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 Award, named for a former graduate student, recognizes the best paper by a first-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 second-year student. In addition to these awards for paper writing efforts in the early years of the program, the Department confers the John R. and Marjorie C. Moore Award on the graduate student who has made the best effort to publish a paper in an academic journal during the preceding year, and the writer of the best dissertation is honored by receiving The Dr. and Mrs. Bill V. Lessley Dissertation Excellence Award. Dr. John R. Moore and Dr. Billy Lessley were esteemed professors in the Department from 1963 to 1995 and 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 Lantin Award and 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.
All graduate students are encouraged to nominate their own journal publishing effort of the previous year for the John R. and Marjorie C. Moore Award. The award is based on efforts to refine a sole-authored paper, successfully negotiate the academic journal editorial process, and quality of the journal, among other things. For more details see the The John R and Marjorie C Moore Award.
An awards ceremony is held in the fall. Plaques hanging in the Department's Conference Room in 3121 Symons Hall enshrine the name of each recipient. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org by the August 31st deadline. E-mail submission is acceptable as long as it is received before midnight on the 31st.