2017 Firestone and Golden medal, Kennedy Thesis Prize recipients honored

Firestone and Golden Medal
Firestone Medal

A recent ceremony honored 33 prize winners representing 26 departments from the three Stanford schools with undergraduate programs –  Humanities and Sciences;  Engineering; and  Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.

Harry Elam, senior vice provost for education, hosted the June 17 event for the class of 2017 recipients of the Firestone and Robert M. Golden medals and the David M. Kennedy Honors Thesis prizes.

The 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, a citation and a monetary award.

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. 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 history Professor David M. Kennedy’s long-standing mentoring of undergraduate writers and his retirement from active teaching. Winners each received an engraved plaque and a monetary award.

The 2017 Kennedy Prizes were presented by Sarah Church, senior associate vice provost for undergraduate education.

The projects conducted by the winners capture the breadth of the undergraduate experience at Stanford. They included research on such topics as gene therapy and protein engineering, computer science education, efficient matching algorithms, the history of national security and the authors of American romanticism. Other winners wrote and directed plays, crafted exceptional poems and excelled as flutists.

The awardees, their thesis titles, honors program or department, and advisers are as follows:

The David M. Kennedy Honors Thesis Prizes

Natural Sciences: Ryan Badiee, “Engineering Bidirectional Regulation of Endogenous Genes,” Biology, advised by Michael Lin (Neurobiology).

Engineering & Applied Sciences: Griffin Dietz, “Children’s Use of Decomposition in Problem Solving as an Early Introduction to Computer Science,” Computer Science, advised by James Landay (Computer Science) and Hyowon Gweon (Psychology).

Social Sciences: Whitney McIntosh, “France and the Internationalization of Security: A Conceptual History of Security during the Interwar Years (1919-1933),” Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), advised by Stephen Stedman (CDDRL).

Humanities: Alex Torres, “The Blakean Imagination in Nineteenth-Century America: Emerson, Whitman, Dickinson,” English, advised by Denise Gigante (English) and Ramón Saldívar (English).

The Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research

Iliana Erteza Bray, “Frequency Shifts and Depth Dependence of Beta Band Activity in Rhesus Premotor Cortex Perceptual Decision-Making,” Electrical Engineering, advised by Krishna Shenoy (Electrical Engineering).

Marly Carlisle, “We Do The Best We Can: Implementation of the McKinney-Vento Act by San Francisco Unified Social Workers,” Education, advised by Jelena Obradovic (Graduate School of Education).

Maria Castro, “Quantitative Analysis of White Matter Differences in Children Born Preterm and Full Term,” Human Biology, advised by Heidi Feldman (Pediatrics – Neonatology) and Jeffrey Wine (Psychology).

Melissa Eidman, “Still Reservations: Identifying Contributors to Health on the Yurok Reservation,” Human Biology, advised by Donald Barr (General Pediatrics), Gabriel Garcia (Gastroenterology and Hepatology), and Sawar Young-Tripp (California Rural Indian Health Board).

Bora Erden, “Choice-Predictive Activity in the Macaque Premotor and Motor Cortex,” Symbolic Systems, advised by William Newsome (Neurobiology) and James McClelland (Psychology).

Kathryn Evans, “Using Viral Tools to Dissect Neural Circuits: Exploring the Nigrostriatal and Claustrocingulate Pathways in Mice,” Biology, advised by Karl Deisseroth (Bioengineering).

Andrea Fisher, “Genomic Analysis of Southeast Asian and Sahul Ancestry,” Biology, advised by Marcus Feldman (Biology) and Richard Klein (Biology).

Zi Yang Kang, “Strategy-Proof Bilateral Trade,” Mathematics, advised by Jan Vondrak (Mathematics).

Sophia Laurenzi, “The Gray Matter of Young Adulthood: Neuroscience, Social Trends, and Justice Reform,” Science, Technology, and Society (STS), advised by Angela Garcia (Anthropology).

Lauren Newby, “From Zero to Sixty: Explaining the Proliferation of Shi’a Militias in Iraq after 2003,” Center for International Security & Cooperation (CISAC), advised by Martha Crenshaw (CISAC).

Nghia Nguyen, “A Behavioral System for Imaging Prefrontal Cortex Activity in Freely Behaving Mice,” Biomechanical Engineering, advised by Liqun Luo (Biology) and Ovijit Chaudhuri (Mechanical Engineering).

Brett Parker, “Election or Appointment? A Quantitative Study of the Effects of Judicial Selection Method on Judicial Voting in Criminal Procedure Cases,” Political Science, advised by David Brady (Political Science).

Indira Puri, “On the Probability of Receiving a Top Choice Match,” Economics, advised by Jonathan Levin (Economics and Graduate School of Business).

Daniel Sanchez-Ordonez, “International Monetary Policy Spillover in Colombia: An SVAR Analysis,” Economics, advised by John Taylor (Economics).

Lydia Tam, “Identifying the Cellular Origin and Enzymatic Mechanism of Activity-regulated Neuroligin-3 Secretion,” Biology, advised by Michelle Monje-Deisseroth (Neurology).

Eileen Williams, “Interhemispheric Amygdala Connectivity Across Puberty and its Relation to Depressive Symptomatology,” Psychology, advised by Ian Gotlib (Psychology).

Ethan Williams, “Sycamore Knoll: A Wave-Planed Pop-up Structure in a Sinistral-oblique Thrust System, Southern California Continental Borderland,” Geophysics, advised by Simon Klemperer (Geophysics).

Cristian Zanoci, “Entanglement and Transport Properties of Non-Equilibrium Steady States of 1-D Quantum Systems,” Physics, advised by Patrick Hayden (Physics) and Brian Swingle (UMD Physics).

Yuan Zhang, “Bioactive Lipids Enhance Cardiomyocyte Differentiation from Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells,” Biology, advised by Sean Wu (Medicine).

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

Surabhi Balachander, “Our Color in the Fields: Exploring the Intersections of Agriculture and Race in American Literature,” Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CSRE), advised by Michele Elam (English) and Solmaz Sharif (English).

Madelaine Bixler, “Writer/Director: ‘In Volution,’” Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS), advised by Leslie Hill (TAPS) and Cherrie Moraga (TAPS).

Talia Charme-Zane, “Freaky Forests, Gay Princes, and Guilty Children: A Queer Reading of Sondheim’s ‘Into The Woods,’” Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, advised by Sianne Ngai (English).

Joshua De Leon, “This Brown Body is a Vessel,” Arts Institute, advised by Michele Elam (English), Solmaz Sharif (English), and Whitney Lynn (HIA).

Michael Gioia, “The Revolutionary Priest: An Intellectual Biography of Claude Fauchet,” History, advised by Keith Baker (History) and Dan Edelstein (French and Italian).

Gabriella Johnson, “Re-Reading the Mulatta: A Black Feminist Approach to Understanding the Mulatta in 21st Century Literary Production,” African and African American Studies, advised by Michele Elam (English) and Alvan Ikoku (Comparative Literature).

Jacqueline Langelier, “Photography,” Art and Art History, advised by Gail Wight (Art & Art History).

Quyen Nguyen, “Danh Võ: Ghost Work,” Art and Art History, advised by Alexander Nemerov (Art & Art History).

May Peterson, “Venantius Fortunatus as Auctor of the Sacred: From Material to Ethereal in Sixth-Century Gaul,” Classics, advised by Grant Parker (Classics) and Bissera Pentcheva (Art & Art History).

Al Yuen, “Flute Performance,” Music, advised by Alexandra Hawley (Music).