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Office of the Provost

Recognition of Academic Excellence, Spring 2021

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April 28, 2021

These awards celebrate the love of learning that unites us as a university community and the outstanding scholars and teachers who personify this passion for inquiry and growth.


Deans’ Awards

The Deans’ Awards are among the highest honors bestowed to faculty at the university level. The awards originated in 1982 as the Burlington Northern Foundation Faculty Achievement Awards and were given in alternate years.

Currently, TCU bestows three Deans’ Teaching Awards and the three Deans’ Awards for Research and Creativity annually. Each school or college nominates one faculty member for each award, with AddRan College of Liberal Arts nominating two, one from each of its divisions, Humanities and Social Sciences. All TCU deans vote to determine the six winners.

Dr. Gregg CantrellDr. Gregg Cantrell, Professor of History and Director of Graduate Studies
AddRan College of Liberal Arts

With 14 book awards and four best-article prizes, Dr. Cantrell has established his reputation as a nationally prominent American historian. He recently has focused on populism in American history, publishing four scholarly articles and a book, The People’s Revolt: Texas Populists and the Roots of American Liberalism, which earned the top award given by the Texas State Historical Association. As director of graduate studies and an anchor in the history Ph.D. program, Cantrell incorporates methodology, historiography, archival research and professional networking through his research seminars. He also mentors undergraduates in researching, writing and publishing their own scholarship.

“The study of Texas has offered a lifetime of compelling material that teaches lessons and reveals truths about American history and history in general. I’ve made it my mission to instill this same belief in my own students.”

Dr. Sarah HillDr. Sarah Hill, Professor of Psychology
College of Science & Engineering

Dr. Hill is an internationally recognized expert in evolutionary social psychology. She has published 68 papers and a widely praised book, This is Your Brain on Birth Control. Her research – which combines evolution, health psychology, decision-making and consumer behavior – has been published in top journals across disciplines and garnered repeat funding from the National Science Foundation. She attracts media attention for her work on the behavioral and health effects of early life poverty, and the behavioral effects of hormonal contraceptives. Hill and her team founded Eos BioAnalytics, a business within TCU’s psychology department offering fee-based biological assay services to scientists.

“I am grateful to TCU, the College of Science and Engineering, and the Department of Psychology for nurturing my research career. Every day I am grateful for the opportunity to get paid to do what I love.”

Dr. Sarah Quebec-Fuentes Dr. Sarah Quebec-Fuentes, Associate Professor of Mathematics Education
College of Education

Dr. Quebec Fuentes taught middle and secondary mathematics for 10 years before joining TCU’s Andrews Institute of Mathematics and Science Education. Through her research, she created a process for teachers to improve group discussions, published in a book S3D: Fostering and Improving Small-Group, Student-to-Student Discourse. Her work on a case study to introduce school leaders to research-based instructional practices resulted in a book, encyclopedia entry, research articles and a distinguished paper award. She also helped develop a framework for teachers to formatively assess reasoning for students with learning disabilities. As a member of a 10-person research group from universities across Texas, she helped develop an instrument to measure self-efficacy for teaching and learning algebra for in-service teachers. 

“I strive to bridge the research and practice communities and collaborate across fields to contribute to the teaching and learning of mathematics."

Dr. Michelle BaumlDr. Michelle Bauml, Clotilda Winter Professor of Education and Associate Professor of Early Childhood/Social Studies Education
College of Education

Dr. Bauml began her career as a public school teacher and joined TCU in 2010. As coordinator for the Early Childhood Education program, she led a redesign so that EC-6 majors could take teaching methods courses for both special education and English language learners, instead of requiring them to choose one, making TCU graduates uniquely equipped to support children’s diverse learning needs. Her multiyear iEngage Summer Civics Institute teaches area middle school youth about civic engagement, and her collaboration with TCU’s Starpoint lab school led to a schoolwide Veterans Day program and a co-authored journal article.

“A principle of effective teaching that resonates with me is the notion of establishing and maintaining a positive learning environment. In my classes, this emerges through authentic learning experiences, timely and specific feedback on assignments, and regular check-ins with students.”

Dr. Beata JonesDr. Beata Jones, Professor of Professional Practice in Business Information Systems
Neeley School of Business

Dr. Jones has spent 24 years teaching at TCU, where her joy of providing engaging and relevant courses that require students to practice higher-order critical thinking has a life-changing impact on her students and fellow faculty. She continuously researches and implements pedagogy and learning strategies to enhance students’ learning experiences. She has developed 11 new Business Information Systems courses at TCU, for which she won the best paper award. She is founding director of the Neeley Fellows business honors program, and spent three years as an Honors Faculty Fellow in the John V. Roach Honors College, where she refined strategies to help students develop intercultural competence.

“Teaching to me is being an artist, an essayist and a scientist all in one, orchestrating a class, considering the profile of students, and researching course design, pedagogy and learning."

