FSU anthropologist wins Rising Scholar Award

| Thu, 01/05/23
Jessi Halligan
Assistant professor of anthropology Jessi Halligan. Photo by Kendall Cooper.

A Florida State University researcher has won an award recognizing her early-career research accomplishments in the field of anthropology.

Assistant professor of anthropology Jessi Halligan was recognized with the 2022 Southeastern Archaeological Conference Rising Scholar Award late this fall. The award is the SEAC’s most prestigious for researchers early in their careers, and recipients are chosen by conference officers and past award recipients.

“It is such a huge honor,” Halligan said. “It means that the folks who conduct similar research to my own, and therefore deeply understand it, chose me as the person they think best embodies a rising scholar in the field.”

Halligan conducts geoarchaeology and underwater archaeology research with a focus on how early hunting and gathering societies in the Americas adapted to the rapid environmental changes that occurred at the end of Earth’s last ice age, about 11,500 years ago. Her latest research, funded this summer with a nearly $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, involves field work collecting sediment samples from sinkholes in the Aucilla River Basin southeast of Tallahassee. Due to environmental factors, these samples provide more accurate and detailed evidence of the climate following the last ice age as compared to samples taken from dry land. These samples can help researchers, like Halligan, understand how people adapted to a rapidly changing, potentially aiding modern society in adapting to climate extremes.

“The Rising Scholar Award is this great expression of support for my past work and great expression of hope that my future work will continue to be important and relevant,” Halligan said.

The FSU Department of Anthropology was established in 1949, and it has both employed and graduated some of the top archaeology professionals in the Southeast region. According to department chair and professor of anthropology Tanya Peres, Halligan’s scholarship builds on that legacy.

“We in the department are very proud of Dr. Halligan and her accomplishments as well as the strong mentorship she offers to our students,” Peres said. “The Rising Scholar Award signals to the profession that FSU anthropology is a supportive environment for archaeologists, especially women archaeologists conducting innovative and paradigm shifting research on the deep past.”

For more information about anthropology at FSU and Halligan’s work, visit anthro.fsu.edu.