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Elizabeth H. Harmon Research Endowment

Creating a Legacy of Research

Since its first PhD graduate in 2002, affiliated faculty of the Institute of Human Origins (IHO) have mentored 32 PhD graduates—21 of them women, including IHO’s second PhD graduate, Elizabeth H. Harmon, in 2005.

This visionary endowment gift was established in Elizabeth’s Harmon’s memory by her parents, Dr. Frank and Judy Harmon, and has supported IHO graduate student research relevant to human evolution in Africa. Nine students, mentored by IHO faculty, have received funding from the Elizabeth H. Harmon Research Endowment. Six of the recipients are now pursuing their own careers in human origins science at some of the finest academic institutions across the US and Japan. One recipient is a Silicon Valley data scientist, and two are finalizing their dissertations toward graduation.

Graduate students are the life-blood of a thriving academic-research enterprise. But competition to attract the best students is fierce, and institutional recruitment funding is limited due to decreasing state and federal funding. 

To maintain our leading position in the annual competition for the best and the brightest graduate student candidates, IHO relies more than ever on private philanthropy and the vision of donors who support IHO’s leadership in our graduate-student training program in human origins science.

The funding from the Elizabeth H. Harmon Research Endowment scholarship focuses on a critical period in the student’s training: during their doctoral research, which often takes them overseas to museums or remote field sites, when the pressure is intense to jump-start their own careers.

Students interested in applying for the Harmon Endowment funding must be IHO-affiliated doctoral students. A call for applications will go out to students in the spring semester of each year.

To make a contribution visit the ASU Foundation website and specify your contribution for the "Harmon Endowment."

Contribute to the Elizabeth H. Harmon Research Endowment


Past and Current Recipients

2012 Inaugural Award
Terry Ritzman PhD (2014)
Assistant Professor Department of Neuroscience Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine

Amy Shapiro PhD (2015)
Data Scientist, Yelp

Benjamin Schoville PhD (2015)
Lecturer in Archaeology School of Social Science, University of Queensland, Australia

Hallie Edmonds PhD (2017)
Postdoctoral Research Associate Center for Evolution and Medicine, Arizona State University

Neysa Grider-Potter PhD (2019)
Postdoctoral Fellowship Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

Ellis Locke
Current graduate student

Chalachew Seyoum
Postdoctoral Researcher
Integrative Anatomy, University of Missouri

Amanda McGrosky
Current graduate student