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Distinguished Thesis and Dissertation Award Recipients

2020

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences
Kristen Beales, History: “Spirited Exchanges: The Religion of the Marketplace in Early America”
Advisor: Christopher Grasso

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences
Molly Shilo, American Studies: "'I Feel Your Pain':  Service-Learning Programs and the Liberal Narrative of Empathy"
Advisor: Hannah Rosen

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Natural, Computational, and Psychological Sciences
Molly Miller, Psychological Sciences: “Parent and Peer Emotion Socialization as Predictors of Adolescent Internalizing Symptomatology”
Advisor: Janice Zeman

2019

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences
Jan Huebenthal, American Studies: “Injury & Resistance: Centering HIV/AIDS Histories in Times of Queer Equality”
Advisor: Leisa Meyer

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
John Michael Gardner, Applied Science: "Additive Manufacturing of Nanomaterial Based Hierarchical Structures”
Advisor: Hannes Schniepp

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences
Joseph Lawless, American Studies: “Of Mammies, Minstrels, and Machines: Movement-Image Automaticity and the Impossible Conditions of Black Humanity.” 
Advisor: Elizabeth Losh

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Dylan Tux Simpson, Biology: “Investigating the spatiotemporal distribution of a tick-borne pathogen, Ehrlichia chaffeensis”
Advisor: Mattias Leu

Notable Dissertation Award
Kurtis David Bartlett, Physics: “First Measurements of the Parity-Violating and Beam-Normal Single-Spin Asymmetries in Elastic Electron-Aluminum Scattering”

2018

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences
Alexandra Grace Martin, Anthropology: “Mapping Ceremonial Stone Landscapes in the Narragansett Homelands: 'Teâno wonck nippée am, I will be here by and by again'"

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Jacob Ethier, Physics: "Proton Spin Structure from Monte Carlo Global QCD Analyses"

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences
Ashley Sarah Richardson, American Studies: "Producing the Latina Disney Princess"

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Emily Lynn Richardson, Biology: "Carry-over Effects in Complex Life Cycles: Linking Larval Food Supply with Juvenile Recruitment Success in Sea Stars" 

Notable Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences
Casey Sylvia Schmitt, History: “Bound among Nations: Labor Coercion in the Seventeenth-Century Caribbean”

2017

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Laurel Richardson Daen, History: "The Constitution of Disability in the Early United States"

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Hao Shi, Physics: "Computational studies of strongly correlated quantum matter"

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Caitlin Marine McCaig, Biology: “Discovery and characterization of novel sperm development patterns in the nematode Rhabditis sp. SB 347"

2016

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Meghan Holder Bryant, American Studies: "Selling Race in America: Ideologies of Labor, Color, and Social Order in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Advertising Imagery"

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Leonidas Aliaga Soplin, Physics: "Neutrino Flux Prediction for the NuMI Beamline"

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Lindsay Garcia, American Studies: “Capitalist Architecture in a Posthumanist World”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Gerardo Ayala, Chemistry: “Synthesis, Structure and Optical Memory Properties of Copper (I) Thiocyanate Networks with Aromatic Amines, Diimines and Alkyl Sulfides”

2015

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Elizabeth Neidenbach, American Studies: "The Life and Legacy of Marie Couvent: Social Networks"

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Yifan Zhang, Computer Science: "Providing Efficient Services for Smartphone Applications"

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Social Sciences
Gandalf Nicolas, Psychology: "Confrontation of Prejudice towards Racially Ambiguous Targets"

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Jessica Lampkowski, Chemistry: “Development of a Solid-Supported Glaser-Hay Reaction and Utilization in Conjunction with Unnatural Amino Acids"

2014

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Edward Paul Pompeian, History: “Spirited Enterprises: Venezuela, the United States, and the Independence of Spanish America, 1789-1823”

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Fengyuan Xu, Computer Science: “Improving Energy Efficiency and Security for Pervasive Computing Systems”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Madeleine Ailsworth Gunter, Anthropology: “Dealing in Metaphors: Exploring the Materiality of Trade on Virginia’s Seventeenth Century Eastern Siouan Frontier”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
William Lawrence Czaplyski, Chemistry: “Synthesis and Fluorescence Studies of pH-Responsive Rhodamine B Derivatives”

2013

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Nancy A. Hillman, History: “Drawn together, drawn apart: Black and white Baptists in Tidewater Virginia, 1800-1875”

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Malcolm B. Gethers, Computer Science: “Information integration for software maintenance and evolution”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Kaylan M. Stevenson, History: “Her correspondence is dangerous: Women in the fashion trades negotiating the opportunities and challenges of doing business in the Chesapeake, 1766-75”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Laura E. Masur, Anthropology: “Virginia Indians, NAGPRA, and cultural affiliation: Revisiting identities and boundaries in the Chesapeake”

