Graduate School Announces 2024 Award Winners

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May 2, 2024
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The Graduate School has announced the 2024 winners of its professional and student awards. The awards recognize excellence in graduate academics, teaching and professional services.

The winners represent a dynamic 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 Sarah Ades, senior vice provost for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies 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.

Faith Deckard headshot

Faith Deckard
Michael H. Granof Award winner for top dissertation
Bonded: Bail Agents, Families, and the Management of Risk
Sociology, College of Liberal Arts
Supervisor: Javier Auyero

Jiaqi Gu headshot

Jiaqi Gu
Light-AI Interaction: Bridging Photonics and Artificial Intelligence via Cross-Layer Hardware/Software Co-Design
Electrical & Computer Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering
Supervisors: David Z. Pan, Ray T. Chen

Melissa Santillana headshot

Melissa Santillana
Destrúyelo todo: The Women behind the Mexican Feminist Spring
Moody College of Communication
Supervisors: Mary Beltrán, Joseph D. Straubhaar

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 $5,000.

Eman Alasadi headshot

Eman Alasadi, Teaching Assistant
College of Natural Sciences
Nominated by Carlos Baiz


Laurel Rogers headshot

Laurel Rogers, Assistant Instructor
Moody College of Communication
Nominated by Suzanne Scott



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.

Tracy Demchuk headshot

Tracy Demchuk
Director for Graduate Program Advising & Admissions
Student/Clinical Affairs
School of Nursing
Nominated by Alexandra Garcia


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.

Luisa Nardini headshot

Luisa Nardini
Butler School of Music
College of Fine Arts
Nominated by Raquel Monroe


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.

Cesar Salgado headshot

César A. Salgado
Associate Professor
Spanish and Portugese
College of Liberal Arts
Nominated by Hannah Wojciehowski

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