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Office of the Provost

Recognition of Academic Excellence, Spring 2022

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April 27, 2022

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.

Aesha John, Ph.D.Aesha John, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Social Work
Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Aesha John, Ph.D., has been at TCU since August 2015. Her research focuses on well-being among individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and parenting in difficult contexts. Centered around the notion of unified diversity, each one of her projects explores a unique dimension and serves as a building block for subsequent projects. She often focuses on under-researched populations whose voices are not adequately represented in the current literature.

“TCU’s teacher-scholar model is central to my research. It not only enhances the quality of my scholarship, but also creates impact by shaping the next generation of social work scholars. This honor is a reminder to continue to engage students in the process of discovery and to get them excited about research.”

Endia J. Lindo, Ph.D.Endia J. Lindo, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Special Education
College of Education

Endia Lindo, Ph.D., has been at TCU for six years. Within her 20-plus publications, she has developed an academic reputation for expertise on reading comprehension for students with learning dis/abilities or difficulties in elementary and middle grades. Her scholarship has examined the factors related to differential response to intervention and addressed the inequities in schooling for students with dis/abilities and students who experience additional educational barriers due to cultural and linguistic difference. She is a prolific speaker at national conferences and has also been successful in securing external funding for her important research.

“Receiving this honor for research that endeavors to enhance outcomes and increase the sense of belonging for students who are often marginalized due to difference or dis/ability will hopefully serve to reinforce to our students the value of continually striving to appropriately engage and support all learners and raise their awareness of strategies to do so.”

Adam W. McKinney Adam W. McKinney, M.A., Associate Professor of Dance
College of Fine Arts

Adam McKinney, M.A., arrived at TCU in 2016 and has impacted both the university and the communities with his work. His research and creative projects extend across live performance, digital app development, film and photo installations, book chapters, journal articles and presentations. His work is centered in artistic practice and scholarship in his multifaceted skillset and talents, applying those to community reckoning, social justice and healing. 

“Being honored for my research as a creative activity communicates the importance of the arts in reconciling histories of oppression. This honor exemplifies TCU’s interest in and commitment to placing student learning at the center of this work."

Ashley E. English, Ph.D.Ashley E. English, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Strategic Communication 
Bob Schieffer College of Communication

Ashley English, Ph.D., joined the Department of Strategic Communication in fall 2016 and is known as an instructor, mentor, advocate and thought leader. She is currently serving as the chair of her departmental DEI committee, is the co-founder/organizer of the TCU Nonprofit Communicators’ Conference and is an instructor with the Certified Public Communicator Program. Additionally, she is known as a consistent and strong voice advocating for student mental health and well-being.

“My life’s purpose is to create supportive communities where people are inspired to bring their authentic selves to exchange ideas, navigate challenges, celebrate victories and identify practical strategies to take action on God’s call for their lives. Thus, I view community building as a foundational element for a vibrant learning community.”

Alex Lemon, M.F.A., Professor of English
AddRan College of Liberal Arts

In his 14 years at TCU, Alex Lemon, MFA, has expanded opportunities for student engagement in the literary arts, including the building of a creative writing minor. He is known for his thoughtful course design and detailed feedback as an award-winning professor and has also achieved recognition for his own work as a writer and poet, publishing six books since arriving at TCU in 2008. He is known not only as a skilled writer and instructor but as a valued mentor and advisor.

“As a creative writer, my teaching focuses on helping each student find their voice. Creative writing engages with and amplifies diverse voices and perspectives. This award is a recognition of students who are courageous enough to tell important, challenging stories."

Jennifer Smith, Ph.D.Jennifer Smith, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Professional Practice in Education (Literacy)
College of Education

Joining the College of Education in 2017, Jennifer Smith, Ph.D., has made a significant impact at TCU. She has collaborated with faculty on initiatives like Deans for Impact and the Summer Literacy Institute. When the Texas Education Agency was adding an additional exam for elementary and middle school teaching certification, she was at the helm of making sure the TCU program prepared its students.

“My teaching style is a balance of delivering course content and providing students with ample opportunities to actively engage with the material through in-class activities and discussions. My goal is to involve students in thinking about the content individually and collaboratively and to consider how they will use the material in their future personal or professional roles.”

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.

Noah Bowles – College of Fine Arts

Cassandra Cartmill – College of Education

Glenda Diaz – Neeley School of Business

Jong-Keyong Kim – AddRan College of Liberal Arts

Molly Little – Schieffer College of Communication

Summer Mengelkoch – College of Science& Engineering

Jose Luis Cano – AddRan College of Liberal Arts

Crosby Cobb – Schieffer College of Communication

David Farbo – Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Aaron Kline – College of Fine Arts

Lucas Wiggins – College of Science & Engineering

Ramona Baucham – Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Kristof Pota – College of Science & Engineering

Meagan Solomon – AddRan College of Liberal Arts

Isabelle Stahrfisher – Schieffer College of Communication

Andreas Kreutzer – Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Jessica Renteria - 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. Victoria Bennett – College of Science & Engineering

Dr. Kendra Bowen – AddRan College of Fine Arts

Dr. Ann Gipson – College of Fine Arts

Dr. Debbie Rhea – Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Dr. Frank Thomas – College of Education

