Students honored with Firestone and Golden Medals and Kennedy Thesis Prize

Kennedy Thesis Prize winner
Winners of the Kennedy Honors Thesis Prize with David M. Kennedy: Laura Zhang, William Kuszmaul, Carrie Monahan and Huy Pham.

Thirty-seven prize winners representing 27 undergraduate departmental and interdisciplinary honors programs were recently honored at a ceremony hosted by HARRY ELAM, senior vice provost for education.

Among the awards presented were David M. Kennedy Honors Thesis prizes, which recognize the best theses in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering & applied sciences. Recipients have accomplished 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. Winners receive an engraved plaque and a monetary award. Kennedy is the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Emeritus.

The David M. Kennedy Honors Thesis Prizes

  • Engineering & Applied Sciences: William Kuszmaul, “On String-Similarity Estimation Problems,” Computer Science, advised by Moses Charikar (Computer Science).
  • Humanities: Carrie Monahan, “‘A Dream Remembered’: Collective Memory and Ancestral Responsibility in Eufaula, Alabama,” American Studies, advised by Allyson Hobbs (History) and Michele Elam (English).
  • Natural Sciences: Huy Pham, “Popular Progression Differences and Variants,” Mathematics, advised by Jacob Fox (Mathematics).
  • Social Sciences: Laura Zhang, “Income Segregation and Intergenerational Mobility. Evidence from U.S. Highways,” Economics, advised by Rebecca Diamond (Graduate School of Business).

Also presented were the Firestone and Golden Medals, which 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 recognizes theses in the humanities or creative projects in the fine arts. The medalists each received an engraved bronze medal, citation and a monetary award.

The Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research

  • Mireille Bejjani, “Developing Sense of Place in USA Zoos: Effect of Featuring Local Versus Exotic Species,” Biology, advised by Rodolfo Dirzo (Biology).
  • Alexandra Bourdillon, “Lessons from Deep Learning on the Cutting Edge: Integrating Reinforcement Learning Tools with Particle Graphic Simulation,” Biomedical Computation, advised by Joseph Woo (Cardiothoracic Surgery).
  • Qitong Cao, “The China Wide Web: The Information Dilemma and the Domestication of Cyberspace,” Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), advised by Larry Diamond (CDDRL) and Avidit Acharya (Political Science).
  • Michael Chen, “The Neurobiology of Thirst Motivational Drive,” Chemistry, advised by Liqun Luo (Biology), Karl Deisseroth (Bioengineering) and Richard Zare (Chemistry).
  • Samuel Garcia, “Diplomatic Breakthrough: Politics, Reform, and Trust in the Restoration of US-Cuba Relations,” International Relations, advised by Beatriz Magaloni (Political Science).
  • Janna Huang, “A Break in the Cloud: Finding the Local in the Global Internet,” Science, Technology, and Society (STS), advised by Paul Edwards (STS and Center for International Security and Cooperation).
  • Joyce Kang, “Real Cloud Sequencing Elucidates Microbiome Dynamics in a Stem Cell Transplant Patient,” Computer Science, advised by Ami Bhatt (Medicine and Genetics) and Anshul Kundaje (Computer Science and Genetics).
  • Elise Kostial, “Time Heals All: Timing and Competitiveness of Primary Elections,” Political Science, advised by Andy Hall (Political Science).
  • Kristin McIntire, “A Meta-Analysis of Survival Trends in Glioblastoma Patients Treated With Temozolomide/Radiation Therapy From 2005-2017: Evidence for the Benefit of Additional Study Agents,” Human Biology, advised by Albert Wong (Neurosurgery) and Paul Fisher (Pediatric Neuro-Oncology).
  • Joriene Mercado, “Know History, Know Self, Know Mental Health: Using a Decolonization Framework to Educate Filipino-American High School Students About Mental Health,” Education, advised by Teresa LaFramboise (Graduate School of Education).
  • Kira Morgan Oskirko, “Examining Sex-Specific Effects of Puberty on White Matter Microstructure,” Psychology, advised by Ian Gotlib (Psychology).
  • Courtney Pal, “Development and Displacement in West Harlem: A Mixed-Methods Analysis of the Columbia-Manhattanville Community Benefits Agreement,” Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CSRE), advised by Jackelyn Hwang (Sociology).
  • Kaileen Pritchard, “Pushing Peace: The Relationship between the Taliban’s Strength and Its Openness to Negotiations,” Center for International Security & Cooperation (CISAC), advised by Kenneth Schultz (Political Science).
  • Jeremy Quach, “Cultivating Upstanding Democratic Citizens in the English Classroom: Reader-Response and Teaching the Conflicts Pedagogies,” Education, advised by Sarah Levine (Graduate School of Education) and John Willinsky (Graduate School of Education).
  • Roger K. Romani, “Single Charge Sensitive High Voltage Phonon Detectors: Development and Application to the search for Dark Matter,” Physics, advised by Blas Cabrera (Physics) and Betty Young (Physics, Santa Clara University).
  • Ada Statler, “Towns in Transition: Kern County, CA as a Case Study for Justice Considerations in Decarbonization,” Earth Systems, advised by Bruce Cain (Political Science).
  • Rachel Steiner, “Blast-induced Brain Injury: A Neurological Gateway to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” Psychology, advised by Jeffrey Wine (Psychology).
  • Ethan W. Sussman, “N=4 Compactifications of String Theory and Supergravity,” Physics, advised by Shamit Kachru (Physics).
  • Daylon Tippett, “Testing Theories of Forgetting: The Effect of Memory Suppression Strategies on Associative Memory,” Symbolic Systems, advised by Anthony Wagner (Psychology) and Jiefeng Jiang (Psychology).
  • Alan Wei, “Neuronal Expression of the MHCI Qa-1 and Its Role in Activity-Dependent Plasticity,” Biology, advised by Carla Shatz (Biology).
  • Sophia Xiao, “Role of CD47 in Clonal Expansion of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells in Atherosclerosis,” Biology, advised by Nicholas Leeper (Medicine).
  • Amy Xu, “The Role of USP16 Modulation and Wnt Signaling Upregulation in the Alleviation of Motor Deficits Associated with Down Syndrome,” Human Biology, advised by Craig Heller (Biology) and Dennis Grahn (Biology).
  • Sophia Zhang, “Modeling Cardiac Dysfunction Associated with Mutation in N-alpha-Acetyltransferase 10 (NAA10) in Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes,” Biology, advised by Joseph Wu (Cardiology).

