The Department encourages its graduate students to begin writing research papers early in the program and each year recognizes the best paper submitted in each of three categories with one of three scholarships, each of which comes with a cash prize. The Rhona Lantin Scholarship, named for a former graduate student, recognizes the best paper by a second-year student. The Bessie H. DeVault Award, named for the wife of Dr. Samuel H. DeVault, chair of the Department of Agricultural Economics from 1922 to 1951, is presented to the author of the best paper by a third-year student. In addition to these awards for paper writing efforts in the early years of the program, the Department confers the writer of the best dissertation is honored by receiving The Dr. and Mrs. Bill V. Lessley Dissertation Excellence Award. Dr. Billy Lessley was an esteemed professor in the Department from 1965 to 1991, respectively.
All Ph.D. dissertations submitted and approved by the Graduate School in the year preceding the award submission deadline are automatically considered. Dissertations are judged on criteria comparable to the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association dissertation award competition.
Papers for the DeVault Award are judged on broad criteria of excellence comparable to that used for evaluating papers for publication in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics or the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, or the Journal of Development Economics. Students may submit term papers done for coursework or may submit papers developed as part of their research assignment or other scholarly activities. Note that both Masters and PhD students are eligible for these awards.
An awards ceremony is held in the fall. These prizes become items of prestige on the résumés of those receiving them.
Papers and descriptions of journal publishing efforts are submitted to Ms. Pin Wuan Lin at email@example.com in one PDF file by the August 31st deadline. E-mail submission is acceptable as long as it is received before midnight on the 31st.