06. 24. 2020

The Graduate School is pleased to announce the 2020 Best Dissertation Award Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 Best Dissertation Award! A student from each of four groups – arts and humanities, biological and life sciences, physical sciences and engineering, and social sciences and education – was chosen by faculty from the broad disciplinary area. Selections were based on the originality and importance of the research, as well as the potential for the student to make an unusually significant contribution to their field.

Booke Depenbusch


Brooke Depenbusch, History

  • Advisors: Barbara Young Welke & Tracey Deutsch
  • Dissertation: Down and Out in the USA: General Relief and the Politics of Precarity in the Shadow of the Welfare State, 1935-1964
  • Current Position: Visiting Assistant Professor, Colgate University
Ryan Eichberger


Ryan Eichberger, Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication

  • Advisors: Daniel Philippon
  • Dissertation: Imaging Environmental Belonging in a Wounded World: Toward a Visual Rhetoric for the Anthropocene
  • Current Position: Adjunct Assistant Professor, St. Olaf College
Haiguang Wang


Haiguang Wang, Comparative and Molecular Biosciences

  • Advisor: Kristin Hogquist, Ph.D.
  • Dissertation: How lipid specific T cells become effectors
  • Current Position: Postdoctoral Associate, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Samantha Porter


Samantha Porter, Anthropology 

  • Advisor: Gilbert Tostevin
  • Dissertation: A Lithic-Behavioral Investigation of Cultural Transmission Across the MP-UP Transition
  • Current Position: Digital Preservation Specialist, University of Minnesota – Liberal Arts Technologies and Innovation Services
Mirko Musa


Mirko Musa, Civil Engineering

  • Advisor: Michele Guala
  • Dissertation: Local and Non-local Geomorphic Effects of Hydrokinetic Turbines
  • Current Position: Postdoctoral Research Associate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory


  • Niloofar Sarlati, Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society; Advisor: Shaden M. Tageldin & John Mowitt
  • Margaret Mahan, Biomedical Informatics; Advisor: Dr. Uzma Samadani
  • Chih Hung Lo, Biomedical Engineering; Advisor: Jonathan Sachs
  • Erik Kojola, Sociology; Advisor: David Pellow & Rachel Schurman