Outstanding Thesis Awards

The Undergraduate Research Scholars Outstanding Thesis Awards recognize students who have shown excellence, originality, depth of knowledge, and professionalism through the completion of their Undergraduate Reserach Scholars theses.  

Award Categories

  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
  • Liberal Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities
  • Creative Works

Nominations are accepted from faculty advisors and URS program staff for students actively participating in the program. A committee of LAUNCH faculty and staff selects one project (individual or team) in each category. The Undergraduate Research Scholars Outstanding Thesis Awards are presented to students at the LAUNCH Recognition Ceremony each year in May. 

Undergraduate Research Scholars Outstanding Thesis Awardees


Natalie Coleman

Thesis: Equitable Resilience in Infrastructure Systems: Empirical Assessment of Disparities of Vulnerable Populations During Service Disruptions

Advisor: Dr. Ali Mostafavi

Social Sciences / Arts / Humanities

Ryan Ansley Malia Randle

Thesis: Songs of the Dying Swan: Dido, Aenas, and the Divine in 14th through 16th Century Literary Adaptions

Advisor: Dr. Britt Mize

Creative Works

Jasmine Derry, Lauren Hammond, Marissa Harris, Yuan-Chi Lee, and Kiara Stewart

Thesis: Re-creating the Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Advisor: Dr. Jerry Tessendorf


Tyler Wiener

Thesis: Predicting Driver Distraction: An Analysis of Machine Learning Algorithms and Input Measures

Advisor: Dr. Tony McDonald

Social Sciences / Arts / Humanities

Sarah Claye Epperson

Thesis: Litigating Women: The Path to Intermediate Scrutiny in American Law

Advisor: Dr. Katherine Unterman and Dr. Randy Gordon

Creative Works

Courtney Kiolbassa

Thesis: Pilgramage Sites in the American Southwest: A Narrative Exploration of Sacred Destinations

Advisor: Dr. Susan M. Stabile


Kate von Ness

Thesis: Long-term Hydrological Reconstruction from a Beaver Meadow

Advisor: Dr. Julie Loisel

Social Sciences / Arts / Humanities

Claire Nowka

Thesis: "What Kinship Should Mean:" An Examination of the Ethnic and Nationalist Themes within Beowulf Adaptions

Advisor: Dr. Britt Mize