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Distinguished Doctoral and Master’s Scholarship

Since 2008, the Graduate College has recognized the scholarly achievements of Boise State University graduate students. The Graduate College currently distributes awards annually in five categories: Master’s Thesis and Project Awards (in the Arts, STEM fields, and non-STEM fields,) the Innovation in Technology Award, and the Distinguished Doctoral Scholarship Award. The awards themselves follow the nomination categories sponsored by the Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) and the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) through their WAGS/ProQuest and CGS/ProQuest awards. The various awards have different screening criteria, generally related to measures of merit, quality, significance, originality, and contributions to the discipline. All master’s award winners are submitted to the WAGS/ProQuest competitions.

Award Recipients

2021-2022 Recipients

Distinguished Doctoral Scholarship

Pete Barnes, Materials Science and Engineering-PhD

Distinguished Thesis (STEM)

Mayara (Maya) Cizina, Geosciences

Distinguished Thesis/Project (Arts)

Margaret pope, Visual Arts, MFA

Innovation in Technology

Jukes Liu, Geophysics


Distinguished Doctoral Scholarship

Evan Smith, Materials Science and Engineering-PhD
“Empirical Modeling of Structural Distortions in Perovskite Ceramics”

Zongbo Xu, Geophysics-PhD
“Rayleigh-wave multicomponent crosscorrelation-based estimation of phase velocities and ambient seismic source distribution”

Distinguished Thesis (STEM)

Leanna Marquart, Chemistry and Biochemistry-MS
“Structure and Bioactivity of a Rationally Designed Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Antagonist Targeting the Alpha-3 Beta-2 Subtype”

Distinguished Thesis/Project (Arts)

Lisa Roggenbuck, Art, Design, and Visual Studies-MFA
“Aesthetic Labor”

Innovation in Technology

Thomas Van Der Weide, Geophysics-MS
“Remote Sensing of Alfalfa Seed Crop Fields”


Distinguished Doctoral Scholarship

April Watts, Curriculum & Instruction-EdD
“Substance Use and Bullying Intervention Among High School Students”

Distinguished Thesis (STEM)

Md. Fazle Rabbi, Civil Engineering-MS
“Effect of subsurface conditions on flexible pavement behavior: Non-destructive testing and mechanistic analysis”

Distinguished Thesis (Non-STEM)

Christian Sprague, Economics-MS
“Robustness Effects on the Resilience Process within the U.S. Labor Market”

Distinguished Thesis/Project (Arts)

Mary Lowry, Creative Writing-MFA
“The Roxy Letters”

Innovation in Technology

Aidin Golrokh, Civil Engineering-MS
“The use of non-destructive testing in asphalt and concrete defect assessment”


Shawn Edrington, Visual Arts-MFA
“Terrain Vague.” Committee: Dan Scott, Francis Fox, Ted Apel

Ali Ohashi, Kinesiology-MS “Transitioning out of sport: Perspectives of student-athlete support or development services.”
Committee: Eric M. Martin, Shelley Lucas, Scott A. Conger

Mila Lam, Chemistry-MA
“Investigation of Catalytic Activity of Stable β-Ketoacyl-ACP Substrate Analogs in Quorum Sensing Signal Synthesis.” Committee: Rajesh Nagarajan, Eric Brown, and Owen McDougal

Neha Misra, Biomolecular Sciences-PhD
“Development of a cholera toxin CTA2/B based Staphylococcus aureus vaccine to prevent bovine mastitis.” Committee: Juliette Tinker, Kenneth Cornell, Julie Thom Oxford, and Mark A. McGuire


Adam Behrman, History-MA, 2016. “Selling Narratives of a Mexico in Crisis: Environmental Reporting in Excélsior and Uno más Uno, 1983-84.” Committee: Emily Wakild, Lisa Marie Brady, and Jennifer A. Stevens. Non-STEM Award.

Heather Wilber, Mathematics-MS, 2016. “Numerical Computing with Functions on the Sphere and Disk.” Committee: Grady Wright, Alex Townsend, and Jodi L. Mead. STEM award.