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 Phoebe Austin-Weeks
Economics Andrew Minick
Brent Hewitt
English Libby Maack
Writing Hannah Reigle
Geography Reya Sytsma
History Hannah Reigle
Modern Language Studies Emily Jackson
Philosophy Hannah Vu
Political Science Matthew Dena
Ja’nae Jackson
Sociology Helen Rieke
Anthropology Abby Matherne
Spanish & Hispanic Studies Becca Lang
Communication Jillian Verzwyvelt
August Harper
Film, Television and Digital Media Jack Kotal
Journalism Andre Giammattei
Strategic Communication Lucy Long
Preston Harless
Education Jonny Arrow
Andra Land
Design Trevor Scott
Fashion Merchandising Sonya Stasiuk
Classical & Contemporary Dance Juliana DeBellis
Art Jazmin Gonzalez
Music Patrick Vu
Theatre Rebecca Thompson
Biology Kahler Doyle
Shriya Sachdeva
Chemistry & Biochemistry Youanna Ibrahim 
Computer Science Griffin McPherson
Engineering Raquel Sandoval Aguilar
Environmental Sciences Isabelle Acheson
Geological Sciences Mackenzie Moorhead
Mathematics Khoi Nguyen
Nutritional Sciences Sarah Jennings
Physics & Astronomy Mikayla Wilson
Psychology Kayla Thomas
Julianne Hymel
Carlos Rebollar
Speech-Language Pathology Ally Jackson
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Studies Audrey White
Kinesiology Jonny Arrow
Nursing Samantha Place
Tray Ly
Audrey Ball
Social Work René Aguilar
Accounting Payton Connolly
Andrew Darr
Finance Johnny Baldwin
Steven Mendoza
Information Systems & Supply Chain Management Thi Chuc Nguyen 
Jake Heffron 
Management & Leadership Britney Abshire
Entrepreneurship & Innovation Keegan Myers
Marketing Easton Tally
Matthew Johnson
Comparative Race & Ethnic Studies Kian Jon Ghalibaf
Interdisciplinary Inquiry Peter Craig Donaldson
Women & Gender Studies Victoria Maldonado

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.

René Aguilar I Wasn’t Prepared for That: Intimate Partner Violence in the Intellectual and Developmental Disability Community Dr. Nada Elias-Lambert, Social Work
Kassandra Avila Design of a Cooling System for 120 Homes in Fort Worth Using a Ground Source Heat Pump Dr. Efstathios (Stathis) Michaelides, Engineering
Alejandro Saucedo Scaling Down Marisol: An Exploration of the Dramatic Action and Themes of José Rivera's Play Through Production Alan Shorter, Theatre
Cecilia Esparza Comparison of the Acoustic Parameters of Different Types of Multi-Use Auditoriums Dr. Curtis Larsen, Engineering
Cristopher Gianakopoulos Visualizing Surveillance Trends in Fort Worth Neighborhoods Dr. Amina Zarrugh, Sociology & Anthropology
Jaq Hernandez The Smith Cloud: A Galactic Fountain in its Final Stage Dr. Kat Barger, Astronomy & Physics
Janae Jackson Intersectional Issue Framing: An Exploratory Analysis of Women of Color’s 2020 Campaign Agendas Dr. Joanne Green, Political Science
Mohamed Mohamed Getting Across TCU: A Demand to Improve Campus Accessibility Dr. Jason Titus, Academic Initiatives & Residential Student Success
Monica Parra Obstacles for Consideration When Utilizing the TGF344-AD Rat Model in Preclinical Studies of Alzheimer's Disease Dr. Tracy Centanni, Psychology
Jennifer Rios The Application of Supercapacitors in Electric Vehicles Dr. Stephen Weis, Engineering
Laurent Shumbusha Preventing Youth Incarceration and Recidivism by Fostering Independent Reading Beyond Schools and Correctional Literacy Programs Dr. Brie Diamond, Criminal Justice
Kayla Thomas Molding Melanin Magic Mentor Program Dr. Casey Call, Psychology
Devieonte Warren Digital Transformation is Increasing the Digital Divide in Low Socioeconomic Areas Dr. Patricia Jordan, Business
Mikayla Wilson New Tricks with the Joker: Using the Infrared to Reveal Hidden Binary Star Systems Dr. Peter Frinchaboy, Astronomy & Physics


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.”

Emily Lynn Jackson Music and French double major
Theron Abell Writing
Jonathan Benzick Political Science 
Elena Berlioz Psychology
Bella Bravin Political Science - International
Naveed Chowdhry Biology
Mary Dade English
Hy Dang Math
Maddison Faria Geography
Andrea Flood Political Science
Jeff Garvey Biology
Elizabeth Glazener Anthropology
Amari Harris English
Abby Hawkins Biology
Julianne Hymel Psychology
Nicki Keller Biology
Lauren Klingemann Biology
Laura Ann Laidley Biology
Becca Lang Spanish
Connie Linardos Neuroscience
Libby Maack Language Studies in French
Abigail Matherne Anthropology
Khoi Nguyen Math
Carson Nicola Geography
Julie Papaj Political Science - International
Amanda Peterson Writing
Carter Plaster History
Hannah Reigle History
Helen Rieke Strategic Communications
Divyanshi Singhal MAAC-BA
Adrienne Stallings Writing
Ellena Tran Math
Kalle Walker Physics
Sarah Walter Sociology