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Frank de Caro Memorial Undergraduate Award in Folklife Field Research and Media Documentation

Frank de Caro, 1981 Photo courtesy of Nick Spitzer

Thanks for your interest in this opportunity! This prestigious award is designed to support exceptional undergraduate students with a passion for qualitative research, particularly in the vibrant realm of Louisiana folklore and folklife. Created in memory of the renowned folklorist and educator, Dr. Frank de Caro, this award offers an unparalleled opportunity to delve into the rich cultural tapestry of Louisiana while leaving a lasting impact through media documentation.

About the Award

The Frank de Caro Memorial Undergraduate Award is made possible by the M.J. Sindler Family Fund for Culture and Media, established by the photographer, media arts educator, and documentary television producer, Mark J. Sindler. This award aims to honor the legacy of renowned educator and folklorist Dr. Frank de Caro.

Award Details

  • Funding provided for an exceptional undergraduate student interested in qualitative research, focusing on Louisiana folklore and folklife.
  • 10 hours per week for one academic year devoted to a qualitative fieldwork project supervised by the Center for Louisiana Studies staff.
  • Funding up to $2,000 per semester (Fall and Spring)
  • Materials collected will become part of the Center for Louisiana Studies’ permanent collection.

Who Should Apply

We welcome applications from current UL Lafayette undergraduate students with a keen interest in:

  • Folklore and Folklife
  • Communications
  • Moving Image Arts
  • Journalism
  • Documentary Photography
  • Traditional Music
  • Modern Languages
  • Cajun and Creole Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Public History

Position Description

As a recipient of the Frank de Caro Memorial Undergraduate Award, your responsibilities will include:

  • Regular meetings with CLS staff for guidance and support.
  • Devoting 10 hours per week to your project throughout the academic year.
  • A public presentation of your fieldwork project.

How to Apply:

Interested candidates should submit their applications by May 1 via email to with the subject line “De Caro Fellowship Submission”.

Applications must include:

  • One letter of reference from a UL Lafayette professor.
  • A CV/resume detailing your coursework.
  • A description of your proposed fieldwork project, including your definition of fieldwork and how you plan to engage in it.
  • Details on the media and content that will be created as part of your fieldwork project.
  • Description of the deliverables resulting from your project (e.g., photo series, short film, exhibit, podcast, website).

Don't miss this incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in Louisiana's rich cultural heritage and to gain experience in one of UL Lafayette's most vibrant research centers.

For any inquiries or further information, please contact us at

Mark J. Sindler Legacy Statement for the
Frank de Caro Memorial Award for Undergraduate Folklife and Media Documentation at the Center for Louisiana Studies

Frank de Caro was a beloved, nationally renowned folklorist, who passed away in 2020 at age 76. Known for his quick wit, quirky sense of humor, and far-ranging scholarship, Frank authored or edited more than a dozen books, including Louisiana Sojourns: Travelers’ Tales and Literary Journeys, which received the LEH Humanities Book of the Year Award in 1999. Throughout his life, Frank was active in the Louisiana Folklore Society, serving as its president and editing the Louisiana Folklore Miscellany.

I first met Frank in 1990, while he was conducting research for his book Folklife in Louisiana Photography: Images of Tradition, and he interviewed me about my project documenting the Vietnamese and Laotian refugees who had settled here after the Fall of Saigon. In the years that followed, Frank and I got to know each better during our discussions at the annual conferences of the Louisiana Folklore Society, as well as through Frank’s participation on the Folklife Advisory Board of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, where I worked on staff to help develop and coordinate programming for the Fest’s Folklife Village.

My reasons for creating this new award at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Center for Louisiana Studies – which follows my previous donations of professional analog video playback equipment and field tapes documenting the early years of the Louisiana Folklife Festival in downtown Eunice – are twofold. First, I want to support more directly the Center’s outstanding work in researching, preserving, and promoting the rich cultural traditions and folkways of Louisiana. With its small but passionately dedicated staff, the Center for Louisiana Studies has amassed an archive of national and international importance, and Center for Louisiana Studies' ongoing fieldwork efforts continue to build the collections there. I’m also a big fan of the Center’s array of public programming, particularly their interpretive sessions held at the Scène Atelier during the annual Festivals Acadiens et Créoles.

Second, I vividly remember how thrilling it was for me to receive a grant for field research and photography while I was an anthropology undergraduate at Tulane University and how that award bolstered my work. By establishing the Frank de Caro fund, I hope to provide ULL students with a similar experience – one that will also have a ripple effect on their lives and careers. amassed an archival collection that has become an incomparable resource for the region, the nation, and beyond.

Mark J. Sindler