top of page

ASA Awards

The Appalachian Studies Association presents many awards at its annual conference. Deadlines for nominations typically fall in December or January. The awards recognize a variety of individuals who contribute to Appalachian communities, scholarship, teaching, and activism. Below is a list of each award. Clicking on the name of each award will take you to its description and application process on this page:

Appalachian Foodways Practitioner Fellowships
Cratis D. Williams/James S. Brown Service Award

Weatherford Awards

Helen M. Lewis Community Service Award

Jack Spadaro Documentary Award

Stephen L. Fisher Award for Excellence in Teaching

Carl A. Ross Appalachian Student Paper Award

e-Appalachia Award

Wilma Dykeman "Faces of Appalachia" Post-doctoral Research Fellowship

Gates-Carawan Artist Award

Click here for Spanish translations. Translated by Yndiana Montes-Fogelquist

Appalachian Foodways Practitioner Fellowships

The Appalachian Foodways Practitioner Fellowships are intended to honor, celebrate, and support foodways tradition bearers and practitioners in Central Appalachia who have made significant and long-term contributions to sustaining and supporting the foodways heritage of their respective communities.

About the Award

Fellows may include but are not limited to home cooks and bakers, seed savers, farmers, community elders, keepers of recipes and traditional foodways knowledge, hunters, and foragers. Applicants must be from an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) designated county and state and priority will be given to applicants from OH, VA, and WV.

The 2024 Appalachian Foodways Practitioner Fellows will be honored at an awards ceremony and invited to present at a session at the 2024 Appalachian Studies Association Annual Conference in Cullowhee, NC. In addition to the monetary award of $4,000 to support their ongoing community-based work, fellows will receive a unique physical award created by an Appalachian artist.

Potential applicants can learn more about the program and apply here:

Deadline is December 15, 2023.

The Appalachian Foodways Practitioners Fellowship is made possible by Mid Atlantic Arts’ Central Appalachia Living Traditions program, in partnership with Grow Appalachia, and Appalachian Studies Association.


Cratis D. Williams/James S. Brown Service Award

The Williams/Brown Award is given to an individual who has made exemplary contributions to Appalachia, Appalachian studies, and/or the Appalachian Studies Association.

About the Award

This award was instituted in 1993 as the Cratis D. Williams Service Award. Cratis Williams helped pioneer the field of Appalachian studies with his influential 1961 Ph.D. dissertation, “The Southern Mountaineer in Fact and Fiction.” Dr. Williams’ work is characterized by his interdisciplinary approach to understanding the cultural life and history of the region. The symposium held upon his retirement from Appalachian State University in 1976 was a catalyst for the formation of the Appalachian Studies Association.

In 2000, the award was renamed to also honor James S. Brown. Jim Brown devoted a career to understanding community life in eastern Kentucky. He graduated from Berea College in 1937 and began his studies at Harvard in 1941, focusing his research on kinship structure, social change, and the settlement of migrants from rural Kentucky into new urban settings. A sociologist on the faculty of the University of Kentucky from 1946 to 1982, Dr. Brown’s pioneering studies of the region’s society, demography, and migration provided a solid foundation for the field of Appalachian studies.

Nominations include a two-step process:

  1. Nominations, due to the chair of the selection committee by January 31 and should include the following:

    • A letter of nomination including a brief statement highlighting the individual's specific contributions

    • The individual's c.v. / resume or a list of projects, awards, and accomplishments relative to serving the region, Appalachian Studies, or the ASA

    • Three letters of support from individuals and/or organizations that can attest to the person's contributions to the region, Appalachian Studies, or the ASA

  2. Following a review of the nominations, the selection committee will determine if they would like to request additional information about one or more finalists before selecting the award recipient.

Please don't hesitate to email any questions to


Weatherford Awards

The Weatherford Awards, presented jointly by the ASA and Berea College, honor works published in the prior calendar year that “best illuminate the challenges, personalities, and unique qualities of the Appalachian South.” Awards are given in three categories: nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. The winners each receive $500.

About the Award
The oldest of all these awards, the Weatherford was instituted in 1970, before the ASA was formed. Established by Alfred Perrin of Cincinnati, the award was originally supported by Berea College’s Appalachian Center and Hutchins Library. In 2000, the ASA replaced the Hutchins Library as the joint supporter with Berea’s Appalachian Center, which in 2008 was renamed the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center.

The awards commemorate the life and achievements of W.D. Weatherford, Sr., a pioneer and leading figure for many years in Appalachian development, youth work, and race relations, and of his son, Willis D. Weatherford, Jr., late Berea College President.

