Spotlight Award

Purpose and Criteria for Selection:

The Spotlight Award recognizes the contributions of individuals who work for the good of the archives profession and of archival collections, and whose work would not typically receive public recognition. The nominee(s) should have achieved distinction in one or more of the following ways:

  • Participating in special projects;
  • Exhibiting tireless committee or advocacy work;
  • Responding effectively to an unforeseen or pressing need or emergency;
  • Contributing innovative or creative ideas to the profession;
  • Performing extraordinary volunteerism; and/or
  • Quietly but effectively promoting the profession.


Awarded to an individual archivist or a group of up to five archivists who have collaborated on a project. Preference is given to archivists working in smaller repositories, especially those without institutional support for professional activities.

Sponsor and Funding:

Established in 2005, the award is funded by the Society of American Archivists Foundation. 


A certificate and complimentary registration for the individual recipient or group (of up to five individuals) to the SAA Annual Meeting occurring in the year in which the award is presented.

Selection Committee:

The Spotlight Award Subcommittee of the SAA Awards Committee consists of three members of the Society of American Archivists and one of the co-chairs of the Awards Committee (ex officio). One member of the subcommittee shall be appointed each year by the SAA Vice President to serve a three-year term. The senior member of the subcommittee in years of service shall serve as its chair.

Submission Deadline and Nomination Form:

Click here to preview the nomination form and/or to start a nomination. All nominations must be submitted by February 28 of each year.  

Spotlight Award Recipients:

2023: Emily Pfotenhauer, former digital strategist and grants manager at Wisconsin Library Services (WiLS)

2022: Georgina Tom, archivist at the 'Iolani School

2021: Lee Price, a fundraising professional who specializes in grant writing for cultural institutions

2020: Michelle Ganz, archives director at the McDonough Innovation

2019:  Kelli Luchs (Las Vegas News Bureau archivist, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority) and Ilana Short (former manager of photography collections, Nevada State Museum)

2018:   Bernetiae Reed, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

2017:   No applicants

2016:   Marie Lascu, archivist for Crowing Rooster Arts in New York City and co-founder of Activist Archivists (2011–2015)

2015:   Anne Ostendarp, multimedia archivist for the Knights of Columbus and a consulting and project archivist

2014:   Kate Theimer, Spontaneous Scholarship Program

2013:   Terry Brown, volunteer archivist, Houston Symphony and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

2012:   Cindy Ditzler and Joan Metzger

2011:   Teresa Kiser

2010:   Ann Russell

2009:   Not awarded

2008:   The staff of Afghan Film

2007:   Alan Harris Stein, Chicago Oral History Roundtable for service as “Katrina Relief Librarian”

2006:   Emilie Leumas