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 42 PhD graduates—27 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. Ten 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.


Give now

You can donate online at asufoundation.org or by a check payable to ASU Foundation and noting “Harmon Endowment” in the memo section and mail to

ASU Institute of Human Origins
Attention: Harmon Endowment Scholarship
PO Box 874101
Tempe AZ 85287-4101


Past and Current Recipients

2020
Sebastian Ramirez Amaya
Current Graduate Student

2019
Amanda McGrosky
Postdoctoral Associate, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, Duke University

2018
Ellis Locke
Assistant Professor, Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine

2018
Chalachew Seyoum
Postdoctoral Researcher, Integrative Anatomy, University of Missouri

2017
Neysa Grider-Potter PhD (2019)
Assistant Professor, Long School of Medicine, University of Texas Health at San Antonio

2016
Hallie Edmonds PhD (2017)
Lecturer, Northern Arizona University

2014
Benjamin Schoville PhD (2015)
Lecturer in Archaeology School of Social Science, University of Queensland, Australia

2013
Amy Shapiro PhD (2015)
Data Scientist, Yelp

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