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ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences acknowledges spring 2018 Dean’s Medalists

April 02, 2018

On Tuesday, May 8, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University will recognize its highest achieving students from the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities at the 2018 convocation ceremony.

Each department and school within the college has selected a phenomenal student who has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to academic excellence during their time at ASU. These students will be awarded a prestigious Dean’s Medal to be worn with their graduation regalia as they lead their fellow graduates during the processional in honor of their scholastic achievements.

The Dean’s Medalists have each made a name for themselves in their academic achievements, and have worked hard through advanced coursework, honors theses and innovative research while earning continuously high marks. With no doubt, each of these honorees will make impressive contributions to society and the world after graduation.

Meet this year’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Medalists:

Nichol Brown

Dean’s Medal: Department of English
Major: English literature
Minor: German
Accomplishments: Brown has excelled in her academics while simultaneously immersing herself into the culture of ASU, acting as the student editor-in-chief and podcast blogger for ASU’s national literary magazine, Superstition Review, and working as a writing tutor, teaching assistant and research assistant for Barrett, The Honors College at ASU.
Thesis: “Cinderella and Her ‘Faux Feminist’ Contemporary Retelling”
Future Plans: Brown plans to complete her master's degree and pursue a career in academia or publishing.

"As the Superstition Review's student editor-in-chief, Nichol supported both the founding editor and the team of 30 trainees with weekly newsletters and mentorship," said Bradley Ryner, associate professor and associate chair for curriculum in the Department of English. "As the magazine’s podcast blogger, she worked with a community of 900-plus former contributors to solicit “Authors Talk” podcasts and curated the original podcast series."

Catherine Carson

Dean’s Medal: Department of Psychology
Major: psychology, justice studies
Minor: Mandarin Chinese
Certificate: human rights
Accomplishments: In addition to her strong academic performance, Carson has been published in a scientific journal, presented her research at a scientific conference and has received multiple awards for her scholarly dedication. She has been recognized as a National Merit Scholar and an AP Scholar for her incredible work.
Volunteer Work: Carson assisted in projects for the ASU branch of AmeriCorps as a community outreach specialist. She additionally traveled abroad to volunteer for a non-government advocacy organization for people with autism and their families, IRODA.

“Catherine Carson is truly an exemplary student overall, and truly worthy of the Dean’s Medal,” said Polemnia Amazeen, associate professor in the Department of Psychology.

Shawn Courson

Dean’s Medal: School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Major: U.S. history
Minor: political science
Certificate: secondary education
Accomplishments: Courson has devoted his time to academics while standing out in his history courses and working on his honors thesis, which delves into the literature and history of the Reconstruction. Courson also teaches full time at a Tempe high school.
Future Plans: Courson will continue his passion for education with plans to move to Seattle and teach as part of the Teach for America program.

“Courson is a disciplined and devoted student,” said Anna Holian, associate professor of the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies. “He has distinguished himself in his history courses and honors thesis through the depth of his research and thinking about difficult historical questions.”

Adilenne Diaz Hernandez

Dean’s Medal: School of Transborder Studies
Major: transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o studies (U.S. and Mexican regional immigration policy and economy), political science
Accomplishments: Diaz Hernandez served as an outreach aide for the School of Transborder Studies, held internships with the CIMA Law Group and Central Arizonans for a Sustainable Economy, received various honors for her academic performance and has made the ASU Dean’s List since fall 2014.
Volunteer Work: Dedicated to volunteering, Diaz Hernandez taught English in Brazil, worked abroad for Habitat for Humanity and interned with Central Arizonans for a Sustainable Economy. Since completing her internship, Diaz Hernandez has continued to provide her time and service to the organization.

“Adilenne is undoubtedly an exceptional student who will continue to be successful and have a positive impact on her community,” said Lisa Magaña, interim director and professor in the School of Transborder Studies.

Shannon Ditto

Dean’s Medal: School of International Letters and Cultures
Major: French, German
Accomplishments: Ditto excelled in the French language, translating complex French works and going beyond course readings. She has made visits to ASU classes to teach her translations and received the Fulbright Scholarship to France for 2018–19.
Future Plans: Ditto plans to pursue courses in French literature and comparative literature at the University of Strasbourg in France to further her knowledge, and will have the chance to work with original French texts.

“There is no doubt that intellectually, Shannon is a bright student,” said Frédéric Canovas, associate professor of French in the School of International Letters and Cultures. “But she is above all because she is such a hard-working student, always seeking to learn more and to improve herself.”