Ms. Penny MaasMs. Penny Maas, Associate Professor of Theatre
College of Fine Arts

Maas came to academia after 21 years of working as a professional actress, singer and dancer on Broadway. She utilizes her background to bring high-level guest teaching artists to campus. She spearheaded the creation of TCU’s BFA Theatre Senior Showcase, and takes performance students to an annual showcase in New York City where dozens of TCU graduates have acquired jobs and professional representation. Relentlessly supportive and energized, Maas fills students with encouragement as she instructs, questions and corrects. Students in her classes feel safe to fail — a crucial component for success in the arts and in life.

“My goal is to help our students feel successful and be the best versions of themselves, inside and outside of classes. To get there, my motto continues to be to ‘take my teaching beyond the classroom.’”

Graduate Student Awards

The Outstanding Graduate Research, Teaching and Service awards winners are selected by each school or college to recognize students who demonstrate excellence in those areas.

Luca Ceresa - College of Science & Engineering

Elizabeth Donnelly - Bob Schieffer College of Communication

Leslie Ekpe - College of Education

Courtney Kimmel - AddRan College of Liberal Arts

Maddi Multer - Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Kim Nguyen - College of Fine Arts

Jesús (Jesse) de Hoyos, Jr. - College of Fine Arts

Matthew Dumican - Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Michael Gonzalez - Bob Schieffer College of Communication

Paige Northern - College of Science & Engineering

Toya Mary Okonkwo - AddRan College of Liberal Arts

Katharine Ottone - College of Education

Haley Decker - Bob Schieffer College of Communication

Kaitlyn Harrison - Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Danny Rodriguez - AddRan College of Liberal Arts

Alex Tolar - College of Education

Jessica (Jessie) Welsh - College of Fine Arts

Karen Winters - College of Science & Engineering

Whitney Lew James - AddRan College of Liberal Arts

Clare Benes - Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences

The Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award winner is selected by each school or college to recognize the faculty member who demonstrates excellence in guiding and supporting graduate student success.

Dr. Kathy Baker - Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Dr. Josh Bentley - Bob Schieffer College of Communication

Dr. Ann Gipson - College of Fine Arts

Dr. Hayat Hokayem - College of Education

Dr. Brad Lucas - AddRan College of Liberal Arts

Dr. Ken Richardson - College of Science & Engineering

Undergraduate Student Awards

Senior Scholars

Senior Scholars are a highly select group, identified by faculty as the most outstanding students in their departments or programs. To be eligible, students must:

(1) be a senior (including graduates from the previous December)

(2) be a major in one of the unit’s programs

(3) have an overall GPA of 3.50 or higher.

Departments or programs with larger numbers of majors are allowed to choose one additional Senior Scholar per 300 majors.

Criminal Justice Lilly Rice
Economics Ryan Kowilcik
Emily Hawker
English Christopher Atkins
Writing Ashley Parks
Geography Margaret Martin
History Laura Nicolescu
Modern Language Studies Garrett Wagner
Philosophy Jale Gosch
Political Science Audrey Payne
Miranda Sullivan
Religion Miranda Sullivan
Sociology Hannah Patterson
Anthropology Liam Evans
Spanish & Hispanic Studies Megan Ruble
Accounting Madeline Bailey
Finance Cole Holmes
Ellie Mitchell
Information Systems & Supply Chain Management Nick Gabocy
Management & Leadership Rauvey Garcia
Entrepreneurship & Innovation Hannah Williams
Marketing Zane Champie
Communication Addyson Jackson
Linh Tran
Film, Television and Digital Media Katherine Rose Kovarik
Journalism Samuel Benton McDonald
Strategic Communication Nicole Adams
Gabrielle Saleh
Teacher Education Amy Ceniceros
Youth Advocacy & Educational Studies Moses Contreras
Design Angela Kraus
Fashion Merchandising Kaitlyn Strother
Classical & Contemporary Dance Abby Linnabary
Art Brittany Murray
Music Noah Bowles
Theatre Emma Colwell
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Studies Carly Glass
Speech-Language Pathology Tatum Schieber
Kinesiology Amy Cavallo
Nursing Elaina Allen
Nalissa Houth
Erin Koyamatsu
Social Work Shelby Enman
Biology Rose Truong Le
David Edward Martin
Chemistry & Biochemistry Nishu Sadagopan
Computer Science Lydia Randolph Pape
Engineering David Rankin
Environmental Sciences Jeffrey Ryan Fortino
Geological Sciences Emery Green
Mathematics Lauren Nagel
Nutritional Sciences Alex Burgess
Physics & Astronomy Veronica Jane Lyle
Psychology Payton Aydelott
Quynh Nguyen
Comparative Race & Ethnic Studies Jazmin Chavez-Soto Rosales
Women & Gender Studies Milan Bolash

McNair Scholars

The McNair Scholars Program is a federal TRIO program funded at 151 institutions across the United States and Puerto Rico by the U.S. Department of Education. It is designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. McNair participants are either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have demonstrated strong academic potential. The goal of the McNair Scholars Program is to increase graduate degree awards for students from underrepresented segments of society.