Through 2002, the award was given only to a single book. From 2003 to 2009, two awards were given, one for a work a non-fiction and one for a work of fiction or poetry. In 2010, a third Weatherford Award for a work of poetry was established to honor the life and work of Dr. Grace Toney Edwards, former Director of the Appalachian Regional Studies Center at Radford University.

Find further information here:


  • Subject matter of the books must be Appalachian or the books must be set in Appalachia. Books will be considered upon the request of the publisher, a member of the Weatherford Award committee, or any reader. The person making the request is responsible for making the nomination and supplying seven copies of the book to the award committee at the address below. All nominations and seven copies of the book must be received before November 1. If books can’t be submitted before that time, please use the nomination letter to inform of when they can be expected. Books considered must have been first published during the year for which the award is made. No self-published books will be considered.

Note: Only the winner and the finalist for the award in each category will be announced.

Chair of the Selection Committee
Chris Green, Director, Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, CPO 2166, 205 North Main Street, Berea College, Berea, KY 40404,


Helen M. Lewis Community Service Award

The Helen Lewis Award is given to an individual or an organization that has made exemplary contributions to Appalachia through involvement with and service to its people and communities.

About the Award
Instituted in 2001, this award honors educator and activist Helen Lewis. In 1969, Lewis taught the one of the first known courses in Appalachian Studies at Clinch Valley College (now University of Virginia at Wise). Lewis shaped the field of Appalachian studies by emphasizing community participation and challenging traditional perceptions of the region and its people. Her contributions to the region, including her activist work with Appalshop and The Highlander Center, are recorded in a collection of Lewis’s writings and memories, Helen Matthews Lewis: Living Social Justice in Appalachia (2012).


  • Nominations, due by January 31, should include a statement regarding the individual or organization’s specific contributions to the region or its people, accompanied by at least two letters of support.

Chair of the Selection Committee
Sandy Ballard, Belk Library, Box 32026, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608,

Helen M. Lewis Service

Jack Spadaro Documentary Award

The Spadaro Award is given annually to recognize the producer of the best nonfiction film or television presentation on Appalachia or its people. The winner receives $250.


About the Award
The award, established in 2005, honors the activist and whistleblower Jack Spadaro, who spent his career working within the coal mining industry for the betterment of the Appalachian community.


  • Nominations should be made by January 31. Works may be entered by the producer, an agent, sponsoring organization or company, or distributor. (The producer may also be the director.) Applicants need not be members of the Appalachian Studies Association. There is no entry fee. Entrants will receive notification of receipt of entry/entries by e-mail. All reasonable care will be taken; however, no responsibility is accepted for loss or damage, or for entries that are not received by the due date.



  • A work shall be eligible if it is nonfiction and the content focuses primarily on an Appalachian subject. The producer is defined as that person who has the artistic vision. Producers may be citizens or residents of any country. Producers may be deceased. Works of joint authorship are eligible (defined as joint responsibility by two producers). Works may not be entered in the name of a committee. The work must be the producer’s work and not work for hire. The decision by the Award Committee of an entrant’s eligibility is final.


  • The Award will go to the entrant judges deem to possess the highest merit. Only one award will be given annually. Judges shall declare relevant conflicts of interest immediately. The decision of the judges is final and conclusive.

Technical Requirements for Submission

  • All title entries must be finished and not works-in-progress. The preferred method of submission is through Filmfreeway. If a project is unable to be submitted through Filmfreeway, nominators may contact the selection committee chair to arrange for another method of submission. If not in English, video must include English subtitles or an English transcript.

Filmmakers can upload their work here:

Co-Chairs of the Selection Committee
Tom Hansell,
Meredeth McCarroll,

Spadaro Documentary

Stephen L. Fisher Award for Excellence in Teaching

The Stephen L. Fisher Award for Excellence in Teaching honors individuals dedicated to intellectual rigor and pedagogical integrity in constructing and delivering inclusive knowledge about Appalachia and its people. Thanks to sponsorship by East Tennessee State University’s Center of Excellence for Appalachian Studies and Services, the winners, one post-secondary educator and one K-12 educator, will each receive $250. Selection of the award winners will be made by the ASA Education Committee (Kathryn Engle, Zachary Greene, Joy Gritton, Carly Pugh, Sylvia Shurbutt, Tim Thomas, Leah Vance-Berg, and Ted Olson, chair).

About the Award
The award was established in 2013 by the ASA Education Committee chaired by Carol Baugh. In 2015, the award was named in honor of Stephen L. Fisher, professor of political science from 1971 to 2006 at Emory & Henry College, where he helped create an Appalachian studies minor, the Appalachian Center for Community Service, and an interdisciplinary service-learning major in Public Policy & Community Service. Professor Fisher was the 1999 Carnegie Foundation Outstanding Baccalaureate College U.S. Professor of the Year and won numerous additional teaching awards.


