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Ceremony set to recognize graduate students, staff and faculty

Tue, 04/10/2018

LAWRENCE — More than 80 outstanding graduate students, as well as staff and faculty, will be recognized at the annual University of Kansas Graduate Awards Ceremony, which will take place at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12, in the Ballroom of the Kansas Union. Awards will be presented by Stuart Day, senior vice provost for academic affairs, and Michael Roberts, dean of graduate studies.

“Graduate students are crucial to a research university like KU,” Roberts said. “They are excellent researchers, teachers and providers of service. We eagerly recognize and herald their contributions to KU, their graduate programs, the community and the world at large.”

Awards from KU’s Graduate Research Competition on April 3 will be presented to 11 graduate students, and eight graduate students who participated in the Capitol Graduate Research Summit on March 27 will also be recognized.

The Chancellor’s Graduate Teaching Assistant Award will be presented to Rachel Brown, doctoral student in English. Nominators praise her high degree of “empathy and mentorship” for students, with Brown’s success as a teacher coming from her focus on students’ success.

Five graduate students will receive Carlin Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards: Abby Barefoot, women, gender & sexuality studies; Nader Hakim, psychology; A Ram "Bella" Kim, aerospace engineering; John Changhong Liu, mechanical engineering, and Theo Michaels, ecology & evolutionary biology. The Graduate Teaching Awards will be presented to Zahra Andalib, civil engineering, and Mary Louisa Spangler, women, gender & sexuality studies.

The Distinguished Service Award will be presented to James Lafikes, civil engineering, for his dedication as an ambassador for KU and the civil, environmental & architectural engineering program. Lafikes cares for “the well-being of students after enrollment,” his nominator said, “offering friendly advice and guidance to anyone who asks, both formally in presentations and informally in hallway conversations.”

Erin Adamson and Andrew Ho Kim, graduate students in sociology, will be recognized as recipients of the Sherman and Irene Dreiseszun Scholarship for International Studies, as awarded by the Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award Foundation. Both Adamson and Kim were praised for their inclusive approach to international and transnational research.

Anna Paradis, director of Graduate Academic Services in the School of Engineering, will be recognized with a Graduate Support Staff Award for her contributions to graduate education. Described as “the MacGyver of the School of Engineering,” Paradis “has spent tremendous energy in making the engineering graduate program an inclusive, productive and nurturing environment.”

Monica Biernat, University Distinguished Professor and director of graduate studies for the Department of Psychology, will be recognized with a Byrd Graduate Educator Award for her concern for the welfare of graduate students. One graduate student nominator said, “she brings out the best of us,” while another noted that she was always “there when I needed her” in challenging situations.

In addition, the 2017-2022 cohort of Chancellor’s Doctoral Fellows, the 2017-2021 cohort of Self Graduate Fellows and the 2017-2018 University Graduate Fellows will be recognized at the ceremony.

Teaching, service and research competition awardees are listed below:

  • Erin Adamson, doctoral student in sociology, will be recognized with a Truman Good Neighbor Award.
  • Zahra Andalib, doctoral student in civil engineering, will be recognized with a Graduate Teaching Assistant Award.
  • Abby Barefoot, doctoral student in women, gender & sexuality studies, will be recognized with a Carlin Graduate Teaching Assistant Award.
  • Monica Biernat, University Distinguished Professor and Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Psychology, will be recognized with a Byrd Graduate Educator Award.
  • Leslie Bross, doctoral student in special education, will be recognized with a Graduate Research Competition Award.
  • Rachel Brown, doctoral student in English, will be recognized with a Chancellor’s Graduate Teaching Assistant Award.
  • James Coll, doctoral student in geography, will be recognized with a Graduate Research Competition Award.
  • Sinan Deger, doctoral student in physics, will be recognized with a Graduate Research Competition Award.
  • Matthew Ferrandino, doctoral student in music theory, will be recognized with a Graduate Research Competition Award.
  • Ruiying Gao, doctoral student in history of art, will be recognized with a Graduate Research Competition Award.
  • Sabrina Gregersen, doctoral student in psychology, will be recognized with a Graduate Research Competition Award.
  • Nader Hakim, doctoral student in psychology, will be recognized with a Carlin Graduate Teaching Assistant Award.
  • A Ram "Bella" Kim, doctoral student in aerospace engineering, will be recognized with a Carlin Graduate Teaching Assistant Award.
  • Andrew Ho Kim, doctoral student in sociology, will be recognized with a Truman Good Neighbor Award.
  • Abigail Kingsford, doctoral student in communication studies, will be recognized with a Graduate Research Competition Award.
  • James Lafikes, doctoral student in civil engineering, will be recognized with a Distinguished Service Award.
  • John Changhong Liu, doctoral student in mechanical engineering, will be recognized with a Carlin Graduate Teaching Assistant Award.
  • Sara McClure, doctoral student in musicology, will be recognized with a Graduate Research Competition Award.
  • Theo Michaels, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology, will be recognized with a Carlin Graduate Teaching Assistant Award.
  • Anna Paradis, director of graduate academic services in the School of Engineering, will be recognized with a Graduate Support Staff Award.
  • Tadd Schneider, doctoral student in behavioral psychology, will be recognized with a Graduate Research Competition Award.
  • Mary Louisa Spangler, doctoral student in women, gender and sexuality studies, will be recognized with a Graduate Teaching Assistant Award.
  • Derek Stark, doctoral student in sport management, will be recognized with a Graduate Research Competition Award.
  • Peymon Zereshki, doctoral student in physics, will be recognized with a Graduate Research Competition Award.


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