2012

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Erin Krutko Devlin, American Studies: “’Justice is a Perpetual Struggle’: The Public Memory of the Little Rock School Desegregation Crisis”

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Zhenyu Wu, Computer Science: “Discovering New Vulnerabilities in Computer Systems”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Meghan Brooke Holder (Bryant), American Studies: “Strange Fruit: Images of African Americans in Advertising Cards and Postcards, 1860-1930”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Erik Andre Siedow, Anthropology: “’Excellent Clay for Pots:’ An Archaeological and Microscopic Investigation of Barbadian Redware during the Early Colonial Era”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Social Sciences
Johanna Bailey Folk, Psychology: “The Development of Children’s Understanding of Incarceration”

2011

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Edward Downing Maris-Wolf, History: “Liberty, Bondage, and the Pursuit of Happiness: The Free Black Expulsion Law and Self-Enslavement in Virginia, 1806-1864”

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Michael Bagge-Hansen, Applied Science: “Enhanced Field Emission from Vertically Oriented Graphene by Thin Solid Film Coatings”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities
Elizabeth Marie O’Grady, American Studies: “’You Have No Boss Here to Work for’: Women and Labor in Chesapeake Bay Fishing Communities”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Social Sciences
Ivo Ivanov Gyurovski, Psychology: “Spontaneous Categorization: Assessment of Implicit Stereotype Content Awareness”

2010

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Ella Maria Diaz, American Studies: “Flying Under the Radar with the Royal Chicano Air Force: The Ongoing Politics of Space and Ethnic Identity”

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Steven Robert Gianvecchio, Computer Science: “Application of Information Theory and Statistical Learning to Anomaly Detection”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Elizabeth Cook, History: "Art, Mystery, and Occupation: Building Culture in Eighteenth-Century Williamsburg, Virginia”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Sara Katherine Kampfe, Chemistry: “Processing and Conversion of Algae to Bioethanol”

2009

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Jennifer Bridges Oast, History: “Forgotten Masters: Institutional Slavery in Virginia, 1680-1860”

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Karl Wayne Kuschner, Physics: “A Bayesian Network Approach to Feature Selection in Mass Spectrometry Data”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Amy Catherine Green, History: “’Dance, Dance Revolution’: The Function of Dance in American Politics, 1763-1800”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities
Carolee Klimchock, American Studies: “Plastic Capital: Wilmington, Delaware and the Deregulation of Consumer Credit”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Social Sciences
Gillian Palm Freeman, Psychology: “Does Humor Benefit Health in Retirement? Exploring Humor as a Moderator”

2008

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Caroline Carpenter Nichols, American Studies: “Celebrity and the National Body: Encounters with the Exotic in Late-Nineteenth Century America”

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Daniel Owen Sayers, Anthropology: "The Diasporic World of the Great Dismal Swamp 1630-1860”

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Andrey Nikolayevich Chernikov, Computer Science: “Parallel Generalized Delaunay Mesh Refinement”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Jackson Norman Sasser, Jr., American Studies: “Escaping into the Prison Civil War Round Table”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Danielle Christine Risse, Anthropology: “’A Graine of Marveilous Great Increase’: A Political Landscape Approach to Powhatan Maize Production and Exchange in Seventeenth Century Virginia”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Alexander Rahn Gunderson, Biology: “Interactions between Feather-degrading Bacteria and Feather Coloration”

2007

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Seth Charles Bruggeman, American Studies: “Objects, Memory, and the Creation of a National Monument”

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
James Robert McCombs, Computer Science: “Toward a Robust and Efficient Iterative Eigensolver”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Jenna Anne Simpson, American Studies: “Screening the Revolution"

2006

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Susan A. Kern, History: “The Jeffersons at Shadwell: The Social and Material World of a Virginia Family”

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
James Spady, American Studies: “’Like the Spider from the Rose’: Colonialism, Knowledge Competition, and the Cultural Politics of Education in the Lower South, ca.1700-ca.1820”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Caroline Chandler Morris, History: “’Down Where the South Begins’: Virginia Radio and the Conversation of Nationhood”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Caitlin Rebecca Kight, Biology: “Effects of Human Disturbance on the Breeding Success of Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis)”

2005

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Amanda L. Howard, American Studies: “’More than Shelter’: Community, Identity, and Spatial Politics in San Francisco Public Housing, 1938-2000”

Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Natural and Computational Sciences
Zhengmao Zhu, Applied Science: “Photochemical Modification of Polyethylene Terephthalate Surfaces”

Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Benjamin Anderson, American Studies: “Blue Notes and Brown Skin: Five African-American Jazzmen and the Music They Produced in Regard to the American Civil Rights Movement”