Ahmad Adeyanju The Effect of Income Inequalities on Countries’ Economic Growth Dr. Brandy Jolliff Scott, Political Science
Fatima Burney Cultural difference and US intervention in Genocide Dr. Eric Cox, Political Science
Moses Contreras The Role of Imagination in Sandtray Therapy: Am I Allowed Outside the Box? Dr. Amber Esping, Education
Caleb Ervin Current and Evolving Leadership Practices within AddRan College of Liberal
Arts: Faculty and Student Survey
Dr. Brie Diamond and Dr. Lynn Hampton, Political Science
Giselle Flores Implementing Equality in Education Dr. Luis Romero, Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies
Victoria Garcia Interaction of Doxil with Extracellular Matrix Network Structure of Decellularized Rat Tendon Dr. Laura Luque, Biology
Robert Gatabazi Mental Health Care for Black College Students at Predominantly White Institutions: Minority Status Stress Dr. Gabe Huddleston, Education
Dekia Greene Giving an Opportunity for Play Language Appreciation Amongst Our Youth Dr. Samantha Bates, Social Work
Gabrielle Griffin Discovery of Novel Genes in Bacillus anthracis Important for Surviving Reactive Oxygen Species Dr. Shauna McGillivray, Biology
Juan Hernandez Solar cooling a downtown district Dr. Efstathios Michaelides, Engineering
Janie Mai The Impact of COVID-19 and Food Insecurity on Older Adults Dr. Katie Lauve-Moon, Social Work
Rachel Maddy New Age Spirituality and the Reclaiming/Rediscovery of Divine Femininity Ms. Jennifer Engler and Ms. Lydia Mackay, Theatre
Macie Hofilena The Effects of Covid-19 Among Sex Workers in Brazil and the United States: Public Policy Approaches Dr. Esther Teixeira, Spanish and Hispanic Studies
Frankie Isaac Portrayals of Black Women Physicians on Medical Drama Television Programs Dr. Alicia Smith-Tran, Sociology and Anthropology
Amy Lan Evaluating the Properties of Coffee Derived Carbon-Based Materials for Removing Lead from Contaminated Water Dr. Omar Harvey, Geological Sciences
Evelyn Morales Interactions of environmentally significant anti-inflammatory drugs with nanocrystalline iron-oxides Dr. Omar Harvey, Geological Sciences
Raelicia Morris The Process of Deaf Adoption Dr. Tyler Tee, Social Work
Saraisabel Perez La Troca: a look into American Truck culture as it affects Mexican American men Dr. Brad Lucas, English
Jordan Pitts Determination of Caffeine Use and Its Effects on University Students Dr. Anne Vanbeber and Dr. Kelly Fisher, Nutrition
Maya Vela Reframing the History of Student Activism at Texas Christian University through a Women of Color & Queer Critical Lens Dr. Stacie McCormick, English
Chris Villegas Employee Engagement in collaboration software Dr. Kelly Slaughter, Information Systems and Supply Chain Management
Tony Zubieta Covid 19 Impact on Small Businesses in Fort Worth Texas Dr. Rosemarie Fike, Economics


Phi Beta Kappa

Founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society. To be considered for membership, students must have excellent grades in courses with a liberal education emphasis. Most initiates are juniors and seniors.  

TCU’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter also bestows the annual James W. Newcomer Senior Scholar in Liberal Studies award, honoring the senior initiate who best exemplifies a commitment to excellence in the liberal arts and sciences and to the society’s motto, “Love of learning is the guide of life.” This year, the chapter selected two Phi Beta Kappa Senior Scholars.

Writing Ashley Parks
Political Science Audrey Payne
Ryan Ajgaonkar Biology
Iman Ali Biology
Caroline Anton Political Science and History
Chris Baugher Political Science
Allie Benson Psychology and Political Science
Amelia Boatwright Economics and Political Science
Carson Cox Political Science and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies
Chloe Creed English and Political Science
Gia “Zaa” Dao Psychology and Philosophy
Chloe Daring Biology
Claire Dobbs History and Political Science
Gabby Douthitt Economics and Writing
Mariah Gomez English
Christian Hernandez Psychology
Brent Hewitt Mechanical Engineering, Economics, and Mathematics
Emily Jackson Music and French
Katie Kovarik English, Sports Broadcasting, and Political Science
Ryan Kowilcik Economics and Philosophy
Katie Lawton Environmental Science
Emma Marek Political Science
Jordan Masri Political Science
Benton McDonald Journalism and Political Science
Claire Middleton History and Biology
Annie Navone Spanish and Hispanic Studies
Anh Nguyen International Economics
Laura Nicolescu Political Science and History
Ashley Parks Writing and Theatre
Isabel Pattee Political Science and Philosophy
Rebecca Port Mathematics
Elizabeth Potts History
Austin Pritchett Philosophy
Maddy Rodrigue Biochemistry
Hannah Roth Biology
Jale Sellards Philosophy
Kennedy Senise Political Science and Criminal Justice
Paxton Shorow Biology
Braedon Sims History and Political Science
Miranda Sullivan Political Science and Religion
Elissa Tatum Writing
Linh Tran Psychology and Communication Studies
Ashley Travis Psychology and Criminal Justice
Mary Taylor Williams History
Katelyn Zabaleta Political Science and History