William & Mary

Graduation 2015: Biology Department highlights

Dr. Mark Forsyth (shown here with Claire Tocheny '15) returns from a year's sabbatical to attend graduationOn Sunday May 17, the Class of 2015 graduation ceremony enjoyed great weather and another year with increased numbers of participants (see entire list). Dr. Eric Bradley officiated as the new department Chair. Graduates included 180 students who are Biology majors plus Neuroscience and other interdisciplinary science majors who chose to march with Biology. Each student was called by name up to the podium to receive congratulations from a faculty mentor.The ceremony began with a welcome for Associate Professor Mark Forsyth, who is returning from research leave. Before each student went to the podium, four awards were given as follows:

  1. 2015 Alumni Prize for Ecology & Organismal Biology - Molly Teague, who was co-advised by professors Matthias Leu and Oliver Kerscher
  2. 2015 Alumni Prize for Cell & Molecular Biology - Jackson Peterson, who did research with Professor Diane Shakes
  3. 2015 Excellence in Neuroscience Award - Monika Stanciauskas, who did research with Professor Margaret Saha
  4. 2015 Charlotte Preston Mangum Prize for Outstanding Research in Biology – Dallas Banks, whose research mentor was Shantá Hinton

The Charlotte Preston Mangum Prize for Outstanding Research in Biology is a top prize, in no small part because it 

Mangum Prize winner Dallas Banks and faculty mentor Shanta Hinton

comes with an award of $500. Established in memory of our colleague, Charlotte Mangum—Professor Mangum was an outstanding scholar in her field—who was internationally recognized and widely admired by the scientific community, and by her students. Each year one Biology Honors Thesis research student is chosen by the faculty as one who exemplifies the qualities of Professor Mangum through their outstanding research performance.

Dallas Banks started research in the Hinton lab in his freshman year. The Mangum award recognizes Dallas’ outstanding research efforts. His work has concentrated on the role of the pseudophosphotase MK-STYX in signaling cascades such as in cellular growth, death, or neuronal differentiation. More specifically, Dallas’ thesis investigations have focused on neuronal development in a rat cell model. His work has resulted in a poster presentation at the American Society for Cell Biology, a successful Honors Thesis defense and has culminated in a peer-reviewed publication. Indeed, Dallas is likely to be an author on two additional publications before the summer is out on additional work that he has accomplished in the Hinton Lab. Dallas will continue his study and research as he enters a PhD program in the Fall at the University of Maryland.

Biology graduates line up to receive diplomas