Graduate Awards Ceremony Celebrates Excellence

Stony Brook University’s annual Graduate Awards Ceremony shines a spotlight on the exceptional achievements of graduate students, faculty, and staff members within the Graduate School.

This year’s event, held May 13 in the Student Union Ballroom, was hosted by Celia Marshik, dean and vice provost for the Graduate School, who highlighted the broad range of disciplines represented by the honorees — from arts and music to natural sciences, engineering and applied sciences, social and behavioral sciences, humanities and health fields.

“This event is an opportunity to recognize the many contributions of graduate students,” said Marshik. “Listening to advisors and nominators share their experience with the winners as well as the testimonials of others they worked with, truly shows how much of a difference their effort makes in their department.”

In his opening remarks, Executive Vice President and Provost Carl Lejuez noted, “There’s probably no role within the university where in one moment, you are a student, and another moment, you’re a mentor and in the next moment you are a faculty member, and another moment, you’re a psychologist. Our graduate students do all of these roles, which is really tremendous.”

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From left to right: Celia Marshik, Ashley Barry, Yichul Choi and Marina Fandaros.

Students graduating from doctoral programs this year had their studies and research delayed or halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the student awardees each displayed resilience and perseverance in their fields. Recipients received their awards from advisors or mentors with whom they work closely in their department.

Rosa Bermejo, recipient of the Joyce Turner Dissertation Fellowship, was introduced by Bonita London, professor in the Department of Psychology, who noted how inspiring she finds the awards ceremony. “Last year I left the awards ceremony feeling a little bit inadequate in my own scholarship, but really inspired by all the wonderful things that the graduate students and faculty are doing here. Rosa’s dissertation research is truly an example of what a scholar can do with a curious mind open to interdisciplinary learning and scholarship.”

Felix Fonseca Quesada, Department of Linguistics, was one of the recipients of the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student, and was introduced by professor Lori Repetti, who described the attributes that make him such a successful and well-liked teacher. “In putting together his file I solicited letters from faculty and students, and three themes came across very, very clearly: one was the skill and clarity that he brings to his classes; the other is the dedication and passion that he shows in all of his teaching; and the third is the personal connection and concern for his students.”

Karena Chapman, professor in the Department of Chemistry, introduced her student, Lauren Raguette, also a recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student.

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From left to right: Katheryn Twiss, Anastasia Iorga, Patricia Wright, Amanda Rowe and Andreas Koenig.

“When somebody discovers that I do chemistry, the response is always always the same: ‘Wow, that’s really hard. I was really bad at chemistry,’ but what this really means is that these people didn’t have the benefit of having an amazing teacher like Lauren Raguette. Over the last eight semesters, Lauren has been delivering an absolutely transformative experience for Stony Brook students,” said Chapman. Students noted that Raguette encouraged them to “think through problems and not just plug in the numbers, set high expectations and then follow through in helping me to achieve them, helped amplify my voice, and allowed me to feel like my ideas were valued.”

Amanda Rowe, Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences(IDPAS), one of the recipients of the President’s Award to Distinguished Doctoral Students, was introduced by her advisor Andreas Koenig, professor in IDPAS, who described some of the setbacks experienced by Rowe during her doctoral studies.

“Amanda’s critical fieldwork was delayed by one and a half years due to COVID, and when she was finally able to go to Madagascar, she faced cyclones, bandits, tropical diseases, and other difficulties. Despite all these obstacles, Amanda has hit all the highest marks in our research teaching mentoring services,” said Koenig. Rowe was also selected as the student speaker for this year’s Doctoral Hooding Ceremony.

Ashley Barry, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Yichul Choi, Physics and Astronomy; Marina Fandaros, Biomedical Engineering; Alexandra F. Ortmann, Psychology/Cognitive Science; and Amanda Rowe, Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences, received the President’s Award to Distinguished Doctoral Students, and were also celebrated at the Doctoral Colloquium on May 6, in which they each presented a three-minute synopsis of their dissertation.

For more information visit the Graduate School website and Facebook.

2024 Graduate Award Recipients

Alumni Association’s Dean’s Choice Award for Leadership
Julia Brown, English

Alumni Association Doctoral Summer Fellowship
Erin Chávez, History

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring by a Faculty Member
Benjamin Tausig, Music

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching by a Faculty Member
Kevin Holt, Music

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Service to Graduate Education by a Graduate Program Director
Joshua Rest, Ecology and Evolution

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Service to Graduate Education by a Graduate Program Coordinator
Chantalle McKim, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dorothy G. Pieper Award
Diana Salomon, Art

Dorothy G. Pieper Award (Honorable Mention)
Xiaohui Wang, Studio Art

Faculty-Staff Dissertation Fellowship Award
Clare Flynn, Ecology and Evolution

John Marburger III Fellowship for Science, Engineering and Mathematics
Waltraut Knop, Physics and Astronomy

Joyce Turner Dissertation Fellowship
Rosa Bermejo, Social and Health Psychology

Madeline Fusco Fellowship
Rebecca Mirhashem, Psychology/Clinical

Mildred and Herbert Weisinger Dissertation Fellowship
Anastasia Iorga, Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Science

President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student
Gino Elia, Philosophy
Giselle Ferguson, Social and Health Psychology
Felix Fonseca Quesada, Linguistics
Lauren Raguette, Chemistry
Beatriz Solla Vilas, Hispanic Languages and Literature
Lizbeth Zúñiga, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

President’s Award to Distinguished Doctoral Students
Ashley Barry, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Yichul Choi, Physics and Astronomy
Marina Fandaros, Biomedical Engineering
Alexandra F. Ortmann, Psychology/Cognitive Science
Amanda Rowe, Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences

Stony Brook Foundation Board of Trustees Dissertation Completion Endowed Fellowship
Alexander Beyl, Anatomical Sciences
Alejandro Gil Gomez, Ecology and Evolution
Michelle Mayro, Linguistics
Maggie McDonnell, Political Science
Emily Rehbein, Psychology/Social and Health Psychology

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