News: 2013, September 20th

Six recognized with Master’s Thesis Awards

 

Six recent Auburn University graduates have been selected as winners of the Graduate School’s 2013 Master’s Thesis Awards.

Award winners are Zach DeVries, Meng Ding and Saranrat Wittayanukorn in the Life Sciences category; and Stefanie Christensen, Kate Taylor Harcourt and Kelly Martin in the Social Sciences, Business and Education category. DeVries and Martin will go on to compete for the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools’ 2014 Master’s Thesis Awards.

The Master’s Thesis Awards recognize the scholarship of master’s students whose theses make an unusually significant contribution to their respective disciplines. Auburn’s colleges and schools nominate students for the awards, and an award committee named by the Graduate School selects the winners for the two categories.

This year’s winning theses were:

  • “Respiratory Physiology of Urban Insects” by Zach DeVries. The thesis examines the respiratory physiology of three types of insects — bed bugs, firebrats and silverfish — in order to determine how they can survive extended periods of starvation. DeVries’ thesis committee consisted of Auburn faculty members Arthur G. Appel (chair), Nannan Liu and Xing Ping Hu and University of Minnesota associate professor Stephen A. Kells. DeVries graduated from Auburn with a master’s degree in entomology in August 2013 and is now a doctoral student at North Carolina State University.
  • “Food Insecurity and Undiagnosed Chronic Conditions among Adults” by Meng Ding. The thesis examines whether food insecure adults were more likely to have undiagnosed chronic conditions, including prediabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia, when compared to fully food secure adults. Ding’s thesis committee consisted of faculty members Claire A. Zizza (chair), Norbert Wilson, Kyungmi Kim, Richard A. Seals and Kimberly B. Garza. Ding graduated from Auburn with a master’s degree in nutrition in May 2012 and is now enrolled in Auburn’s doctoral program in nutrition.
  • “Evaluation of Medication Therapy Management (MTM) Services for Patients with Cardiovascular Disease” by Saranrat Wittayanukorn. The thesis examines the clinical and economic outcomes of patients who received medication therapy management for cardiovascular diseases and those that did not. Wittayanukorn’s thesis committee consisted of faculty members Salisa Westrick (chair), Brent Fox, Kimberly B. Garza, Kimberly Braxton-Lloyd, Nedret Billor and Richard Hansen. Wittayanukorn graduated from Auburn with a master’s degree in pharmacy care systems in August 2012 and is now enrolled in Auburn’s doctoral program in pharmacy care systems.
  • “Surviving the Spill: Stakeholder Perceptions of the Commercial Seafood Supply Chain in Alabama and Mississippi After the Deepwater Horizon Disaster” by Stefanie Christensen. The thesis addresses how the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and other disasters have shaped stakeholder opinions about the commercial seafood industry along Alabama and Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. Christensen’s thesis committee consisted of faculty members Michelle R. Worosz (chair), Conner Bailey and William Walton. Christensen graduated from Auburn with a master’s degree in rural sociology in August 2013 and is now the partnership coordinator for Mobile Baykeeper in Mobile, Ala.
  • “Examining Family Structure and Half-Sibling Influence on Adolescent Well-Being” by Kate Taylor Harcourt. The thesis explores family structure variations of youth in two-parent families, focusing primarily on types of sibling relationships, and their influence on coping, sexual activity delay, and alcohol and drug use. Harcourt’s thesis committee consisted of faculty members Francesca Adler-Baeder (chair), Stephen Erath and Gregory Pettit. Harcourt graduated from Auburn with a master’s degree in human development and family studies in December 2011 and is now enrolled in Auburn’s doctoral program in human development and family studies.
  • “Hospital Healing Garden Design and Emotional and Behavioral Responses of Visitors and Employees” by Kelly Martin.  The thesis analyzes how people’s perceptions of specific design elements in hospital healing gardens influence their attitude and behavior toward the healing garden and the hospital. Martin’s thesis committee consisted of faculty members Wi-Suk Kwon (chair), Amanda Gale, Alecia Douglas and Eva Jean Dubois. Martin graduated from Auburn with a master’s degree in consumer and design sciences in May 2013 and is now the student services coordinator in Auburn’s College of Human Sciences.

Award winners receive an honorarium of $250 and a certificate, which is presented at the Graduate School’s annual awards ceremony each spring.

The categories for the Master’s Thesis Awards rotate each year. The Graduate School is now soliciting nominations for the 2014 categories: Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering; and Humanities/Fine Arts.

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