Hannah Fowl

Dean’s Medal: Hugh Downs School of Human Communication
Major: communication
Minor: Spanish language studies
Accomplishments: Fowl has proven to be a dedicated student, maintaining a strong academic record while working as a course assistant and public information office intern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Arizona.
Volunteer Work: Fowl has been involved as a board member for the Greek Conduct Board and a patient escort at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix.
Future Plans: Fowl applied to law school for 2018 admission, where she hopes to continue her academic advancement.

“Hanna is exceptional,” said Dayna Kloeber, graduate teaching associate in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. “She not only cares about the work she does, but takes an interest in others’ learning as well.”  

Veronica George

Dean’s Medal: School of Social Transformation
Major: justice studies
Minor: women and gender studies
Accomplishments: George has explored her passion for social justice by interning at the Superior Court of Maricopa County through AmeriCorps, where she assisted in filing lawsuits and facilitating access to justice. She also has a love of entrepreneurship, and successfully launched her own business, CosMar Solutions, a digital marketing agency for cosmetic doctors and dentists.
Volunteer Work: George has traveled to over 20 countries abroad, immersing herself in different cultures and exploring new places. While traveling, she volunteered to teach English in Nepal, where she was chosen by her fellow volunteers to be the class leader for her great English and leadership skills.
Future Plans: After graduation, George plans to continue working on her business, and continue her education at law school in fall 2019. She hopes to continue making a positive impact on surrounding communities and fighting for social justice.

John Douglas House

Dean’s Medal: School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
Major: mathematics
Accomplishments: House not only completed challenging coursework for his undergraduate studies, but also excelled in graduate-level classes. House served as a student researcher through the Mentoring through Critical Transition Points program, conducting and presenting statistical research at the largest annual international conference of mathematics, the Joint Mathematics Meeting in 2017.
Volunteer Work: House volunteered for the Mission of Mercy Project, which provides dental care to the underprivileged.

“Faculty unanimously commented on John Douglas’ academic work in the most positive terms,” said Matthias Kawski, President’s Professor in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. “Some tenured faculty consider him the best undergraduate they have ever encountered at ASU.”

Chad Kwiatkowski

Dean’s Medal: School of Earth and Space Exploration
Major: geological sciences
Accomplishments: A student dedicated to his studies, Kwiatkowski has maintained a stellar academic record and was involved in various projects outside of his normal coursework during his time at ASU in the hopes of expanding his knowledge in different areas of study. Kwiatkowski also displayed his skills as a leader, teaching his peers complex geological problems during a three-week field course.

“Chad is highly deserving of this award and is a wonderful example of how well students do when their drive and energy is directed to pursuing their academic passions,” said Arjun Heimsath, professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

Robert Lee

Dean’s Medal: Department of Physics
Major: physics
Accomplishments: Lee worked as a teaching assistant for upper-level classical mechanics courses in the Department of Physics, as well as a research assistant at the ASU Meson Physics Group, where he impressed professors with his eagerness to learn. He worked diligently on multiple projects, including analysis of data from the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab).
Thesis: “Extraction of the Polarization Observables H and P from γp → π+n”

“Robert Lee has demonstrated exceedingly strong intellectual ability and leadership qualities,” said Anna Zaniewski, associate instructional professional in the Department of Physics. “He is the first to volunteer and go beyond expectations any time there is an opportunity to help another student.”

Gabriel Leon

Dean’s Medal: School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning
Major: geography, urban planning
Accomplishments: Leon demonstrated academic excellence while simultaneously participating in numerous leadership roles on campus, including the positions of director of advocacy and president for the Rainbow Coalition. In addition, Leon served as a teaching assistant in both classroom and lab settings.
Volunteer Work: Leon volunteered nearly 3,000 hours of time in the southern Arizona desert for the No Más Muertes/No More Deaths group, where he acted as a main organizer for the Phoenix branch and currently serves as president to the ASU branch. He is also an alumnus of the AmeriCorps program and interned for the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks in the state of Washington. 

“Gabriel has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to scholarship and excellence,” said Jason Kelley, lecturer of urban planning in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. “He exemplifies the characteristics of a student fully deserving of the Dean’s Medal honor.”

Scott Mahan

Dean’s Medal: Department of Economics
Major: economics, mathematics
Accomplishments: Excelling in classes well beyond his academic level, Mahan completed the first doctoral-level coursework in economics during his junior year at ASU and finished his honors thesis while serving as a math and economics tutor for fellow students. He collaborated with the Aerospace Corporation to develop technology used by the Defense Acquisition Authority (DAA) and worked with ASU faculty and students to present research at the Joint Mathematics Meeting in 2017.
Future Plans: Mahan plans to pursue a doctorate in mathematics or applied mathematics, and one day enter a career in government research.

