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Honors College Announces Recipients of the 2022 Honors College Outstanding Thesis Awards

The Oregon State University Honors College is pleased to announce Brandt Bridges, Brian Muhich and Kiera Dwyer as the recipients of the 2022 Honors College Outstanding Thesis Awards. Abbie Glickman has been named runner up.

Each spring, graduating honors students can be nominated by their Honors College thesis mentor for an Outstanding Thesis Award in recognition of outstanding scholarship and writing in their honors thesis. This year, awards were made in three categories: engineering; science; and the humanities, social sciences and business. Winners each received a $500 award, and the runner-up received a prize of $200.

Brandt Bridges

Brandt Bridges, an English major with a minor in Spanish, was named winner in the humanities, social sciences and business category, an award made in partnership with the Oregon State University Center for the Humanities. His thesis, titled, “Beyond the Gaze: A Reassessment of Race in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” is an analysis of the widely-read novel by Kesey and an assessment of “the construction of racial identity in Oregon during the national Civil Rights movement.” Brandt was nominated by Dr. Raymond Malewitz, associate professor in the School of Writing, Literature, and Film in the College of Liberal Arts. “I can’t think of a better way to wrap up my time here at OSU than to be selected for the Outstanding Thesis Award — it feels great to have my efforts over the past few years validated,” Brandt says of his selection.

Brian Muhich is a chemical engineering major with minors in materials science and chemistry. His thesis, “Enhanced Oxygen Evolution Reaction Activity in Ni Substituted CoSx Electrocatalysts from Reaction-Induced Restructuring,” was nominated by Dr. Zhenxing Feng, associate professor of chemical engineering in the College of Engineering, and earned the Outstanding Thesis Award in the engineering category. Brian’s research, Dr. Feng shares, displayed not only outstanding work in the field of electrocatalysis, but also led to a first-author paper for Brian submitted to the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Brian Muhich

“I think that this represents the best part of the Honors College thesis experience: helping students get a head start on the skills that usually take a couple years of work or advanced degrees to get,” Brian shares.

Winner in the science category, Kiera Dwyer is an environmental economics and policy senior. Her thesis, titled, “Impacts of Prior Risk Experience and Personal Values on Support for Climate Change Policies,” utilized a quantitative survey to determine the perceptions and experiences of Oregon residents during the 2020 Oregon wildfire season. In her nomination, Kiera’s mentor, Dr. Cara Lawson, instructor in agricultural communications in the College of Agricultural Sciences, shared that Kiera’s work both “shed great insight to some of the many influences that affect an individual’s support or rejection of climate change policy and revealed much work in this area is still needed.” Upon learning of her selection for the award, Kiera says that she was ecstatic and eager to share the news with Dr. Lawson: “Cara has been there for constant guidance, and I would not have been able to complete my thesis without her.”

Abbie Glickman

Runner up Abbie Glickman was nominated for her thesis, “Connecting Computational Thinking and Mathematics: An Examination of Linguistic Opportunities and Challenges.” A transdisciplinary research project in computational thinking, the thesis was nominated by Dr. Rebekah Elliott, associate professor of mathematics education in the College of Education, and examined how K-12 mathematics teacher candidates create meaning around computer science and mathematics concepts in a computational thinking setting. “My honors thesis let me do a deep dive into the subject of how people learn, which was very fascinating for me and is something I hope I can continue to look into more in the future,” Abbie, a physics major with a minor in mathematics, shares.

Nominations included theses ranging from psychology and English to microbiology and theater arts, by students from a variety of majors and colleges.

  • Angelina Conrow, English and psychology major: “Prejudice of Asian American Women: Clothing Influences Stereotypes.” Nominated by Dr. Regan Gurung, professor in the School of Psychological Science in the College of Liberal Arts and associate vice provost and executive director of the Center for Teaching and Learning.
  • Megan Sherman, psychology major: “Modifying Perception: How Clothing and Context Influence the Objectification of Women.” Nominated by Dr. Regan Gurung, professor in the School of Psychological Science in the College of Liberal Arts and associate vice provost and executive director of the Center for Teaching and Learning.
  • Alima Matyeva, computer science major with a minor in new media communications: “A Comparison and Analysis of Selected Holidays in Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and the United States.” Nominated by Dr. Dave Kovac, instructor in the Honors College.
  • Annelise Hartinger, history and medical humanities major with minors in chemistry and biology: “The Rare COVID Experience: Systemic and Health Factors, Coping, and Support Among Adults with Rare Diseases During Covid-19.” Nominated by Dr. Kathleen Bogart, associate professor in the School of Psychological Science in the College of Liberal Arts.
  • Clare Elsbree, business analytics major: “Black Friday Pricing Behavior at Walmart.” Nominated by Dr. Xiaohui Chang, associate professor of business analytics in the College of Business.
  • Marina Keller, mechanical engineering major: “Significance of High-Pressure-Torsion Processing on an Aluminum-Lithium Aerospace Alloy.” Nominated by Dr. Megumi Kawasaki, associate professor of materials science in the College of Engineering.
  • Libby Brennan, microbiology and speech communications major with a minor in chemistry: “Measuring uptake of the Vitamin B1 precursor 4-amino-5-hydroxymethyl-2-methylpyrimidine (HMP) by the marine bacterioplankton SAR11 strain HTCC7211.” Nominated by Dr. Steve Giovannoni, Distinguished Professor and head of the Department of Microbiology in the College of Agricultural Sciences & College of Science.

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