Graduate School Announces 2023 Award Winners

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April 24, 2023

The Graduate School has announced the 2023 winners of its professional and student awards. The awards recognize excellence in graduate academics, teaching and professional services.

The winners represent a diverse community of students, scholars, teachers and administrators at the university. 

“The winners are a testament to the quality of teaching, research and support in graduate education that transpires on the Forty Acres,” said Mark J. T. Smith, senior vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School. “Each winner has done something extraordinary—the winners have conducted groundbreaking research and inspired others to discover their potential and enabled them to succeed.”

Candidates for the awards are nominated by individuals across campus, and winners are determined by selection committees composed of faculty and staff members and students.

These awards are generously underwritten by the University Co-op, and are presented at the annual Graduate School/University Co-op Awards Banquet each spring.


Outstanding Dissertation Awards

The Outstanding Dissertation Awards were established in 1979 to recognize exceptional work and to encourage the highest levels of scholarship, research and writing. Each year, three awards are given. Of these, one is selected for the Michael H. Granof Award, the university’s top dissertation. The Outstanding Dissertation Award-winners receive $6,000, the Granof Award-winner $10,000.

Will Burg headshot

Dr. Will Burg
Michael H. Granof Award winner for top dissertation
Collective Quantum States in Twist Controlled Graphene Heterostructures
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Cockrell School of Engineering
Nominated by Jack C. Lee

Alex Diamond headshot

Alex Diamond
An Uncomfortable Peace: Everyday State Formation in Colombia’s Peace Laboratory
College of Liberal Arts 
Nominated by Becky Pettit

Augusta Dell'Omo headshot

Dr. Augusta Lynn Dell'Omo
Saving Apartheid: Transatlantic Whiteness in the U.S.-South African Relationship, 1980-1994
College of Liberal Arts
Nominated by Seth Garfield

Outstanding Graduate Student Academic Employee Award

The William S. Livingston Outstanding Graduate Student Academic Employee Awards honor outstanding performance by graduate student academic employees. The winners receive $2,000.

Richard Ardila headshot

Richard Ardila II, Teaching Assistant
Iberian and Latin American Languages and Cultures
College of Liberal Arts
Nominated by Cory A Reed


Elena Perez Zetune headshot

Elena Perez-Zetune, Assistant Instructor
Mexican American and Latina/o Studies
College of Liberal Arts
Nominated by Julie Minich



Outstanding Graduate Coordinator

Graduate coordinators are instrumental to the success of graduate students enrolled at the university. The Outstanding Graduate Coordinator Award recognizes the exemplary service of one coordinator each year. The winner receives $2,000.

Clare Thoman headshot

Clare Higgins Thoman
Graduate Coordinator
Art and Art History
College of Fine Arts
Nominated by Susan Rather


Outstanding Graduate Teacher         

The Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award recognizes one faculty member for distinguished graduate teaching—including demonstrated excellence in the classroom or laboratory, mentorship of students and service to students’ thesis and dissertation committees. The winner receives $2,000.

Syed Akbar Hyder headshot

Dr. Syed Akbar Hyder
Associate Professor
Asian Studies
College of Liberal Arts
Nominated by Donald R. Davis, Jr.


Outstanding Graduate Adviser

Graduate advisers provide invaluable services to the university and its community of students, faculty and staff members. The Outstanding Graduate Adviser Award recognizes the exemplary service of one adviser each year. The winner receives $2,000.

Hina Azam headshot

Dr. Hina Azam
Associate Professor
Middle Eastern Studies
College of Liberal Arts
Nominated by Karen Grumberg

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