Alicia Anderson, Health Science, Health Promotion-MS, 2016. “Short-term Outcome Evaluation of Healthy Habits, Healthy U: A School-based Cancer Prevention Program.” Committee: Tedd McDonald, Caile Spear and Mary Pritchard. Non-STEM Award.

Janna Rozar, Geology-MS, 2015. “Defining Antecedent Topography at Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Kane County, Utah: The Influence of Structural Controls on Dune Field Boundary Conditions and Holocene Landscape Evolution.” Committee: David Wilkins, Richard Ford, Nancy Glenn, and John Bradford. STEM Award.


Audrey Coon,  Kinesiology-MS, 2015. “Predicting College Women Rowers’ Motivation and Persistence: A Self-Determination Theory Approach.” Committee: Dr. Nicole D. Bolter, Dr. Shelly Lucas, Tyler G. Johnson, and Yong Gao. Non-STEM Award.

Nikole J. Kucza, Materials Science and Engineering-MS, 2015. “Magnetic-Induced Deformation in Off-Stoichiometric Ni2MnGa: The Competition Between Constraints and Magnetic Energies.” Committee: Dr. Peter Mullner, David C. Dunand, and William B. Knowlton. STEM Award.

2014 – 2015

Lyn Uratani, MA-English, Literature, 2014. “‘Not Everyone Was Asleep’: Anti-Colonial Personifications of Antiquity and Progress in José Rizal’s Touch Me Not and El Filibusterismo.” Committee:  Jacqueline O’Connor, Co-Chair, Gautam Basu Thakur, Co-Chair, and Shelton Woods. Non-STEM Award.

Alexanra (Allie) Anderson, MS-Raptor Biology, 2014. “Population Response to Climate Change: Wintering Strategy Has Carryover Effects on the Timing of Nest Initiation and Mate Choice in a Partial Migrant, the American Kestrel (Falco sparverius).” Committee:  Julie Heath, Chair;  James F. Smith, Stephen Novak, Karen Steenhof. STEM Award.

2013 – 2014

Annie Knowles, MA-English, Literature, 2013. “Encounters of the Arabian Kind: Cultural Exchange and Identity in the Tristans of Medieval France, England and Spain.” Committee: Linda Marie Zaerr, Chair, Edward Mac Test, Dalia Eltayeb.  Non-STEM Award.

Graham Frye, MS-Biology, 2012. Phytochemical Ecology of an Avian Herbivore, the Greater Sage-Grouse: Implications for Behavior, Physiology, and Conservation.” Committee: Jennifer S. Forbey, Chair, John W. Connelly, James R. Belthoff.  STEM Award.

2012 – 2013

Amy Colleen Ulappa, MS-Biology, 2011. “Nutritional and Chemical Factors Shaping Diet Selection for Two Sagebrush Specialists: Pygmy Rabbits and Sage-grouse.”  Committee: Jennifer Forbey, Chair,  Ian C. Robertson, Julie A. Heath, Owen M. McDougal.

2011 – 2012

Justin Welty, MS-Raptor Biology, 2010. “Costs and Benefits of Variable Nest Density in Burrowing Owls: Effects on Predation, Ectoparasites, Egg Yolk Hormones, and Productivity”  Committee:  James R. Belthoff, Chair; Alfred M. Dufty, Jr., Ian Robertson.

2010 – 2011

Polina Kokoulina, MS-Biology, 2010. “Caspase Activation in Neurodegenerative Diseases Classified as Taupathies and Alpha-Synucleinopathies: Caspase-Cleaved TAR DNA-Binding Protein-43 in Pick’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Dementia with Lewy Bodies.”  Committee: Troy Rohn, Chair, Julia Oxford, Juliette Tinker.

2009 – 2010

Joshua P. White, MS-Biology, 2009. “Seed Predation on Slickspot Peppergrass by the Owyhee Harvester Ant.” Committee: Ian C. Robertson, Chair, Peter Koestsier; Stephen Novak.

2008 – 2009

Melissa Keith, MA-English, Rhetoric & Composition, 2008. “The Effect of Writing Center Visits on the Writing Apprehension of Students in First-year Writing Courses.” Committee: Michael Mattison, Chair, Heidi Estrem, Devan Cook.