Photo by: Purwo Kuncoro

Announcing the Joan Cogswell Donner Field School Scholarship

Students excavating at field school in Ethiopia. Photo courtesy of John Kappelman.

For students who yearn for a career in paleoanthropology or primatology, attending field school is key to obtaining the skills they need to search for fossils, observe primates in the wild, or conduct archaeological research. However, the cost of attending field school is often out of reach for students from the countries where field schools are located.

“The tellers of the story of where all humans came from must be as diverse as all the people whose origin story they tell,” said Dr. Isaiah Nengo, a five-time Leakey Foundation grantee from Kenya, associate director of the Turkana Basin Institute and research assistant professor at Stony Brook University. “Real knowledge is lived knowledge,” said Nengo, “my experiences in the Koobi Fora field school in Turkana led me to know that my desire to be a paleontologist was for real.” 

The Leakey Foundation is proud to announce the Joan Cogswell Donner Field School Scholarship which will provide grants of up to $2,000 to students from countries where there are abundant scientific resources but limited resources for academic development.

Joan Cogswell Donner (left) with Mary Leakey.

Funding for this scholarship was provided by Leakey Foundation Life Trustee Joan Cogswell Donner who was inspired to help young people who share her interest in prehistory and human evolution. “From early childhood, I developed a fascination from reading the children’s books The Tree-Dwellers, The Early Cave Men, and The Early Sea People, written by Katharine Elizabeth Dopp.” Cogswell Donner’s fascination deepened when she was introduced to Richard Leakey and traveled with her husband, Bob Donner, to visit Leakey at Lake Turkana in Kenya. “This experience had a major impact on me,” said Donner, “and combined with my early interest in this subject, kindled a lifelong passion. It helped me focus on the idea of young people from African countries being able to share this experience and to have the opportunity to become educated in and pursue their interests in paleoanthropology and primatology. My wish is that the Joan Cogswell Donner Field School Scholarship will assist in achieving this vision.”



The Joan Cogswell Donner Field School Scholarship is open to students who are currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Applications are now being accepted year-round. Click here to learn more and apply

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