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At the top of CLAS: College launches Graduate Excellence Awards

ASU students working in lab
April 24, 2014

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has launched a new initiative designed to reward outstanding doctoral and masters students recognized nationally or internationally during academic year 2013-2014.

“Students who strive to establish themselves as leaders in their field, compete for fellowships, grants, travel awards and scholarships,” says Kenro Kusumi, associate dean of graduate programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “This award is just one small way that we can honor the top 5 percent of our college’s students for their initiative, hard work and achievements.”

More than 120 graduate students will receive graduate excellence inaugural awards. A reception for the awardees and the college’s deans, chairs and directors will be held from 1-3 p.m., May 7, in the Memorial Union’s Alumni Lounge on the Tempe campus.

Among the students receiving awards from the School of Earth and Space Exploration are Gayatri Indah Marliyani, Mingming Li (geological sciences) and Marc Neveu (astrophysics), who came to ASU from hometowns in Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Jiangzi Province, China; and Dreux, France, respectively.

“Indonesia experiences a variety of geologically-related hazards, including earthquakes and tsunamis, so my research focuses on the active faults and earthquake hazards,” says Marliyani. “My results can contribute to the development of seismic hazard analysis in Java, and may be useful in understanding similar systems in other parts of the world.” Marliyani competed for and received awards from the Schlumberger Foundation, the Seismological Society of America and the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education to support her field work and laboratory expenses.

More than 60 graduate excellence awards will be received by students in the School of Life Sciences and the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. Among them are graduate students Ashleigh Gonzales, Jorge Ramos and John Rowan.

Gonzales is pursuing a master’s degree in biology and society. Her goal is to forge new approaches to education and technologies for visually impaired students seeking research careers in the sciences. She was awarded a Reach for the Stars Fellowship, Alma and Ruth Wilson Scholarship, Donald and Dorothy Colee Scholarship and a travel grant from the Society for Neuroscience.

Ramos is pursuing a doctorate in environmental life sciences. He recently traveled to Chihuahua, Mexico, as part of a study of ecological diversity that included the making of a documentary about Cuatro Cienegas hot springs. In addition to his other successes, Ramos serves as the chair of the student section of the Ecological Society of America and is an active member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Latinos and Native Americans in Sciences.

Rowan is a doctoral student in evolutionary anthropology, hoping to generate greater understanding about human evolution and mammalian paleontology. His studies take him to the fossil-rich sediments in Hadar, Ethiopia, to the Turkana Basin in Kenya.

In addition to these exceptional awardees are graduate students with the Department of Psychology, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Department of English, School of Politics and Global Studies and the Consortium for Science Policy Outcomes. Applications for excellence awards will be received through May 18.

“Opportunities such as this draw attention to the critical role graduate students play in forwarding the university’s mission of becoming global leaders of discovery and innovation,” says award-winner Megan Fisk. Fisk is a doctoral candidate in Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, whose studies offer insight into more effective suicide prevention in the military.