Texas A&M Announces Winners of Distinguished Dissertation Awards

COLLEGE STATION, April 3, 2020 – Texas A&M’s Office of Graduate and Professional Studies (OGAPS) has announced the winners of its inaugural Distinguished Dissertation Awards. These awards are given to current or former doctoral students whose dissertations represent extraordinarily high-level scholarship and make a significant contribution to their field of study.
Nominations for Distinguished Dissertation Awards were submitted by dissertation advisors and committee members. Submissions are reviewed by a panel of 10 faculty and administrators, who select a winner from each of four academic categories: Biological and Life Sciences; Humanities and Fine Arts; Mathematics, Physical Science, and Engineering; and Social Sciences.
Each winner receives a certificate of recognition and a $1000 cash prize. In addition, Akshi Singla was named the recipient of the George W. Kunze Endowed Graduate Student Award. This recognition is given in the name of longtime Texas A&M Graduate Dean George W. Kunze to recognize outstanding work by a doctoral student nearing degree completion.
Texas A&M will submit the nomination packets for two award winners, Katherine Ann Calle Willyard and Akshi Singla, for consideration in a national Distinguished Dissertation Awards competition sponsored by The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and ProQuest. Each year, CGS/ProQuest awards recipients in two categories, and for 2020, these include (1) Social Sciences and (2) Mathematics, Physical Science, and Engineering—the fields of competition in which Willyard and Singla competed.
To send nominees on to the CGS/ProQuest competition is an exciting next step for Texas A&M, explains Dr. George Cunningham, Sr. Assistant Provost for Graduate and Professional Studies. “Our students conduct important, meaningful research that impacts the state, nation, and world. We wanted to recognize and share their exceptional scholarly contributions beyond our Aggie community,” Cunningham says.
This year’s winners:

Kritika Kothari

Field of Competition: Biological Sciences and Life Sciences
Graduation: May 2019
Dissertation Title: Assessing Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Major Crops in Texas: A Case Study of Two Regions
Department: Biological and Agricultural Engineering
College: Agriculture and Life Science
Committee Chair: Srinivasulu Ale

Mary Reagan

Field of Competition: Humanities and Fine Arts  
Graduation: May 2020
Dissertation Title: Constructing Victorian Masculinity: The Academic Prize Book and Etonian Leaving-Book
Department: English
College: Liberal Arts       
Committee Chair: Craig Kallendorf

Akshi Singla

George W. Kunze Endowed Graduate Student Award

Field of Competition: Mathematics, Physical Science, and Engineering
Graduation Date: May 2020
Dissertation Title: A Bio-Mimetic Approach to Design a Targeted Drug Delivery Technique
Department: Chemical Engineering
College: Engineering
Committee Chair: Hung-Jen Wu

Katherine Ann Calle Willyard

Field of Competition: Social Sciences
Graduation Date: May 2019        
Dissertation Title: The Effects of Organizational, Community, and State Regulatory Characteristics on Oil and Gas Extraction Facility Venting and Flaring Practices
Department: Sociology 
College: Liberal Arts
Committee Chair: Theresa Morris  

Congratulations to you all!
By Rob Dixon, Texas A&M University Office of Graduate and Professional Studies 
Media contacts:  

Rob Dixon, Texas A&M University Office of Graduate and Professional Studies, 979.845.3631, rdixon@tamu.edu


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