2005 University Co-op / George H. Mitchell Undergraduate Awards For Academic Excellence
Recipient of $20,000 Award:
Nominated by Dr. Keith Stevenson for her invention of a new technique, termed confined dewetting lithography (CDL), which shows promise for patterning a variety of nano-sized components (spheres, particles, rods) on a multitude of surfaces. Emily published her initial work on CDL in the Materials Research Society Journal, and her invention is already highly regarded by the scientific community. More recently she has extended her CDL approach to technologically-relevant applications important in the areas of microelectronics and chemical sensing. This extension of her original invention has been submitted to Chemistry of Materials, which could mean that she will graduate with two peer-reviewed publications, a rare achievement for an undergraduate.
Recipients of $5,000 Awards:
Senior, Human Ecology (Textiles & Apparel)
Nominated by Dr. Ardis Rewerts for her striking fashion designs, which combine painting, merchandising, and design flair. Kelly has worked with the Saatchi LA advertising agency in art buying and print production, created Tide detergent ads for Proctor and Gamble, and produced automobile commercials for Toyota. After winning the 2004 Judge's Award for Visionary Excellence at the annual U.T. Fashion Show she was accepted as an intern by Boudoir Queen Designs of Austin, where she has risen to Artistic Director. The committee appreciated Kelly's inventive designs, and the elegant and professional presentation of her portfolio. She has already exceeded the accomplishments of many established professionals.
Senior, Biomedical Engineering
Nominated by Dr. Christine Schmidt for his instrumental help in designing an acellular nerve graft, which is non-immunogenic and thus could be derived from cadaver tissue, avoiding the need for two surgeries and loss of tissue from the patient. Scott has co-authored two research papers published in Tissue Engineering, the top-ranked journal in the biomaterials field. He has also served as the president of the student chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society, which he helped create when The University's Biomedical Engineering Department was formed three years ago.
Nominated by Dr. Robert Moser for his solidly researched and persuasively written honors thesis on gay marriage. Having shown how constitutional rights were extended to women and African-Americans based on U.S. Supreme Court rulings, he makes the interesting and creative argument that court rulings against anti-sodomy laws have given gays and lesbians "group rights" under the law. The implication is that homosexuals have the same right to marriage as heterosexuals. Ian's conclusions have not only shed light on an important debate but have provided valuable insights into how social context can influence the U. S. Supreme Court. Ian has thus managed to carry out three tasks integral to good social science: identifying a puzzle, articulating its theoretical and policy significance, and offering an original and persuasive argument, a remarkable achievement at the undergraduate level.
Recipients of $2,000 Awards:
Senior, Art & Art History
Nominated by Professor Timothy High for his innovative serigraphic artwork, applying silkscreen to a new material-plexiglass. Jonas has demonstrated great promise as a practicing artist, a university educator, and a full-time studio professional. His serigraphs have been shown in three prestigious national and international exhibitions. They are featured in Contemporary American Serigraphs 2004- 2006 among the work of 18 of the finest silkscreen artists in the U.S. The committee found in Jonas' work deft social commentary, and beautifully executed color and design.
Graduate, Chemical Engineering
Nominated by Dr. Keith Johnston for his contributions to two major published, co-authored articles on interface activity and interface properties in surfactants and the water CO2 system. Varun has demonstrated his work ethic, desire to learn, creativity, and maturity through both his research and his close analysis of the underlying scientific bases for the results received from his experiments. His research will ultimately improve microelectronics processing, materials synthesis, and enhanced oil recovery. It has spawned several fields of study, which are now being pursued by four Ph.D. students. Dr. Johnston has declared that in writing a recent proposal for the National Academy of Engineering on water foams for enhanced oil recovery he never could have done it without Varun's discovery for the first time of concentrated CO2 in water foams.
Senior, School of Architecture
Nominated by Professor Dean Almy III for developing and implementing a way of mapping latent characteristics embedded in urban landscapes. Frank explored and codified the cultural and spatial characteristics of the Finnish city of Turku, taking into account all possible historical, environmental and social factors. Through his set of interpretive mappings he formed the basis of a strategy for the re-structuring of the city's historic prison grounds. The project and resulting architectural design are themselves worthy of merit, but the committee agreed with Professor Almy that Frank's rigorous and innovative methodology is an even more impressive achievement, which will go far in reshaping his field.
Senior, Plan II Honors
Nominated by Dr. Howard Miller for a creative essay on her religious upbringing in the Pentecostal Church, which Professor Miller considers the best pieces of student writing he has encountered in more than three decades of teaching at UT. Amber's spiritual autobiography about the religion which she ultimately rejected is told with respect, affection, and a truly wonderful sense of humor. It is beautifully crafted and remarkable in its honesty, and brilliantly illustrates what the Humanities can do: teach people to examine and articulate their lives critically but constructively. In addition to her skills as a creative writer, Amber has served as the University's Ombudsman, a testament to her extraordinary versatility.
Senior, Chemical Engineering Honors
Nominated by Dr. Grant Willson for her development of a hydrogel-based biosensor technology. Kalpana has completed a remarkably sophisticated undertaking for an undergraduate. Her research has the potential to reduce the cost of manufacturing biosensor arrays by an order of magnitude, which would make DNA analysis and gene mapping far less troublesome and expensive. She has co-authored two papers accepted by by refereed publications, and three conference proceedings. She is also a well-rounded student, with interests in dance and women's issues. The appearance of such a special and unusual student as Kalpana on the academic scene is an extraordinary event.