“Scott’s academic record is phenomenal,” said Cara McDaniel, clinical associate professor in the Department of Economics. “While completing a rigorous degree program with more than a full load almost every semester, Scott also assisted his peers with math and economics in the economics tutoring center.”

Madeleine Paley

Dean’s Medal: T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics
Major: family and human development
Minor: biological sciences
Accomplishments: Paley has vast experience in multiple areas including serving as a first-year success coach for incoming freshmen, teaching as a private music instructor and working as a teacher and research assistant. She also interned as a strategic research analyst in the Office of University Initiatives for Social Venture Partners.
Volunteer Work: Involved in fundraiser planning for multiple organizations, Paley has volunteered as the director of community building for GlobeMed and interned for The Joy Bus, a startup nonprofit organization. Paley also served as an ambassador for Barrett, The Honors College in providing prospective students with information and assistance.
Future Plans: Paley plans to attend graduate school in a program focusing on student affairs or higher education.

“Madeleine immediately started distinguishing herself as an outstanding student who understands the importance of getting involved on campus and in the community in order to make the most of her college experience,” said Stacie Foster, assistant clinical professor in the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics.

Jessica Roberson

Dean’s Medal: School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Major: anthropology, English literature
Minor: justice studies
Accomplishments:  Roberson served as the vice president and president of the Undergraduate Anthropology Association where she acted as a student mentor and representative for the college. Roberson worked as a student activist coordinator for Amnesty International USA and was a research apprentice, assisting in data entry and processing and conducting research for an archaeological ceramics textbook.
Future Plans: Roberson hopes to pursue a career with Teach for America upon graduating.

“Jessica is the best undergraduate student I have encountered in my eight years as a professor at ASU,” said K. Michelaki-Schwartz, associate professor of anthropology and associate director of graduate programs in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change.

Matthew Schmitt

Dean’s Medal: School of Politics and Global Studies
Major: political science
Minor: history, global studies
Certificate: international studies, political entrepreneurship through internships, human rights, and conflict and religion
Accomplishments: A military veteran actively serving in the Navy Reserve, Schmitt added depth and insight to classroom discussions, respectfully engaging with peers and demonstrating his relevant knowledge in national security, war and peace to further class interaction. In addition to thriving in the classroom, Schmitt performs as part of the Navy Honor Guard for fallen sailors multiple times a week, demonstrating his leadership and dedication.

“Matt has demonstrated to our faculty a determination to excel,” said Richard Herrera, associate director for the School of Politics and Global Studies. “He is, in all respects, a model student. We have no doubt that he will be an effective leader and contribute greatly to his community.”

Logan Tegler

Dean’s Medal: School of Molecular Sciences
Major: chemistry
Minor: English literature
Accomplishments: Passionate about environmental chemistry, Tegler worked in Professor Ariel Anbar’s lab on her own project developing separation techniques of neutral uranium and calcium isotope species. She received the ASU NASA Space Grant Fellowship, an extremely competitive summer research fellowship at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, for her impressive independent work.
Future Plans: Tegler is a pending applicant for a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship and has received acceptance to multiple graduate programs.

“Logan is immediately known to faculty who have interacted with her and has been exceptionally successful as an undergraduate researcher,” said Anne Katherine Jones, associate professor and associate director of academic affairs of the School of Molecular Sciences. “The school has no doubt that she will be successful in future endeavors.”

Jasmine Truong

Dean’s Medal: School of Life Sciences
Major: biological sciences (biology and society)
Accomplishments: Truong participated in multiple research endeavors throughout her academic career, appearing as an author on multiple published works including the American Biology Teacher journal. She presented her findings at multiple conferences including ASU’s School of Life Sciences Undergraduate Research Symposium, ASU’s Learning Innovation Showcase, the national meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research and the West Coast regional meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research.
Future Plans: Truong is currently considering opportunities in the public health sector.

“Jasmine is one of the strongest students we have had, and she works at the intersections of multiple disciplines, which requires mastering them all,” said Laura Zafirakis, program coordinator senior in the School of Life Sciences. “She exemplifies the New American University and its goal of including all students and helping them excel.”

Jamie Tsosie

Dean’s Medal: American Indian Studies
Major: American Indian studies
Accomplishments: Tsosie is committed to the Diné nation and is interested in the rights of indigenous women. She served as a human resource assistant for the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry and is proficient in the Navajo language.
Future Plans: Tsosie plans to return to her native community and help empower others.

“She will someday soon be the Diné version of Wilma Mankiller,” said Jennica Fulwilder, academic success specialist for American Indian Studies.  

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