Campus: San Francisco State University -- May 07, 2003

San Francisco State University Student Wins Mellon Fellowship

Brian Daniels, a 24-year-old San Francisco State University graduate student in anthropology has won a prestigious Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies to allow him to continue his research with the Shasta Indians in northern California.

Daniels, who lives in San Bruno joins the national ranks of nearly 100 outstanding college students from universities such as Harvard, Yale and Berkeley who were selected for the award after a highly competitive application process through the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. The fellowship covers tuition and fees, and includes a stipend of $17,500. Hundreds of talented college students from across the country compete for the fellowships each year.

"San Francisco State University is extremely proud to have Brian Daniels chosen as one of the country's top young scholars," said Robert A. Corrigan, president of San Francisco State University. "This award is a testament to Brian's remarkable talent, intellectual curiosity and exceptional promise. Brian is an outstanding example of the many success stories here at San Francisco State."

Daniels has the drive and commitment to become an expert anthropologist, predicted Lee Davis, director of SFSU's California Studies Program and a faculty advisor to Daniels. "Brian began to assist me in my work with Native California tribes and proved so capable and trustworthy that he took over a major research project himself and he continues this important historic work with the Shasta people," Davis said.

His work looks at how a group of people adjusts to sudden, drastic cultural change. In his research he has focused on how the culture and religion of the Shasta Indians still thrived following the onslaught of the California Gold Rush.

For his research Daniels has spent numerous hours near the Oregon border compiling oral histories from the elders of the Shasta tribe. "During that time of the Gold Rush, the Shasta Indians faced a sort of collision of cultures with the gold miners. I am trying to find out how they formed a stable community after facing violence that included genocide," he said. "I am finding out that religion and, a close family and social structure helped them survive extremely difficult times." Daniels, who graduates in May with a master's degree in cultural anthropology, has narrowed his choices for doctoral work to either the University of Pennsylvania or UCLA. He will continues his studies in the fall.

Daniels, who was awarded the Kiana Dressendorfer Fellowship in archaeology at SFSU, said he hopes his work will contribute to knowledge about how cultural groups survive after experiencing the severe consequences of change.

"This is an honor made possible by all the supportive and engaged faculty I have had here at San Francisco State," said Daniels. "They worked with me and gave me valuable opportunities to do research that I doubt I could have received elsewhere."

Daniels, whose work earned him the Lynn Reyer Award for Tribal Community Development, also has been assistant director at the Junipero Serra County Park Ohlone Archaeology Project and Field School and assistant director of the Stanford University Alpine Archaeology Project, a survey and excavation which took him to the Swiss-Italian border for work on Roman, Medieval and Napolenic artifacts.

Contact: Ted DeAdwyler (415) 338-7110/ e-mail: tedde@sfsu.edu


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