Baylor University Graduate School Honors Outstanding Graduate Student Award Winners

November 16, 2023
Photo of 2023 Outstanding Graduate Student Award Winners

More than 5,600 graduate students pursue their Master’s or Doctoral studies at Baylor, and their work positively impacts research, teaching and scholarship throughout the University.  Each year, the Baylor University Graduate School honors the top students in teaching, research and dissertations in an annual Outstanding Graduate Student Award Luncheon.

On November 15, the Graduate School honored the Outstanding Graduate Student Award winners for 2022-23, celebrating 12 students from 11 departments whose scholarly work stood out among their outstanding peers in the Graduate School.

“It is incredibly meaningful to celebrate our Outstanding Graduate Students, because it brings to life the abstract concepts we deal with—research dollars, Ph.D.’s produced. Those are numbers, but these are people,” Larry Lyon, Ph.D., Dean of the Graduate School, said. “Their work is of the highest quality, and their research and dissertations could be found at any elite institution in the nation. The chance to acknowledge and celebrate their accomplishments is really special.

Each year, three major awards are presented by the Graduate School: Outstanding Graduate School Instructors, Outstanding Graduate School Research and Outstanding Dissertation. To capture the diversity of disciplines across the institution, multiple versions of each award are presented for students in the humanities, STEM fields and social sciences. The Outstanding Graduate Instructor Award is presented for each semester, for a total of six annual winners, while three are selected for the Research and Dissertation Awards.

Meet the 2022-23 Outstanding Graduate Student Honorees, along with their faculty mentors:

Outstanding Graduate School Instructor Honorees for Fall 2022 and Spring 2023, with faculty mentors listed alongside:
Humanities: Kaitlyn Waynen, History, Fall 2022 Mentor: Beth Allison Barr, Ph.D.
  Maggi Jones, Religion, Spring 2023 Mentor: Natalie Carnes, Ph.D.
Social Sciences: Matthew Reisling, Political Science, Fall 2022 Mentor: Ann Ward, Ph.D.
  Michael Ryan, Sociology, Spring 2023 Mentor: Kevin Dougherty, Ph.D.
STEM: Owen Salmon, HHPR/EXNS, Fall 2022 Mentor: Cory Smith, Ph.D.
  Ben Philips, Mechanical Engineering, Fall 2023 Mentor: Anne Spence, Ph.D.

Winners were selected based on recommendations from their supervising faculty, letters from students in the classroom, teaching philosophy statements and record of participation in professional teaching development. Winners receive a plaque and travel award to attend a conference, or the purchase of the tam & hood portion of their doctoral regalia.

Outstanding Graduate School Research Honorees for 2022-23, with faculty mentors:
Humanities: Anna Wells, Religion Mentor: Carlos Cardoza-Orlando, Ph.D.
Social Sciences: Steven Foertsch, Sociology Mentor: Paul Froese, Ph.D.
STEM: Uvin de Alwis, Chemistry & Biochemistry Mentor: Kevin Shuford, Ph.D.

Candidates are judged by their description of their completed and/or ongoing research projects, participation in research events and conferences, presentations and publications, future research plans, and a letter of recommendation from a faculty mentor.  Winners receive a plaque and travel award to attend a conference, or the purchase of the tam & hood portion of their doctoral regalia.

Outstanding Dissertation for 2022-23, with faculty mentors
Humanities:   Shannan Baker, Ph.D., Church Music Mentor: Monique Ingalls, Ph.D.
Social Sciences: Annmarie Crum, Ph.D., Curriculum & Instruction Mentor: Lakia Scott, Ph.D.
STEM: Burke Leonce, Ph.D., Geosciences Mentor: Bill Hockaday, Ph.D.

Applicants must be nominated by their department.  They are then judged on their description of their dissertation project and other elements of their CVs such as publications, presentations, and other awards.  They also submit letters of recommendation from a faculty member who worked closely with them and from their GPD. This award comes with a plaque and a $1,000 cash prize.

Each student’s faculty mentor attended the November 15 luncheon to celebrate along with their student mentees. Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D., presented the awards.

“It’s exciting to celebrate with the students and the mentors who have walked alongside them to help them achieve the highest levels of excellence,” Brickhouse said. “Great educators are made, and not born, and each of these students have begun the important work of developing the craft of teaching that will launch them well in academia.

To meet this year’s winners and discover their work, or visit the Outstanding Graduate Student Award Winners website or follow the Baylor University Graduate School on Instagram. Learn more about Baylor’s investment in graduate education and Graduate School growth here.