News: 2012, August 17th

Distinguished Dissertation Awards


In the Fall of 2009, the Graduate School first announced that it would recognize the achievements of outstanding doctoral students by creating the Auburn University Graduate School Distinguished Dissertation Awards. For 2012, nominations were solicited from the colleges and schools in two categories: Math/Physical Sciences/Engineering and Social Sciences.

Two special awards committees, made up of graduate faculty members with established records in these disciplinary areas, reviewed nominations and selected six winners, three from Math/Physical Sciences/Engineering and three from Social Sciences. The Graduate School is now pleased to announce the winners.

Mathematics/Physical Sciences/Engineering

Jan Boronski (Mathematics): “Fixed Points and Periodic Points of Orientation-reversing Planar Homeomorphisms. Advisor: Dr. Krystyna Kuperberg.

Idris Cerkez (Polymer and Fiber Engineering): “Synthesis and Application of Novel Polymeric N-halamine Antimicrobial Agents.” Advisor: Dr. Roy M. Broughton, Jr.

Hao Yu (Electrical and Computer Engineering): “Advanced Learning Algorithms of Neural Networks.” Advisor: Dr. Bogdan Wilamowski.

Social Sciences

John Francis Magnotti (Psychology): “Assessing Capacity and Control of Visual Working Memory.” Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Katz.

Lori D. Elmore-Staton (Human Development and Family Studies): “Sleep and Cognitive Functioning: The Moderating Role of Vagal Indices.” Advisor: Dr. Mona El-Sheikh.

Samuel Wood Logan (Kinesiology): “The influence of instructional climates on motor skill competence, physical activity behaviors, and psychosocial variables of elementary students.” Advisor: Dr. Leah E. Robinson.

From among these award-winners, the awards committees selected one nominee from each category to compete for a national Distinguished Dissertation Award, sponsored by the Council of Graduate Schools and ProQuest. This special recognition goes to Jan Boronoski and John Francis Magnotti.

Winners of Distinguished Dissertation awards receive an honorarium of $500 and a certificate of citation, to be presented at the Graduate School’s annual award ceremony.

The fields of competition for 2013 will be Biological/Life Sciences and Humanities/Fine Arts. The Graduate School will again solicit nominations for these awards in Fall 2012.


Silhouette of Samford, Hargis, oaks, with tiger, eagle