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Grad Students Awarded For Teaching, Research

April 23, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt
Story By: Weston Rose

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nominees, participants, and winners on stage
Nominees, participants and winners of the 2013-2014 Graduate Studies Awards. —All photos submitted


The Sam Houston State University Office of Graduate Studies, in partnership with the Professional and Academic Center for Excellence and the College of Education, recognized graduate students for teaching and research and announced the winner of its “Graduate Magazine Scholarship” contest during a banquet on April 17.

The winners of the 2013-2014 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award were Katherine Gaskamp, master’s student in history; Leann Huddelston, master’s student indance; Kaylee Kerbs, master’s student in agriculture; Ruwan Chamara Karunanayaka, master’s student in statistics; and James Taylor, master’s student in computing science.

winners of Outstanding Teaching Assisstant Awards
Recipients of the 2013-2014 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards were (from left): Ruwan Chamara Karunanayaka, Kaylee Kerbs, James Taylor, and Leann Huddelston. Not Pictured: Katherine Gaskamp.
winners of Graduate Research Exchange Awards
Recipients of the 17th Annual Graduate Research Exchange Awards included (from left): Poorna Wansapura, Best Research; Cassandra Atkin-Plunk, Most Impactful Research; and Prasopsuk (Peg) Pinto, Most Creative Research. Not Pictured: Richard Lewis, Best in Presentation.
Graduate Research Exchange runners up
17th Annual Graduate Research Exchange runners up included (from left): Rebecca McCullough, Most Impactful Research; and Colleen Warren, Most Creative Research. Not Pictured: Chelsea Branch, Best in Presentation; and Ann Theodori, Best Research.
scholarship raffle winners
Graduate Research Exchange Scholarship Raffle Winners were (from left): Teja Raghavendra, Lisa Macallister and Subash Kumar Saladi. Not Pictured: Cassandra Schield.

The five were presented with an iPad Air as the prize for their outstanding work by Kandi Tayebi, dean of Graduate Students and associate vice president for Academic Affairs.

Other nominees for the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, who were recognized during the banquet, included Cassandra Atkin-Plunk (criminal justice), Cindy Botero (biology), Chris Foster (English), Brett Gardner (clinical psychology), Paige Harris (clinical psychology), Julio Medina-López (Spanish), Ashley Meyer (biology), Christina Nieuwoudt (mathematics), Nathan Ridings (English), Ajjima Utaravichien (literacy), Poorna Wansapura (chemistry), Hayley Wechsler (clinical psychology), and Jun Wu (Criminal Justice).

Jerry Bruce, interim dean of the College of Education, presented an iPad Air to winners in each of the four categories for the Graduate Research Awards and SHSU blankets to the runners up.

Winners included:

  • Best in Presentation: Richard Lewis, doctoral student in criminal justice; runner up: Chelsea Branch, master’s student in history.
  • Most Creative Research: Prasopsuk Pinto, doctoral student in education; runner up: Colleen Warren, master’s student in psychology.
  • Most Impactful Research: Cassandra Atkin-Plunk, doctoral student in criminal justice; runner up: Rebecca McCullough, master’s student in forensic science.
  • Best Research: Poorna Wansapura, master’s student in chemistry; runner up: Ann Theodori, doctoral student in literacy.

In addition, Lisa Macallister (education), Teja Raghavendra (computing science), Subash Kumar Saladi (computing science), and Cassandra Schield (forensic science) each received a $1,000 scholarship in the Graduate Research Exchange Scholarship Drawing.

Finally, the Office of Graduate Studies recently invited graduate students to submit a new title for the forthcoming Graduate Studies magazine.

Seventy graduate students submitted more than 190 suggested titles, and Gabriel Culver, a master’s student in history, received a $1,000 scholarship for submitting the winning title. The Graduate Studies magazine will hit stands in August 2014.

More than 100 graduate students, faculty, staff, and guests attended the banquet, recognizing the 18 Outstanding Teaching Assistant nominees and the 57 Graduate Research Exchange nominees, who represented the colleges of Business Administration, Sciences, Education, Fine Arts and Mass Communication, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Criminal Justice.



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