Dissertation Awards Program Recognizes Six Doctoral Students

From left: Julie Schneider MS’13, PhD’18; Sumathi Ramanath BA'05, MA’08, PhD’18; and Shaivya Verma MA’16, PhD’18 recently received best dissertation awards at an event sponsored by the Office of Graduate Studies.

The Office of Graduate Studies at UT Dallas honored six doctoral students for writing the best dissertations in their respective schools. The 2018 Best Dissertation Awards were presented as part of an April reception celebrating excellence in graduate education. 

To be considered for the best dissertation award, the paper must have been completed in the past 12 months. Faculty committees in six of the University's schools chose the best dissertation. The winning students have all completed their doctoral degrees.

“The doctoral dissertation is an original, substantial piece of creative research that represents a lot of hard work,” said Dr. Marion Underwood, dean of graduate studies and Ashbel Smith Professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. “The students that we honored represented the best of the best.”

This year’s recipients are:

Sumathi Ramanath BA’05, MA’08, PhD'18, School of Arts and Humanities (Humanities – History of Ideas)
Title: “Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science: Mahendralal Sircar and His Science, Morality, and Nationalism”
Research Mentor: Dr. Pamela Gossin

Julie Schneider MS'13, PhD'18, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (Psychological Sciences)
Title: “Identifying Differences in the Neural Correlates Underlying Semantic and Syntactic Development”
Research Mentor: Dr. Mandy Maguire

Shaivya Verma MA’16, PhD'18, School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (Political Science)
Title: “Seeking Refuge: Analysis of Deterrence Policies and Formal Rights”
Research Mentor: Dr. Harold Clarke

Varun Subramaniam Kumar MS’14, PhD'18, Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science (Electrical Engineering)
Title: “Novel Sensing Approaches Towards Ultimate MEMS Sensors”
Research Mentor: Dr. Siavash Pourkamali

Mohammad Zia PhD’17, Naveen Jindal School of Management (Management Science)
Title: “Multi-Platform Search-Based Advertising”
Research Mentor: Dr. Ram Rao

Marzana Chowdhury PhD'18, School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (Statistics)
Title: “Prediction of Individualized Risk of Contralateral Breast Cancer”
Research Mentors: Dr. Swati Biswas and Dr. Pankaj Choudhary

Weikang Lin

Weikang Lin, who is scheduled to earn his doctoral degree in physics later this year, was one of two students who earned a David E. Daniel Graduate Fellowship.

Two Students Earn Daniel Fellowships

Two students earned David E. Daniel Graduate Fellowships, which are supported by an endowment established in 2006 by Daniel, the former UT Dallas president who now serves as deputy chancellor for The University of Texas System. The awards recognize an exceptional doctoral student each year in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

The recipients were Ahmed Elshafie PhD'18 in electrical engineering and Weikang Lin in physics. Dr. Naofal Al-Dhahir was Elshafie's research mentor, and Dr. Mustapha Ishak-Boushaki is Lin's mentor.

UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson congratulated the recipients for their hard work and for adding to the success of the University.

“Our emergence as a top-tier research university is supported by the intellectual capital that you have produced. Thank you for contributing to UT Dallas in such a meaningful way,” he said.

Benson and Dr. Inga Musselman, provost and vice president for academic affairs, both noted the importance of the faculty research mentors in the doctoral process.

“I encourage our doctoral students to maintain the connection with their faculty research supervisors,” Musselman said. “Your research supervisors can continue to give you great advice and be a good sounding board throughout your careers.”

UT Dallas awards about 190 doctoral and professional degrees each year across 31 disciplines.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].