Ecology, Evolution and Behavior Doctoral Student Wins $10,000 Michael H. Granof Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Christian Rabeling, a doctoral student in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior in the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, has won the $10,000 Michael H. Granof Outstanding Graduate Student Award at the University Co-op/Graduate School Awards for Excellence in Graduate Education.

The Excellence in Graduate Education awards recognize and reward outstanding graduate students for distinguished scholarship, research, writing and teaching.

Rabeling's research focuses on evolutionary biology by using ants and experimental systems. His internationally recognized discovery and collection of the first of its kind species of ant in the Amazon has established his reputation as a world-class entomologist. In addition to his scientific expertise, he is well known in his department as a gifted teacher of undergraduate students. His recent paper about the new ant species was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and received more than 10,000 hits at Google within 72 hours of publication.

The Outstanding Dissertation Award recognizes exceptional work by doctoral students. Three awards of $5,000 each were presented to: Benjamin Hardekopf, Computer Science; Michael Spinetta, Psychology; and Hulya Yildiz from Comparative Literature. Yildiz was the 2007 recipient of the Mitchell Award for Outstanding Graduate Research.

The Outstanding Thesis/Report Award recognizes exceptional work by master's degree students. Three awards of $3,000 each were presented to:  Suzanne Fanger, Human Development and Family Sciences; Charlotte Griffin, Theater and Dance; and Timothy Weinzirl, Astronomy.

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: Naminata Diabate, Comparative Literature; Jeremy Goldbach, Social Work; and Barrett Klein, Ecology, Evolution and Behavior.

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 Catherine Connell, Sociology, for Outstanding Assistant Instructor; Juan Carlos Esparza Ochoa, Sociology, for Outstanding Graduate Research Assistant; and Jaehong Park, Information, Risk, and Operations Management, for Outstanding Teaching Assistant.

"Graduate students make significant contributions across the university," said Victoria Rodríguez, vice provost and dean of graduate studies. "They advance research programs, teach and mentor undergraduates and discover new knowledge. The students being honored with these awards represent the best of graduate education and research at the university."

The Graduate School and the University Co-op hosted the awards presentation on May 12 at the Four Seasons Hotel.