  • Candidates may be nominated or may self-nominate. Preliminary nominations must be submitted by November 15th. By December 15th the Education Committee will invite finalists’ nominators to submit a full nomination packet, which is due by January 31st. Full nomination packets must be submitted in a single PDF file as an attachment to an e-mail to 

A preliminary form can be found here:

Full nomination forms can be found here:

Chair of the Selection Committee
Ted Olson, 

Excellence in Teaching

Carl A. Ross Student Paper Award

The Ross Award is granted to one student in each of two categories: middle/high school students and undergraduate/graduate students. The authors of the winning papers receive $100 each.

About the Award
Established in 1984 as the "Student Paper Award," this award honors Carl A. Ross, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University at the time of his death in 1988.


  • All papers must adhere to guidelines for scholarly research. Middle/high school papers should be 8 - 15 pages in length. Undergraduate/graduate papers should be 15 - 30 pages in length. Nominations should be submitted by emailing a Microsoft Word copy of the paper to the chair of the selection committee before January 15.

  • Papers submitted to the undergraduate/graduate competition must have been completed during the current or previous academic year. Submissions must include proof of student status during the current or previous academic year; documentation may consist of a copy of a schedule of classes or (unofficial or official) transcript or a letter from a faculty advisor (which should include the faculty advisor’s e-mail address, phone number, and mailing address).

  • Students who wish to present their papers at the conference must also submit a proposal for participation by the submission deadline (generally in October). Costs of attending the conference are the winners’ responsibility. Students may be eligible for scholarships.

Chair of the Selection Committee
Casey LaFrance,

Past Recipients
Return to list of awards

Ross Student Paper

e-Appalachia Award

The e-Appalachia Award is given annually in recognition of an outstanding media source that provides insight on Appalachia and its people, or provides a vital community service to Appalachians. The winner receives $250.

About the Award
The award was established in 2001 by the Website Committee chaired by Phil Obermiller.



  • Candidates may be nominated or may self-nominate. By January 31, nominators should send the following to the chair of the selection committee: name of the media source, URL of the media source, name and contact info for the nominator, and (if different) the name and contact info for a representative of the website.

Submit applications to the Appalachian Studies Association at

Sophia Enriquez

Dykeman Pot-doc

Wilma Dykeman "Faces of Appalachia" Post-doctoral Research Fellowship

The Dykeman Fellowship provides $3,000 to support research related to gender, race, and/or ethnicity in Appalachia in years when funding is available from the fellowship’s endowment.

About the Award
The fellowship honors Wilma Dykeman Stokely, whose nonfiction and novels chronicle the people and land of East Tennessee. Founded in 2008 with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Appalachian Studies Association (ASA), this fellowship is designed to provide funding in the amount of $3,000 to one person annually (when funding is available) to support research related to the goals of the endowment — promoting scholarship on gender (including gender identities and sexualities), race, and/or ethnicity in Appalachia.

ASA members who have recently earned a doctoral degree from an accredited institution (up to seven years prior to the announcement of the fellowship competition) are eligible to apply for this fellowship. Fellowship applicants must have been members of ASA for one year prior to applying and must maintain membership through the course of the fellowship period. No person may receive the fellowship more than one time.


  • Applicants should email their proposals, including the following parts, to Mary Thomas ( by December 31.

    • Current curriculum vitae

    • Contact information

    • Proposal of no more than 1500 words

    • Names and contact info for two references

  • The curriculum vitae should highlight research activities related to gender, race, and/or ethnicity in Appalachia that are relevant to the topic to be pursued. The proposal should outline the scholarship they intend to pursue with the support of the fellowship money. The research may be a continuation of prior research or the beginning of a new project. The references provided should be people familiar with the applicant’s qualifications to do the proposed research.


Fellowship funding may be used for salary support, travel expenses for travel to research collections, to conduct other activities related to research (e.g., to collect oral histories,) or for expenses such as purchasing relevant books or copying costs. Because the fellowship is designed to promote research activity, expenses such as subventions to publishers or costs of illustrations for a publication are excluded.

The fellowship will be paid to the recipient in two checks—one at the outset of the project and one at the completion. The recipient will also receive a 1099 form, as the fellowship funds are taxable in accord with IRS regulations.

The fellowship recipient will be announced at the awards ceremony at the ASA annual conference. Recipients are expected to submit their work to be presented (at own expense) at the annual ASA meeting immediately following the granting of the award, even if the work funded by the fellowship is not yet complete. For example, the person receiving the award for the 2018-19 academic year will present their work at the March 2019 conference. The recipient is also expected to provide an article summarizing the project for the Fall ASA newsletter, Appalink, following word limits and other guidelines provided by the editor.

