAA Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship (HUGS) helps increase the number of under-represented minorities obtaining degrees in archaeology. It provides funding to minority archaeology students, helping them enhance their education and successfully prepare for a variety of careers in archaeology and heritage management. The scholarship is overseen by the Minority Scholarships Committee of the SAA.

Minorities in Archaeology

Diversity of narratives and heritage is a core principle of archaeological ethics. However, minority groups are under-represented in US professional archaeology, creating an imbalance with consequences, not only in research goals, but particularly in communication with diverse publics. The Minority Scholarship Committee is committed to the inclusion of underrepresented minorities in archaeology and is working to increase recruitment and retention of African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, and other non-European minorities in professional archaeology (if you self-identify as Native American, please apply to the SAA Native American Scholarships program).

Archaeology and other social sciences have been unusual career choices for first generation college students of less privileged sectors of society, and the SAA is committed to making the initial steps toward entry in archaeology more feasible. Funding scholarships is but a single step in bringing the composition of SAA closer to parity with North American populations, assisting individuals in realizing their goals of entering careers in archaeology, assuring diversity of its professional body, as well as the resilience and relevance of American archaeology to diverse populations.

How to Apply for a Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship (HUGS)

The application period is now closed.

Few college financial aid packages cover summer coursework, such as lab or field training, making such study an out-of-pocket expense for many students. The SAA is committed to assisting individuals in realizing their goals of entering careers in archaeology by offering two categories of scholarships: the HUGS and the HUGS-IFR.

  1. HUGS: This scholarship can be used for a field school, to volunteer on a project directed by a professional archaeologist, or to receive other forms of archaeological training. This particular scholarship, however, cannot be used for a field school run by the Institute of Field Research (IFR). For that, see the HUGS-IFR listed below. There will be up to two scholarships for undergraduate students and up to two scholarships for graduate students. Each scholarship is $3,000.

  2. HUGS-IFR: This scholarship is provided by the Institute of Field Research (IFR) and is to be used for an IFR archaeological field school in Summer 2016.

    IFR will cover the program tuition (up to $5,000) for a student who attends an IFR field school. If the field school costs less than $5,000, students cannot receive the cost difference as cash payment. Applicants must clearly state which IFR field school they wish to attend using this scholarship, and they must show that they have been accepted into that field school.

    The SAA HUGS program recognizes that there are additional costs associated with attending a field school (airfare, basic field supplies, etc.), and will thus provide up to $2,000 for expenses related to attending the IFR field school.


The recipients of both the HUGS and HUGS-IFR will be selected by the Minority Scholarship Committee of the SAA.



  1. You must be a member of historically underrepresented minorities in archaeology, including but not restricted to African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, and other non-European minorities.
  2. You must be a citizen or legal resident of either the U.S. or Canada.
  3. At the time of application, you must be enrolled in a regionally accredited university in the United States or Canada, or if outside the United States, a university with equivalent accreditation. 
  4. If the applicant is a graduate student, s/he must be in Year 1 or Year 2 of graduate studies. The applicant cannot already have an M.A./M.S. degree at the time of application.

Note: Alaskan Natives, American Indians, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders are encouraged to apply to the Native American Scholarships program for parallel funding opportunities.

For questions about the application process, please contact the Minority Scholarships Committee Chair, Tiffiny A. Tung, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Vanderbilt University at t.tung@vanderbilt.edu


History: The Minority Scholarships Committee was established in 2010 to administer the Scholarship Fund and oversee scholarship application and awards. The first Scholarships were awarded in 2015 to Gabriel Sanchez (HUGS), Dania Jordan (HUGS), and Sameen Mansoor (HUGS-IFR).

Support for these scholarships comes from the SAA Minority Scholarship Fund, which is currently sustained by individual donations and book royalty donations, as well as corporate partnerships,

To make a tax-deductible donation to the HUGS Fund, go to https://ecommerce.saa.org/saa/Source/Donations/default.cfm

2015 Recipients

Gabriel Sanchez, University of California, Berkeley (HUGS)
Dania Jordan, University of Nevada, Reno (HUGS)
Sameen Mansoor, Virginia Commonwealth University (HUGS-IFR)