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

  • Sojourner Ahebee, “The Last Place They Thot Of & Other Poems,” African and African American Studies, advised by Allyson Hobbs (History) and Peggy Phelan (Stanford Arts Institute, English and Theater & Performance Studies).
  • Calvin Baker, “Buddhist Wellbeing and Population Ethics,” Ethics in Society, advised by Juliana Bidadanure (Philosophy) and Paul Harrison (Religious Studies).
  • Matthew Ryan Frankel, “Invisible Freedom: Revealing Commitment as Radical,” Division of Literatures, Cultures and Languages (DLCL), advised by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht (Comparative Literature and French and Italian) and Joan Ramon Resina (Iberian and Latin American Cultures and Comparative Literature).
  • Nathan Large, “Acting & Theater-Making,” Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS), advised by Janice Ross (TAPS).
  • Hannah Levy, “Being With,” Stanford Arts Institute, advised by Lisa Medoff (School of Medicine), Alex Ketley (Theater & Performance Studies) and Peggy Phelan (Stanford Arts Institute, English and Theater & Performance Studies).
  • Heath Rojas, “The Power of the Executive: Redefining Monarchial Authority in the First Three Years of the French Revolution,” History, advised by Keith Baker (History) and Dan Edelstein (French & Italian).
  • Daniel Trunzo, “What right had Caesar to the empery?”: Power and the Individual in Plays of Christopher Marlowe,” English, advised by Roland Greene (English) and Patricia Parker (English).
  • Madeleine Weiss, “Being With,” Stanford Arts Institute, advised by Lisa Medoff (School of Medicine), Alex Ketley (Theater & Performance Studies) and Peggy Phelan (Stanford Arts Institute, English and Theater & Performance Studies).
  • Nora Wheat, “People as Practice,” Art and Art History, advised by Gail Wight (Art and Art History) and Terry Berlier (Art and Art History).
  • Matthew Yellowtail, “Medicine Boy,” Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CSRE), advised by Jennifer Brody (CSRE & Theater and Performance Studies) and Jeff Chang (Institute for Diversity in the Arts).

For more information on the awards go to the Stanford Undergrad website.