All publications or other products supported in full or in part by this fellowship must acknowledge that the publication or product was supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the ASA, with the understanding that neither the NEH nor the ASA is responsible for the views or content of such publications or products.

Fellowship proposals will be reviewed by a committee of three members of the ASA, chosen annually by the ASA Steering Committee and consisting of ASA members who have earned doctorates from accredited institutions. Award selection committee members will serve three-year terms, with initial staggered terms and one member chosen each year thereafter. Selection committee members may not apply for the fellowship until at least one calendar year after they have served on the committee. Former fellowship recipients are encouraged to serve on the selection committee following their fellowship period.

Althea Webb,

Gates-Carawan Artist Award

The Gates-Carawan Artist Award recognizes an individual for artistic potential or artistic contributions to Appalachia in the realms of literary, visual, oral, musical, or other arts. The winner receives a physical award produced by a regional artist and either a $500 stipend or mentoring in her/his field.

With this award, the ASA seeks to recognize and cultivate artists who are working in the spirit of the award's namesakes, Bob Gates and Guy and Candie Carawan—socially conscious artists who supported and encouraged the work of other regional artists.

About the Award
The Gates-Carawan Artist Award honors activist filmmaker Bob Gates and activist musicians Guy and Candie Carawan. The late Bob Gates was an award-winning photographer and independent filmmaker whose work explored environmental and cultural topics in West Virginia's coal region. Folksingers and activists Guy and Candie Carawan have dedicated their lives to social justice since the Civil Rights Movement and continue their work in the struggle for peace at the Highlander Center in New Market, Tennessee.

The award was established in 2015 thanks to the efforts of the Bob Gates Working Committee, Scott Goebel, Jack Spadaro, Jack Wright, Catherine Pancake, Jim Webb, Mari-Lynn Evans, and Bob Henry Baber, in cooperation with the ASA Awards Committee.


  • Nominations should be made by December 1st and may be put forth by any Appalachian Studies Association member. Nominators for artistic potential candidates should be willing to engage in some form of mentoring between April 15th and October 15th immediately following the award presentation. There is no entry fee. Entrants will receive notification of receipt of entry/entries by e-mail. All reasonable care will be taken; however, no responsibility is accepted for loss or damage, or for entries that are not received by the due date. Nominees that did not win the award will be eligible for nomination the following year.


  • The Gates-Carawan Artist Award seeks to support artists who are working without any financial support deemed likely to influence the nature or content of their artistic endeavors. Independent artists are particularly encouraged to apply. Students, post-docs, and those supported by independent arts grants and educational scholarships are welcome to apply. Collectives, cooperatives, or other organized groups will be eligible. Eligible artists must be working in the region and/or have ties to Appalachia (in the broadest and most inclusive sense).The decision regarding an entrant's eligibility is final.


  • The Award will go to the artist whom the Selection Committee deems to possess the highest merit. One award will be given annually, except under circumstances where the Selection Committee agrees that a second award is needed. Members of the Selection Committee shall declare relevant conflicts of interest immediately. The decision of the Selection Committee is final and conclusive.

Requirements for Submission

  1. Completed Nomination Form, including complete contact information for the nominee should the Selection Committee require further information.

  2. A letter of nomination (approximately 500-750 words) that makes the case for the award. In the case of nominating for artistic potential, the letter should clearly state if and how the nominator will engage in mentoring the nominee.

  3. Up to three (3) additional letters of support.

  4. Up to five (5) images of artist's work, to be submitted as a single digital file.

Award Prize Details

  1. The winner will receive a physical award produced by a regional artist.

  2. An "artistic potential" winner may receive mentoring that includes assessment of technique, professional critique of work, or other interaction to be done in person or remotely / digitally as both parties find agreeable.

    • Before the presentation of the award, the selection committee, the nominator, and the winner will create a detailed mentoring plan for a period of 8 to 20 hours between April 15th and October 15th immediately following the award presentation.

    • Both mentor and mentee will write a letter of reflection on completion of 8-20 hours (or its agreed equivalent) of mentoring, to be submitted to Appalink by July 31 of the year following the award year.

    • The committee reserves the right to award a stipend for the "artistic potential" category instead of, or in addition to, any mentoring provided.

  3. When an accomplished winner is recognized for "artistic contributions" to Appalachia and mentoring may be neither appropriate nor desired, the additional award will be a $500 stipend.

Gates-Carawan Artist
bottom of page