Stanford undergraduate students received awards for their theses at a ceremony over Commencement weekend. The Firestone and Robert M. Golden Medals and the David M. Kennedy Honors Thesis Prizes were given to 38 winners representing 32 undergraduate departmental and interdisciplinary honors programs.

The event, hosted by Harry Elam, vice provost for undergraduate education, took place Saturday, June 15, on campus.

The Firestone and Golden Medals are awarded to the top 10 percent of honors 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. 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.

Students pose with their advisors.

Winners of the Kennedy Honors Thesis Prize with their advisors. From left: Lucy O’Brien, Sang Ngo, Deepti Kannan, David Kennedy, Aron Ramirez, Gordon Chang, Philip Clark and Amy Zegart. (Image credit: Courtesy Stanford VPUE)

The Kennedy Prize is awarded annually to the single best thesis in each of the four areas of humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering and applied sciences. Recipients of this award have accomplished exceptionally 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 history Professor David M. Kennedy’s mentoring of undergraduate writers. Winners each received an engraved plaque and a monetary award.

The projects conducted by the winners capture the breadth of the undergraduate experience at Stanford. They included research on such topics as natural logic reasoning, the molecular mechanisms underlying tumorigenesis, the behavioral economics of social media, and the role of civic identity in the making of the Mexican Beverly Hills. Other winners created sculptural portraits, crafted exceptional poems and excelled as musicians, actors and directors.

The awardees, their thesis titles, honors program or department, and advisors follow:

David M. Kennedy Honors Thesis Prizes

Social Sciences: Philip Clark, “Climbing to ‘Strategic Commanding Heights,'” Center for International Security & Cooperation (CISAC), advised by Amy Zegart (Political Science)

Engineering & Applied Sciences: Deepti Kannan, “Physical Modeling of Chromatin with Heterogeneous Nucleosome Spacings,” Engineering Physics, advised by Andrew Spakowitz (Chemical Engineering) and Rhiju Das (Biochemistry)

Natural Sciences: Sang Ngo, “Tumor Establishment Requires Tumor Autonomous and Non-autonomous Decoupling of EGF Signaling from Apoptosis,” Biology, advised by Lucy O’Brien (Molecular and Cellular Physiology)

Humanities: Aron Ramirez, “There Goes the Neighborhood? Civic Identity and the Making of the Mexican Beverly Hills, 1981-1998,” History, advised by Gordon Chang (History) and Albert Camarillo (History)

Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research

Jade Arellano, “Caring in Crisis: Homelessness and the Humanitarian Exception,” Anthropology, advised by Paulla Ebron (Anthropology) and Miyako Inoue (Anthropology)

Elle Billman, “Uncovering How Childhood Cancer Survivors Learn About and Interact with their Cancer Histories,” Science, Technology & Society, advised by S. Lochlann Jain (Anthropology)

Simon Evered, “Optical Control of the Motion and Spin of Cold Atoms for Quantum Simulations with Long-Range Interactions,” Physics, advised by Monika Schleier-Smith (Physics) and Jason Hogan (Physics)

Atticus Geiger, “Can Natural Language Inference Models Perform Natural Logic Reasoning?” Symbolic Systems, advised by Chris Potts (Linguistics and, by courtesy, Computer Science) and Thomas Icard (Philosophy and, by courtesy, Computer Science)

Ricardo Guajardo, “Elucidating the Molecular Basis of Plexin B Level-Dependent Signaling in Neural Circuit Assembly,” Biology, advised by Liqun Luo (Biology)

Ruru “Juan Ru” Hoong, “The Behavioral Economics of Social Media: A Study of Self-Commitment Devices and the Facebook Privacy Paradox,” Economics, advised by Matthew Gentzkow (Economics)

Joanna Langner, “Treading Water as a Potential Risk Factor for Femoroacetabular Impingement of the Hip,” Human Biology, advised by Garry Gold (Radiology) and Feliks Kogan (Radiology)

Angela Lee, “Social Media Mindsets: The Impact of Implicit Theories of Social Media Use on Psychological Well-Being,” Psychology, advised by Alia Crum (Psychology) and Jeffrey Hancock (Communication)

Jihyeon Lee, “Finding Brick Kilns from Space: A Geovisual Search Pipeline,” Computer Science, advised by Stefano Ermon (Computer Science), David Lobell (Earth System Science) and Marshall Burke (Earth System Science)

Madeline Lisaius, “Mapping the Real and Imagined: Deforestación in Waorani Territory,” Earth Systems, advised by William Durham (Anthropology) and Eric Lambin (Earth System Science)

Lloyd Lyall, “Ethno-Religious Diversity and Recovery After Conflict in Post-ISIL Iraq: A Geospatial Approach,” International Relations, advised by James Fearon (Political Science/International Relations)

