Award for Outstanding Thesis

An Outstanding Thesis Award will be available for one to two theses completed in the 2017/2018 academic year.  The winners will each receive $500.  In addition, the winners will be presented at the University’s commencement ceremony in May and will sit with the platform party. Interested students are encouraged to contact your faculty advisor or department early in the Spring as your thesis must be nominated by your college.

Each college is invited to nominate one outstanding thesis for consideration for this prestigious award.  Students with degrees awarded in May, August, and December of 2017 and those with degrees to be awarded in May 2018 are eligible.  We continue to include the prior May degree recipients so that high quality work completed too late for last year’s college selection process can participate this year.  One restriction remains; nominees sent forward to the Graduate Studies Committee last year may not be nominated again.  The deadline for this year’s competition is March 3, 2018.  Colleges may forward their nominee any time before the March 4 deadline.

Those nominated must provide an electronic copy of the thesis, a reference letter from the master's committee chairperson, and the Outstanding Thesis Award Information Form (completed by the nominee). In addition, a second letter of reference from the college committee or dean should be provided. The letters should indicate the reasons for the nominee's selection, including some indication of the contribution made by the thesis to knowledge in the field. We ask in addition that the student fill out the Permission to Publish form and return it to the Graduate Studies office; this may be done after the final selection of the Outstanding Theses by the Graduate Studies Committee and notification of the student of the award.  


Please contact Dr. Beverly Grindstaff at with any questions you have about this process.


Previous Recipients of the Outstanding Thesis Award


Thesis Title


Academic Year

Mary Okin

'New Man’ Feminism: Arthur F. Mathews at the San Francisco School of Design, 1890-1896 

Art History and Visual Culture


Paul Zimmer

Glacial Modification of Bedrock Valleys in the Sierra Nevada, California, Using a Novel Approach 



Amanda Feldman

From Trauma to Trial: Proposing New Methods for Examining the Variability of Sharp Force Trauma on Bone 

Applied Anthropology


Sarah Aghazadeh

Public Diplomacy for a Global World: The United States and Iran

Interdiciplinary Studies


Chris Keith

The Excavation and Analysis of Prehistoric Caribbean Remains: A Bioarchaeological Case Study from Nevis, West Indies 

Applied Anthropology


Danielle Crawford

A Girlhood of Myth, Dreams, and Trauma: Redefining the Asian North American Female Bildungsroman

English and Comparative Literature


Karen Parker

Metabolic Network Construction Based on the Genome of the Marine Diatom Thalassiosira Pseudonana and the Analysis of Genome-Wide Transcriptome Data to Investigate Triacylglyceride Accumulation



Sarah Swift

Low-tech, Eye-Movement-Accessible AAC and Typical Adults

Communicative Disorders and Sciences


Shruthi Thirumalai

Opto-acoustic Interrogation and Ultrasound Imaging of Acoustically Sensitive Microcapsules

General Engineering


John Tilney

Containing Obscenity:  The Gathings Committee, Moral Crusades, and Paperback Books



Danielle Frechette

Impacts of Avian Predation on Juvenile Salmonids in Central California Watersheds



Hector Nuño

Functionalized Silica Nanostructures for Biosensing Applications

Chemical Engineering


Nancy Shostak

Intensity of the 1906 Earthquake in and near San José, California



Robin Putney

Customary Marine Tenure and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Palau

Environmental Studies


Jennifer Putney

Ecological Consequences of Morphological Variability in a Habitat-Forming Alga