Graduating seniors awarded 2015 Firestone and Golden medals, Kennedy Thesis Prize
Graduating seniors recently received the 2015 Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research, the Robert M. Golden Medal for Excellence in Humanities and Creative Arts, and the David M. Kennedy Honors Thesis Prize for their undergraduate capstone projects.
Just as they were marking the end of their undergraduate careers, 33 graduating seniors had something else to celebrate. They were recipients of the 2015 Firestone and Robert M. Golden medals and the David M. Kennedy Honors Thesis Prize.
Firestone and Golden medals are awarded to the top 10 percent of theses completed in a given year. The Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research recognizes theses written in the social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering and applied sciences. The Golden Medal for Excellence in Humanities and Creative Arts similarly distinguishes theses in the humanities or creative projects in the fine arts. The medalists each received an engraved bronze medal, citation and a monetary award at a ceremony in June, hosted by Harry J. Elam Jr., vice provost for undergraduate education.
The Kennedy Thesis Prize is awarded annually to the single best thesis in each of the four divisions of humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering and applied sciences. Recipients of this award have accomplished significantly advanced research in the field and have shown strong potential for publication in peer-reviewed scholarly works. The prize was established in 2008 in recognition of David M. Kennedy, professor emeritus of history, well known for mentoring undergraduate writers. Each Kennedy winner received an engraved plaque and a monetary award, and the historian was on hand to present the prizes.
The awardees, their thesis titles, honors program or department, and faculty advisers are:
David M. Kennedy Honors Thesis Prize
Engineering and applied sciences: Tim Schnabel, “Biological Hydrogen Fuel from Sunlight,” chemical engineering; advised by James Swartz, professor of chemical engineering and of bioengineering.
Humanities: Maya Krishnan, “Human Foundations of Rational Knowledge: Infinity, History and Enlightenment in Kant and Husserl,” philosophy; advised by Professor Emeritus Allen Wood and Associate Professor Lanier Anderson, Department of Philosophy.
Natural sciences: Michael Lindsey, “Two Views on Optimal Transport and Its Numerical Solution,” mathematics; advised by mathematics Professor Rafe Mazzeo of Stanford and also by Yanir Rubinstein, associate professor of mathematics at the University of Maryland.
Social sciences: Jeremy Majerovitz, “Does Ethnic Fractionalization Matter for Development?” economics; advised by Pascaline Dupas, associate professor of economics.
Robert M. Golden Medal for Excellence in the Humanities and Creative Arts
Sammi Cannold, “Theater Direction: Evita,” theater and performance studies; advised by Harry Elam, TAPS.
Gillian Collins, “The ‘African’ Novel at Bookshelf’s Edge (and the Online Afterlife of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie),” English; advised by Alex Woloch, associate professor of English, and Alvan Ikoku, assistant professor of comparative literature and of medicine.
Shannon Marie Hubbard, “Kincaid’s Carnival: Performance, Identity and the Reader in A Small Place,” English; advised by Assistant Professor Saikat Majumdar and Associate Professor Paula Moya, Department of English.
Giuliano Kornberg, “Percussion Performance: Wicca,” music; advised by Mark Veregge, lecturer in percussion.
Maya Krishnan, “Human Foundations of Rational Knowledge: Infinity, History and Enlightenment in Kant and Husserl,” philosophy; advised by Professor Emeritus Allen Wood and Associate Professor Lanier Anderson, Department of Philosophy.
Leow Hui Min Annabeth, “Some Place Not Here: The City-State and Spatial Control of Racialised Sexuality in Recent Singaporean Anglophone Novels,” comparative studies in race and ethnicity; advised by Saikat Majumdar, assistant professor of English.
Luke Lorentzen, “Filmmaking: New York Cuts,” art and art history; advised by Assistant Professor Jamie Meltzer, documentary film and video, art and art history; Professor Alexander Nemerov, art and art history; and Whitney Lynn, lecturer, Stanford Arts Institute.
Jessica Reed, “Using Counter-Narratives: Black Women’s Accounts of Combating Racial and Gender Violence in the 21st Century,” African and African American studies; advised by Professor Arnetha Ball, Graduate School of Education.
Neel Thakkar, “All the World in My Hut: Colonial Broadcasting, Ideologies of Rule and the Making of a Listening Public in Northern Rhodesia, 1935-1963,” history; advised by Associate Professor Priya Satia and Professor Richard Roberts, Department of History.
Brian Tich, “Marina Tsvetaeva’s Poema kontsa: What the End Is For,” Division of Literatures, Cultures and Languages; advised by Professor Lazar Fleishman, Slavic languages and literatures, and Associate Professor Monika Greenleaf, Slavic languages and literatures and comparative literature.
Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research
Elsa Brown, “Threat Types and Switching Tactics: The Effects on Domestic Audience Costs,” political science; advised by Michael Tomz, professor of political science.