Nitya Mani, “Maximal Cuts in H-Free Graphs,” Mathematics, advised by Jacob Fox (Mathematics)

Carson Poltorack, “Arginine Withdrawal Engages ATF4-Mediated Transsulfuration and Protects Cancer Cells from Oxidative Death,” Biology, advised by Scott Dixon (Biology)

Jacob Randolph, “Moderating Candidates or Maintaining the Status Quo? An Evaluation of California’s Top-Two Primary,” Political Science, advised by Adam Bonica (Political Science)

Catherine Sanchez, “A Cluttered Past: Exploring the Relationship Between Early Life Stress & Hoarding Disorder,” Human Biology, advised by Carolyn Rodriguez (Psychiatry) and Jennifer Wolf (Education)

Lauren Seabrooks, “It Motivated Me More Than It Crushed Me: Children of Incarcerated Parents in a Highly Selective University,” Education, advised by Jelena Obradovic (Education)

Daniel Tang, “Exploring the Mind-Body Connection: Optical Interrogation of Insular Cortex During Risky Decision-Making in Mice,” Bioengineering, advised by Karl Deisseroth (Bioengineering) and Brian Knutson (Psychology)

Abigail Taussig, “Synthesis and Characterization of Open-Metal Site Grafting to Metal-Organic Frameworks for Solid Electrolyte Applications,” Chemical Engineering, advised by Zhenan Bao (Chemical Engineering) and William Tarpeh (Chemical Engineering)

Alex Trivella, “Thwarting Electoral Revolution: The Communal State and Authoritarian Consolidation in Venezuela,” Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, advised by Beatriz Magaloni (Political Science) and Harold Trinkunas (Center for International Security and Cooperation/Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies)

Sienna White, “No Impediment to the Sediment: A Numerical Model for Sediment Flux and Flocculation in San Francisco Bay,” Atmosphere and Energy, advised by Oliver Fringer (Civil and Environmental Engineering)

Vicky Yeung, “Can You, and Should You, Buy an Innovation Hub?” Economics, advised by Nicholas Bloom (Economics)

Tas Yusoontorn, “Vanadium-catalyzed Coupling of Allenols with Electrophilic Halide Sources for the Formation of α-Halo-α′,β′-Unsaturated Ketones,” Chemistry, advised by Barry Trost (Chemistry)

Terence Zhao, “626: The Rise of an Asian American Suburb and the Future of Housing and Place in America,” Urban Studies, advised by Gordon Chang (History)

Robert M. Golden Medal for Excellence in the Humanities and Creative Arts

Deanna Anderson, “Indigo Overthrow/Women in Comedy,” Arts Institute, advised by Peggy Phelan (Stanford Arts Institute, Theater and Performance Studies, and English), Rebecca Ormiston (Stanford Arts Institute) and Jennie Waldow (Art and Art History)

Gianna Clark, “Acting, Directing & Devising Performance,” Theater and Performance Studies, advised by Jisha Menon (Theater and Peformance Studies)

Alma Flores-Pérez, “Voy a decir a la maestra: Navigating, Reinforcing and Challenging Language Boundaries in a Spanish-Immersion Preschool,” Linguistics, advised by Penelope Eckert (Linguistics)

Cameron Hubbard, “Greatness, Classical and Modern,” Philosophy, advised by Christopher Bobonich (Philosophy)

Siena Jeakle, “Indigo Overthrow/Women in Comedy,” Arts Institute, advised by Peggy Phelan (Stanford Arts Institute, Theater and Performance Studies, and English), Rebecca Ormiston (Stanford Arts Institute) and Jennie Waldow (Art and Art History)

Emily Ming King, “Poetry as Decreation: Impersonality and Grace in T. S. Eliot and Simone Weil,” English, advised by Mark McGurl (English), Alexander Nemerov (Art and Art History) and Anna Mukamal (English)

Vivienne Le, “Interdisciplinary Art Practice,” Art and Art History, advised by Gail Wight (Art & Art History)

Victor “Viv” Liu, “‘It’s Like the Moment in These Paintings Never Existed’: Martin Wong, History, and the End of the Lower East Side, 1988-1990,” Art and Art History, advised by Marci Kwon (Art & Art History)

Vivian Lou, “Piano Performance,” Music, advised by Frederick Weldy (Music) and Stephen Hinton (Music)

Oluwasemilore Sobande, “‘Can You Read?’: Incarnations, Narrative Forms and Navigations in Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! and Toni Morrison’s A Mercy,” African and African American Studies, advised by Michele Elam (English) and Jennifer Devere Brody (Theater and Performance Studies)

Catherine Xie, “Reimagining Sexual Violence Through Theater: Narrative, Memory and History in Venus and How I Learned to Drive,” Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies (FGSS), advised by Estelle Freedman (History)