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Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award

Each year, the Department recognizes a graduating Genetics major with the Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award. Any faculty supervising extraordinary undergraduate work in genetics for a thesis may nominate one student project for the award. The nominated student must be a Genetics major that graduated or will graduate during the academic year (i.e., for the 2020 award, this would be a student that graduated in Summer or Fall 2019 or will graduate in Spring 2020). The research that forms the basis of the thesis may have been completed anytime during the student’s tenure, but the student must have completed the thesis by graduation.

Completed applications will contain material from faculty nominations and student nominees. The Undergraduate Affairs Committee will choose the recipient and present the Award at the annual graduation celebration for Genetics majors. The recipient receives a cash award and the student's name is engraved on a plaque that hangs in the Genetics office.

The award is made possible through the generosity of an anonymous donor.

Nominations for this award are accepted in the Spring. Contact the Undergraduate Coordinator for information.

Past winners of the Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award 

2023  Caroline Beuscher  
Title of Thesis: Freezing tolerance across elevation and ontogeny in boechera stricta

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jill Anderson



2022 Ethan Smith 

Title of Thesis: Locating and Correcting Regions of Compression Within the Toxoplasma Gondii Reference Genome Assembly

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jessica Kissinger



2021 Anvith Reddy

Title of Thesis: Clarifying the Relationship between Pericentromeric Hypomethylation, DNA Damage and Malignancy: Insights from Zebrafish Models of Immunodeficiency, Centromeric Instability, and Facial Anomalies (ICF) Syndrome

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Goll


2020 Barquiesha Madison

Title of Thesis: The Characterization of Female Meiosis and Synaptonemal Complex Length in Threespine Sticklebacks

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael White


2019 Rachel Keener

Title of Thesis: Wolbachia and its Effects on Reproductive Phenotypes in a Novel Drosophila Host

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kelly Dyer

2018 Alison Adams

Title of Thesis: Density-Dependent Selection Model for the Evolution of Sociality of Ceratina (Neoceratinaaustralensis

Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Hall

2017 Atul Lodh

Title of Thesis: Investigating the Role of Cyanogenic Glycosides as a Potential Defense for Passiflora incarnata against Agraulis vanillae

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rodney Mauricio

2016 Thomas Layman

Title of Thesis: Experimental evolution and sperm competition in Drosophila recens and D. subquinaria

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kelly Dyer

2015 Amy Webster

Title of thesis: Abnormal Chromosome 10 Causes Meiotic Drive in a Teosinte Subspecies

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kelly Dawe

2014 Austin Garner

Title of thesis: The Genetics of Hybrid Lethality Between Two Species of Mimulus.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Andrea Sweigart

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