Zoë Dubrow, “Multiple Xanthomonas euvesicatoria Type 3 Secretion Effectors Target 14-3-3 Mediated Immune Signaling in Tomato,” biology; advised by Mary Beth Mudgett, associate professor of biology.
Ritika Dutta, “Inhibition of the RSK-CREB Signaling Axis as a Therapeutic Strategy for Acute Myeloid Leukemia,” biology; advised by Kathleen Sakamoto, professor of pediatrics.
Nicole Follmann, “Industrial Agriculture and the Potential for Sustainability: An Ethnography of Iowa Farmers,” anthropology; advised by Associate Professor Paulla Ebron and Assistant Professor Sharika Thiranagama, Department of Anthropology.
Charlotte Geaghan-Breiner, “The Role of Prostaglandin F2α Biosynthesis in Regulating the Female Reproductive Axis,” human biology; advised by Professor Russell Fernald and postdoctoral scholar Scott Juntti, Department of Biology.
Taylor Grossman, “The Problem of Warning: Homeland Security and the Evolution of Terrorism Advisory Systems,” Center for International Security and Cooperation; advised by Amy Zegart, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Candice Kim, “Characterization of the INO80 Subfamily of Chromatin Remodelers in Microtubule Dynamics in S. cerevisiae,” biology; advised by Ashby Morrison, assistant professor of biology.
Michael Lindsey, “Two Views on Optimal Transport and Its Numerical Solution,” mathematics; advised by mathematics Professor Rafe Mazzeo of Stanford and also by Yanir Rubinstein, associate professor of mathematics at the University of Maryland.
Jeremy Majerovitz, “Does Ethnic Fractionalization Matter for Development?” economics; advised by Pascaline Dupas, associate professor of economics.
Shamik Mascharak, “Elucidation of Topographical Design Principles for Electrospun Matrices,” bioengineering; advised by Sarah C. Heilshorn, associate professor of materials sciecne and engineering; Kerwyn C. Huang, associate professor of bioengineering; and Alexander R. Dunn, assistant professor of chemical engineering.
Katherine Murphy, “Sub-Cellular Characterization of the Pre-Meiotic Maize Anther: An Analysis of Cell Wall Components, Chloroplasts and Reactive Oxygen Species in Somatic Tissues,” chemistry; advised by Virginia Walbot, professor of biology, and Lynette Cegelski, assistant professor of chemistry.
Lila Neahring, “Structural Determinants of Smoothened Regulation in the Hedgehog Pathway,” biology; advised by Philip Beachy, professor of biochemistry.
Isabelle Neylan, “The Effects of Herbivory, Transgenerational Changes and Conspecific Communication on the Induced Defenses of Wild Radish,” biology; advised by Rodolfo Dirzo, professor of biology.
Stefan Norgaard, “Rainbow Junction: South Africa’s Born Free Generation and the Future of Democracy,” urban studies; advised by Larry Diamond, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution; Francis Fukuyama, senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; and James Campbell, professor of history.
Joy Obayemi, “Being Black in Paris: Investigating the Relationship Between Identity, Lived Experience and Perceptions of Unity Among Black People of Different Origins,” sociology; advised by Corey Fields, assistant professor of sociology.
Sanjana Parikh, “Constitutional Promises and Environmental Protection: An Assessment of National Legal Rights to Nature,” international relations; advised by Phillip Lipscy, assistant professor of political science.
Laurie Rumker, “Before and After the Flood: Stability and Resilience of the Human Gut Microbiota,” human biology; advised by David Relman, professor of medicine; Stanley Falkow, professor emeritus of microbiology and immunology; and Les Dethlefsen, research associate in microbiology and immunology.
Tim Schnabel, “Biological Hydrogen Fuel from Sunlight,” chemical engineering; advised by James Swartz, professor of chemical engineering and of bioengineering.
Garima Sharma, “Factors Shaping Mothers’ Aspirations for their Daughters in India: A Case Study of Forbesganj, Bihar,” Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law; advised by Christine Min Wotipka, associate professor of education.
Sanjay Siddhanti, “Extending the Transmission Disequilibrium Test to Quantify Burden of Functional Variants in Biological Pathways: A Pilot Study on Congenital Heart Defects,” computer science; advised by Gill Bejerano, associate professor of computer science, of developmental biology and of pediatrics (genetics).
Monica Thieu, “Chronic Media Multitasking and Distraction: Neural Substrates and Mnemonic Consequences,” psychology; advised by Professor Anthony Wagner and research associate Melina Uncapher, Department of Psychology.
Emily Witt, “Vitamin D Modulates Inflammatory and Metabolic Gene Expression in Multiple Sclerosis,” human biology; advised by Professor Lawrence Steinman and Assistant Professor Keith Van Haren, Department of Neurology, and Allan Reiss, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.
Alfred Zong, “Angle-Resolved Photoemission Spectroscopic Study of Cuprate Fermiology in Bilayer Bi-Sr-Ca-Cu-O,” physics; advised by Zhi-Xun Shen, professor of physics and of applied physics; Ian Fisher, professor of applied physics.