Thursday, May 14, 2015

Announcing the 2015 Recipients of the Best Dissertation Award

Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 Best Dissertation Award! One graduate student from each of four groups – arts and humanities, biological and life sciences, physical sciences and engineering, and social sciences and education – was chosen by faculty from the broad disciplinary area. Selections were based on the originality and importance of the research, as well as the potential for the student to make an unusually significant contribution to his or her field. Each recipient will receive an award of $1,000.


Danielle KuntzArts & Humanities

Danielle Kuntz, Musicology

Advisor: Kelley Harness

Dissertation: ‘Appropriate Musics for that Time’: Oratorio in the Exchange of Power at the Portuguese Court (1707-1807)

Current Position:  Lecturer, University of Minnesota

Jason SchenkelBiological & Life Sciences

Jason Schenkel, Microbiology, Immunology & Cancer Biology

Advisor: David Masopust

Dissertation:  The Distribution and Function of Resident Memory CD8 T Cells

Current Position: Medical Student, University of Minnesota

Anthony BraunPhysical Sciences & Engineering

Anthony Braun, Biomedical Engineering

Advisor: Jonathan Sachs

Dissertation: Understanding the Membrane Biophysics of alpha-Synuclein and Its Role in Membrane Curvature Induction and Structural Remodeling

Current Position:  Post-doctoral Research Fellow, University of Minnesota

Hollie BrehmSocial Sciences & Education

Hollie Brehm, Sociology

Advisors:  Elizabeth Boyle and Joachim Savelsberg

Dissertation:  Conditions and Courses of Genocide

Current Position:  Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University

Honorable Mention

  • Matthew Burgess, Ecology, Evolution & Behavior; Advisors: David Tilman & Stephen Polasky
  • Ke-Jung Chen, Physics; Advisor:  Alexander Heger
  • Eva Furrow, Comparative and Molecular Biosciences; Advisor: Ned Patterson
  • Casey Godwin, Ecology, Evolution & Behavior; Advisor: James Cotner
  • Christina Kwauk, Organizational Leadership, Policy & Development; Advisors: Frances Vavrus & Peter Demerath
  • Douglas Marthaler, Veterinary Medicine; Advisor:  Sagar Goyal
  • Zhenpeng Qin, Mechanical Engineering; Advisor:  John Bischof
  • Meisam Razaviyayn, Electrical Engineering; Advisor:  Zhi-Quan Luo
  • Thomas Youle, Economics; Advisor:  Amil Petrin

2016 Best Dissertation Awards: Graduates eligible for the 2016 awards must have officially submitted their dissertation between July 1, 2014 and April 15, 2016. The announcement for next year’s competition will be issued in January, with a deadline of April 2016.