Student Spotlight

Baylor University Graduate School would like to shine a spotlight on students who have made great strides within their field of research. 


Outstanding Research Award
Farzaneh and Kazuyuki

Sarah Rebekah (Bekah) Burket is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Environmental Science. Her research is in Environmental Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry, focusing on bioaccumulation of contaminants of emerging concern in aquatic environments. Sarah has received the Outstanding Graduate Research Award in STEM for Fall 2019. Bekah has contributed to 12 published manuscripts, including 2 as first author, and her most recent first-authored manuscript was published in Chemosphere: "Corbicula lumina rapidly accumulate pharmaceuticals from an effluent dependent urban stream." Bekah has also contributed to over 40 presentations at regional, national, and international conferences, 22 of which she was the first author. She has received 10 Travel Awards from the Baylor Graduate School, along with competitive awards from national organizations. She also received the Audience Choice Award for best presentation during the 2016 GSA 3-Minute Thesis Competition, along with winning the Melbourne R. Carrier Student Grant Competition and the C.Gus Glasscock, Jr. Endowed Fund of Excellence in Environmental Sciences. Congratulations Bekah on this significant accomplishment!

Samantha Hodges is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Biomedical Studies. Her research focuses on the relationship between epilepsy and autism. After graduating from Baylor, she hopes to pursue a translational-focused postdoctoral position to expand her molecular technique base and continue to investigate the cellular mechanism underlying epilepsy. Samantha has also received the Outstanding Graduate Research Award in STEM for Fall 2019. Samantha has contributed to 15 published manuscripts, including 7 as first author and 8 as co-author, and has an additional 2 manuscripts under review. She has used Travel Awards from the Baylor Graduate School to present her research at more than 40 conferences, including 12 first author posters and 2 presentations at the GSA Research Showcase (2017 and 2018). She used a Doctoral Research Travel Grant to participate in a two-week Clinical and Translational Research Course at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and received a Trainee Professional Development Award through the Society for Neuroscience. Congratulations Samantha on this significant accomplishment!

Rachel Renbarger is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Educational Psychology. Her research focuses on large-scale, international data around issues of equity in education. As a first-generation, low-income student (and former McNair Scholar), she also researches supports and challenges for underserved populations in secondary education and beyond. Rachel has received the Outstanding Graduate Research Award in Social Sciences for Fall 2019. Rachel has published/forthcoming 30 articles, including 15 as first author, presented her research at 33 conferences that have been funded by Travel Awards through the Baylor Graduate School (including 3 international conferences and 10 national conferences), and received 6 awards, including the 2017 GSA Graduate Research Showcase Poster Award for the Social Sciences category. Congratulations Rachel on this significant accomplishment!

Mayborn Museum Bryce C. Brown Fellowship Recipients
Farzaneh and Kazuyuki

The Graduate School would like to recognize Farzaneh Mansouri and Kazuyuki Hayashi for receiving the Mayborn Museums Bryce C. Brown Research Fellowship. Farzaneh is a Ph.D. candidate in the Environmental Science Department and will be analyzing baleen plates in the museum's collection to learn about changes in whale ecosystems and food web relationships. Kazuyuki is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Religion and will be studying glyptics and cuneiform inscriptions to potentially learn more about their language and provenance. 

Kenneth Vaughan
Kenneth Vaughan

The Graduate School would like to recognize Kenneth R. Vaughan for receiving both the outstanding teaching and dissertation award. Kenneth is a recent graduate from the Department of Sociology’s Ph. D. program in the sociology of religion. His research broadly focuses on political sociology, migration, and the sociology of religion. He published research on religious disparities in Lebanon’s consociational democracy, international educational health disparities, and religion and immigration. He recently defended his dissertation on the state of European democracy, focusing on religion, the far-right, and nativism. He has also taught eight sections of Introduction to Sociology as a graduate student Tescher of Record at Baylor University.

Oustanding Student Awards
Outstanding Student Awards

Congratulations to all our Outstanding Graduate Students and Summer Dissertation Fellowship Recipients! Outstanding Dissertation Award winners will receive $1000 each; our Outstanding Graduate Instructors will receive an additional travel grant; and our Summer Dissertation Fellowship recipients received summer funding.

Outstanding Dissertation Awards for 2019:

Michael Rawl, English

Kenneth Vaughan, Sociology

Logan Wiest, Geosciences

Outstanding Graduate Instructor Awards for Fall 2018 and Spring 2019:

James Davidson, Sociology

Sara Dye, English

Samantha Hodges, BioMedical Studies

Nicholas Colgrove, Philosophy

Tori Hudgins, Mathematics

Kenneth Vaughan, Sociology

2019 Summer Dissertation Fellowships:  

Russ Browder, Business

Rachel Kilgore, English

Josh Pittman, English

Aly Baumgartner, Geoscience

Jeff Strietzel, Higher Education & Leadership

Joel Iliff, History

Alyssa Craven, History

Caroline Paddock, Philosophy

Hilary Yancey, Philosophy

Joseph Leman, Psychology & Neuroscience (declined)

Greg Barnhill, Religion

Scott Prather, Religion

CEGSS Symposium
CEGSS Symposium

The Baylor University Graduate School is pleased to have supported the first annual CEGSS Biology Symposium, which took place on Monday (5/6), with a SIC’EM grant. The symposium was a student designed and led academic year-end celebration of the accomplishments of graduate students to kick off the summer conference and research season. An audience of faculty, staff, administrators, grad students and undergrads listened to 15 talks on research and teaching, and participated in a poster session. Watch the Symposium on the Baylor CEGSS Facebook page.

Chenlu Gao
Chenlu Gao

The Baylor University Graduate School would like to congratulate Chenlu Gao, a doctoral student working with Dr. Michael Scullin, for receiving a Psi Chi and Sleep Research Society award for her research presented at the Association for Psychological Science Convention titled "Classical Music During Sleep Facilitates Educational Learning: A Targeted Memory Reactivation Experiment with Immediate and 9-Month Follow-up Testing"

Baylor Graduate School

Baylor Graduate School
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