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Graduate students honored for excellence

Eleven current and former graduate students were honored for their excellence in graduate education at the annual Graduate School/University Co-op awards banquet on May 14. Awards were given in five categories.

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Eleven current and former graduate students were honored for their excellence in graduate education at the annual Graduate School/University Co-op awards banquet on May 14. Awards were given in five categories.

A new award was introduced this year to recognize a graduate student of exceptional distinction. The Michael H. Granof Outstanding Graduate Student award and $10,000 prize was presented to Joshua Adams, a doctoral student in astronomy.

A recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Adams is a graduate research assistant on the largest astronomy project ever undertaken in Texas – the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX). Adams has distinguished himself as an expert on the telescope, training German astronomers and presenting his research around the world. His own independent research is focused on a galaxy located 12 billion years back in time and analyzing the data associated with its formation. Additionally, Adams has taught observing methods to undergraduates visiting the McDonald Observatory, has mentored undergraduate astronomy students and participates in community outreach by leading public viewing nights at the Painter Hall Observatory on campus and at the Westcave Preserve for the local chapter of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. His Ph.D. supervisory is Gary J. Hill, Senior Research Scientist in Astronomy.

The other awards presented at the May 14 banquet were Outstanding Dissertation, Outstanding Thesis or Report, Outstanding Graduate Academic Employee, and Excellence in Graduate Research. The University Co-op generously underwrites the banquet and awards.

The Outstanding Dissertation Award recognizes exceptional work by doctoral students. Three awards of $5,000 each were presented to the following students:

  • Lalita M. Calabria, Plant Biology. Dissertation: The Isolation and Characterization of Triterpene Saponins from Silphium and the Chemosystematic and Biological Significance of Saponins in the Asteraceae. Dissertation supervisors: Tom J. Mabry and Stanley Roux.
  • Zachary A. Dorsey, Theatre and Dance. Dissertation: Embodied Resistance: A Historiographic Intervention into the Performance of Queer Violence. Dissertation supervisor: Stacy Wolf.
  • Natasha B. Sugiyama, Government. Dissertation: Ideology and Social Networks: The Politics of Social Diffusion in Brazil. Dissertation supervisors: Wendy Hunter and Kurt Weyland.

The Outstanding Thesis/Report Award recognizes exceptional work by master’s students. Two awards of $3,000 each were presented to the following graduates:

  • Leah E. Hurley, Marine Science. Thesis: Spatial Variability in the Stable Isotope and Lipid Composition of Coral Tissues (Porites Compressa). Thesis supervisor: Tamara K. Pease.
  • Rebecca S. Onion, American Studies. Report: Sled Dog Stories: Domestication, Masculinity, and Nationhood in Alaska, 1898-1925. Report supervisor: Janet Davis.

The George H. Mitchell Award for Excellence in Graduate Research recognizes outstanding research that is substantially in progress. Three awards of $3,000 each were presented to the following students to support their ongoing research.

  • Alexander S. Mikheyev, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. Research project: The Role of Arrival, Adaptation and Mutualistic Interactions in the Invasion of an African Rainforest by a New World Ant. Recommending Professor: Ulrich G. Mueller.
  • Stephanie L. Rivaux, Social Work. Research project: A Twin Study Examining the Role of Multiple Traumas in the Child Sexual Assault and Substance Abuse Dialectic. Recommending Professor: David W. Springer.
  • Caroline Wigginton, English. Intimate Words: Women’s Writing and Community in Eighteenth-Century America. Recommending Professor: Lisa Moore.

The William S. Livingston Outstanding Graduate Student Academic Employee Award recognizes an outstanding teaching assistant, assistant instructor, and graduate research assistant. Three awards of $2,500 each were presented to:

  • Joshua Adams, Graduate Research Assistant, Astronomy. Nominating faculty member: Gary J. Hill.
  • Andrea Hilkovitz, Teaching Assistant, Comparative Literature. Nominating faculty member: Elizabeth Richmond-Garza.
  • Assem Nasr, Assistant Instructor, Radio-Television-Film. Nominating faculty member: Joseph Straubhaar.