Inaugural Dr Lee Rogers Berger Scholarship awarded to US anthropology major

  • December 17, 2015

A senior anthropology major at Georgia Southern University in the United States is the proud recipient of the inaugural Dr Lee Rogers Berger Scholarship in Anthropology.

Amanda Shively was presented with the inaugural scholarship, jointly sponsored by Wits University’s Professor Lee Berger and his mother, Rose Mae Bogan Milliken, a professor emerita of maths and developmental studies.

Professor Lee Berger discusses fossils with students. Photo courtesy of Mooshme

The scholarship is designed to provide support to a junior or senior anthropology major at Georgia Southern who has maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average and has expressed an interest in graduate studies in palaeoanthropology, biological anthropology, hominin evolution, evolutionary studies, primate behaviour, primate studies, faunal analysis, or African zooarchaeology.

According to Class Connect, the alumni magazine of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Georgia Southern University, Shively's faculty believes her to be a deserving recipient of the scholarship for her “persistent, ongoing research, her ambition as a student, and her presentation of findings at regional symposia”.

Shively was nominated for the scholarship by assistant professor of anthropology at Georgia Southern, Dr Jared Wood. Her studies include the archaeology and culture of South-eastern Native American groups, which also happens to be Dr Wood’s area of specialty.

Millikan says she and her son are pleased to be able to support current and future Georgia Southern students because they each received incredible support during the course of their own studies and have a great love for the university.

Prof. Berger is the Reader in Human Evolution and the Public Understanding of Science at the Institute for Human Evolution, School of GeoSciences, University of the Witwatersrand, and holds an adjunct professorial position in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas. Berger has also conducted numerous expeditions as an explorer for National Geographic.

His most significant work to date has been the momentous discovery of Australopithecus sediba in 2008 and Homo naledi in 2013, both in the Cradle of Humankind.

Shively’s benefactor is no stranger to her – she is well aware of Prof. Berger’s discovery of Australopithecus sediba in South Africa. 

Her own interest in anthropology was ignited during high school and continued to evolve. “I’ve always been interested in the biological sciences, and biological anthropology has become my specific focus,” she says.

Shively has been working on her undergraduate honours thesis, which focuses on Native American cremated remains found in coastal Georgia, but plans to move to Manitoba, Canada to intern for a year.

The scholarship has given the young student the impetus and confidence she needs to pursue her goals.

“I love what I am doing,” she says, “but it is amazing to know that you have support from faculty, staff, and alumni. The scholarship has also allowed me more wiggle-room financially so that I can spend more time on my research.”

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