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Announcing the 2019 Graduate School Best Dissertation Award Winners

07. 18. 2019

The Graduate School is pleased to announce the 2019 Best Dissertation Award Winners


Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Best Dissertation Award! One graduate 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. 

ARTS & HUMANITIES

Evan Taparata, History
  • Advisor: Erika Lee
  • Dissertation: No Asylum for Mankind: The Creation of Refugee Law and Policy in the United States
  • Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy

BIOLOGICAL & MEDICAL SCIENCES

Brian Sweis, Neuroscience
  • Advisors: David Redish & Mark Thomas
  • Dissertation: Beyond Simple Tests of Value: A Neuroeconomic, Translational, Disease-Relevant, and Circuit-Based Approach to Resolve the Computational Complexity of Decision Making.
  • Current Position: Physician-Scientist Trainee, UMN Medical School

SOCIAL SCIENCES & EDUCATION

Madison Van Oort, Sociology 
  • Advisors: David Pellow & Teresa Gowan
  • Dissertation: Wearing Out: Digital Precarity in Just-in-Time Retail
  • Current Position: Visiting Instructor, Saint Paul College

PHYSICAL SCIENCES & ENGINEERING

Mohit Sinha, Electrical Engineering
  • Advisor: Sairaj Dhople
  • Dissertation: On Decentralized Control of Power Electronics Using Nonlinear Oscillators.
  • Current Position: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Idaho National Laboratory

Honorable Mentions
  • Grace Miller, English; Advisor: Daniel Philippon
  • Lauren White, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior; Advisors: Meggan Craft & James Forester
  • Ryan Cammarota, Chemistry; Advisor: Connie Lu
  • Tess Koerner, Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences; Advisors: Yang Zhang & Peggy Nelson