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Graduate School awards recognize outstanding faculty, theses and dissertations

December 7, 2020

Each year the Graduate School recognizes select graduate students with the Outstanding Dissertation and Thesis Awards.  In addition, select faculty are recognized with the Distinguished Graduate Faculty Awards. In light of the pandemic, the awards ceremony for the fall 2020 semester has been postponed but these individual’s accomplishments remain noteworthy.

Distinguished Graduate Faculty Awards

The NIU Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award honors current members of the graduate faculty for not only for their outstanding scholarly achievements, but also for their contributions to graduate education at the university. Each award recipient receives $2,000, a plaque and is recognition during the fall Graduate School commencement ceremony. The recipients of this year’s Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award are Associate Professor Alicia Finch from the Department of Philosophy and Professor Fred Markowitz from the Department of Sociology.

Associate Professor Alicia Finch

Associate Professor Alicia Finch has been a member of the Department of Philosophy since 2007 and has taught courses in metaphysics, the philosophy of religion, moral psychology, ancient philosophy, the philosophy of feminism and the philosophy of race. Thus far, her research has focused on philosophical issues concerning free will and moral responsibility, and she is currently working on a monograph that explores the philosophical development of the notion of blameworthiness from Aristotle to the present.

Prior to joining NIU’s faculty, she was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Notre Dame Center for Philosophy of Religion and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University. She received her B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from the University of Missouri at Columbia and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. She feels immensely privileged to be a part of NIU’s graduate program in philosophy.

Professor Fred Markowitz

Professor Fred Markowitz has been a member for the Department of Sociology since 1998.  He is a sociologist whose research focuses on mental health and crime and has published a number of scholarly articles and book chapters on stigma, recovery, macro-level social control processes, homelessness and military veterans. He received his Ph.D. from the University of New York at Albany and was a National of Institute of Mental Health Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Currently, Professor Markowitz serves on the editorial boards of Society and Mental Health, Health Sociology Review and Stigma and Health. He is also a former Director of Graduate Studies and has mentored numerous M.A. and Ph.D. students.  He has recently been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Core Scholar grant to work with colleagues at the Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy at the University of Helsinki this coming fall to examine the relationship between psychiatric treatment capacity and crime.

The graduate school intends to recognize these distinguished faculty members at the next in-person graduate commencement ceremony.

Outstanding Dissertation and Thesis Awards

The Graduate School is also honoring four scholars for outstanding work on their theses and dissertations for work covering an impressive array of scholarly pursuits in two broad categories: Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Education; and Health Sciences and STEM.

Yanjun Liu was awarded the Outstanding Dissertation Award and a $750 prize for her dissertation titled “Immigration Policy in the United States.” As a doctoral student in the Department of Economics, Liu’s research claimed the top prize in the category of arts, humanities, social sciences and education.

In the same category, the Outstanding Thesis Award and a $500 prize went to John Turnbull from the Department of English for his thesis titled “Beyond a Language Boundary: Encounters with Silence and L1 Spanish-Speakers’ Willingness to Communicate in English”.

The Outstanding Dissertation Award in the Health Sciences and STEM category was awarded to Pamela Taylor. The Health Sciences doctoral student was also awarded a $750 prize for her dissertation titled “Exploring the Effectiveness of a Computer-Delivered Alcohol Intervention in First-Generation College Students.”

The Outstanding Thesis Award in the Health Sciences and STEM category went to Callie Klatt Golba from the Department of Biological Sciences for her thesis, “Growth and Survival Of Wild and Head-Started Blanding’s Turtles (Emydoidea Blanding II).” Klatt Golba also received a $500 prize.

These award winners will be recognized at the NIU’s annual Outstanding Graduate Student Recognition Reception planned for a later date.