This year's graduate honorees are: Patrick Awotwe, Elmina, Ghana; John C. Degenstein, The Woodlands, Texas; Eric Netterlund, Wannaska, Minn.; and Blake McCann, Bethalto, Ill.
The School of Graduate Studies recognizes the outstanding work of students who graduated the previous academic year. Academic departments nominate their best graduates, and a committee of emeritus faculty reviews the nominations for award selection.
The culmination of a graduate degree results in a dissertation, thesis or creative project and is the student's opportunity to synthesize the body of knowledge with which they have worked closely for several years. It may also, in the case of a dissertation, demonstrate the contribution of new knowledge to the field of study.
About the honorees:
Ghanaian native Awotwe will receive this year's Creative Exhibition Award. Awotwe is being honored for his Master of Fine Arts exhibition, Adinkra the Messenger, reflects aspects of his own cultural heritage through the use of metals and fibers in Jewelry design. Awotwe used Ghanaian traditional symbols to convey social, political, religious and historical issues that have impacted his country.
Degenstein will receive the first of two Distinguished Thesis Awards. He earned a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering for his thesis Lewis Acid Co-Catalyzed Dilute Sulfuric Acid Pretreatment and Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Lignocellulosic Biomass.
Netterlund will receive the other Distinguished Thesis Award for his research on the fast changing world of social networking platforms and how fan culture can drive fundraising for non-profit organizations and political campaigns. Netterlund graduated with a Master of Arts in Communication.
The Distinguished Dissertation Award will be presented to Blake McCann in a separate award ceremony when he visits UND in the Fall. McCann received his Ph.D., in Biology for his work on the genetic relationships of wild pigs in the United States.