The 2020 Roy Chapman Andrews Society
Distinguished Explorer

Sarah Parcak

Sarah Parcak has been named the recipient of the 2020 Roy Chapman Andrews Society Distinguished Explorer Award. Parcak is an internationally renowned Egyptologist, space archaeologist, and science communicator.

The explorer will share stories about her archaeological expeditions and discoveries in her acceptance speech, “Towards an inclusive future of the past: how to make archaeology for everyone,” during her award ceremony on Friday, April 17 at 4:30 p.m. in Wilson Theatre in Mayer Hall on the Beloit College campus. Earlier that day she will present a program called “The future of exploration: Archaeology in 2040 and beyond” for area youth at Beloit Memorial High School. These programs honor the Andrews legacy and are sponsored by members and supporters of the Society. Distinguished explorers receive a cash prize and a commemorative statue created by noted regional artist O. V. Shaffer.

Sarah Parcak | TED

Parcak will be the 19th recipient of the Distinguished Explorer Award. Paleontologist Neil Shubin, discoverer of the “fish with hands,” received the Society’s most recent award in April of 2019. Other recipients receiving this prestigious award include Michael Novacek, leader of the first Western expedition to the Gobi Desert since Andrews’s research there during the 1920s that unearthed the first nest of fossilized dinosaur eggs; Steve Squyres, scientific principal investigator for the Mars Exploration Rover mission; and Robert Ballard, discoverer of the RMS Titanic shipwreck.

Towards an inclusive future of the past: how to make archaeology for everyone

Award Ceremony and Acceptance Lecture:

Acceptance lecture by Dr. Sarah Parcak, 2020 Distinguished Explorer

    • Friday, April 17th, 2020, 4:30 pm
    • Wilson Theatre in Mayer Hall, Beloit College
    • Public is welcome. Admission is FREE!
      (Bring the kids!)

Celebratory Dinner to follow.

The Stack
Located on the 4th floor of the newly renovated Beloit College Powerhouse
850 Pleasant Street Beloit, WI 53511

    • Buffet style with protein and vegetarian options
    • Second drink is cash only bar/no credit or debit cards.
    • Indicate on reservation if there are food allergies or substitution needs.

As a result of numerous archaeological expeditions to Egypt, Europe, and the Americas, Parcak has provided new insights into the culture of ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Vikings. For Parcak, most of the expeditions have begun with careful manipulation of satellite images that enhances subtle aspects of the terrain, revealing previously unknown archaeological features. She has been a pioneer in this field of “space” archaeology and wrote the first textbook on the subject, Satellite Remote Sensing.

Parcak shares the passion Andrews had as a communicator about science and discovery, authoring numerous scientific publications. Parcak is the author of Archaeology from Space: How the future shapes our Past, a popular account highlighting archaeologic discoveries that have been aided by using satellite imagery and passionately explaining the importance of archaeology and the thrill of participation in such a field.

She has been featured in three BBC productions focusing on ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire, and the Vikings. Parcak is the winner of the 2016 million-dollar TED prize, which she used to establish GlobalXplorer, a platform for crowdsourcing of satellite data that allowed anyone with an internet connection to experience the excitement of identifying potential archaeological sites. The first GlobalXplorer “expedition” was to Peru and produced 700 potential large sites that experts are currently investigating; an expedition to India will be commencing soon.

After receiving her B.A. from Yale University, Parcak earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Egyptian Archaeology at Cambridge University. She is currently a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Parcak is a National Geographic Explorer and Fellow in the Society of Antiquities.

Sarah Parcak

Roy Chapman Andrews Lecture: April 17, 2020

Part 1

Part 2


Reception Dinner

A celebratory reception and dinner honoring Neil Shubin will be held immediately following the acceptance lecture at Beloit College Sanger Science Center.
700 College St.

6:30 p.m. reception
7:00 p.m. dinner

Reservations are required and deadline is April 18

This is a popular event and is known to sell out. Advance reservations and tickets are required for this event.

Reception Dinner Reservations

Members — $60 per person (includes special seating at lecture)
Non-members — $75 per person
Students — $50 (dinner only)

Member table of (8) — $480 (special seating at lecture)
Student table of (8) — $600 (includes special seating at the lecture, private reception, photo opp & book signed by the recipient)
Corporate table of (8) — $600

Menu Choices

  • Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken with Grilled Tenderloin Kabob on a bed of curried rice.
  • Vegetarian – Sweet Potato & Grilled Brussel Sprouts Bowl with cranberry wild rice.
  • No-diary option: same with no cheese.

The Roy Chapman Andrews Society is a 501(c)(3) organization. To comply with the IRS requirements regarding charitable donations for contributions/donations in excess of any value of property or services, your payment is considered a tax-deductible donation.


Student Presentation

Sarah Parcak’s Student Presentation

“The future of exploration: Archaeology in 2040 and beyond”

Sarah Parcak will share stories and discoveries with students while visiting Beloit to accept her award.

Earlier in the day she will present a program specifically geared for students. This presentation is coordinated with area schools and is held at Beloit Memorial High School.

Roy Chapman Andrews Society Student Program