Statue of Jumbo the Elephant on Tufts campus.

2016 GSAS Graduate Student Award Winners

GSAS Graduate Student Award Winners Reflect on their Tufts Experiences

Each spring, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences takes a moment to recognize those among us for their achievements in their research, in their service to the community, in their mentorship, and in their lives and work after graduation. We invite you to meet some of the winners here.

Christopher Burke, Physics
Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education Award, Doctoral Level

Christopher Burke, left, works with Andrew Mascioli, an undergraduate from his research group. 

“The students I've worked with in my research group and in class have been inquisitive and self-motivated and I'm constantly impressed by their eagerness to engage deeply with whatever they're working on.

“My advisor, Tim Atherton, really values undergraduate education and he's extremely supportive of the work I've been doing with undergrads. He's given me a lot of opportunities to mentor undergrads in our research group with a large degree of independence. Teaching the computational physics class with him was also a great experience because I was so heavily involved in designing the course.”

Aaron Gardony, Psychology
Outstanding Academic Scholarship Award, Doctoral Level

“In my time as an undergraduate and graduate here, Tufts has been consistently committed to fostering opportunities for interdisciplinary education. In particular, the interdisciplinary cognitive science Ph.D. program has helped me become a well-rounded researcher and scientist by exposing me to topics in several disciplines, including Philosophy, Computer Science, and Cognitive Psychology/Neuroscience.

“In a world where lines between academic disciplines are becoming increasingly blurred, it is increasingly important for students to gain multidisciplinary breadth of knowledge as well as depth. Interdisciplinary programs, such as those found at Tufts, accomplish this goal and help prepare young scientists to innovate across disciplines. This commitment to interdisciplinary education truly makes Tufts special.”

Daniel Houlihan, Occupational Therapy
Rob Hollister Award for Community Service and Citizenship

“After being away for so many years with the Navy, it has been a great relief to be in one place for more than a year or two and live near family. My advisor, Gary Bedell, appreciates I’ve had a dramatically different set of professional experiences from my peers.  He has given me tremendous latitude to pursue ideas. 

“No matter where in the universe of information I’m digging for clues, I can count on him to provide grounding perspective and bring me back to that question, central to why I am at Tufts, ”What do you want to know?” To that end, what I’ve acquired at Tufts is an increasing ability to articulate connection between what once would have seemed to be wholly disparate ideas.” 

Jennifer Nguyen, Biology
Robert P. Guertin Student Leadership Award

“During my time here, I was involved with the GSC, first serving as the social chair and then serving as the president for two years. During my presidency, I received the GSC Service Award for Outstanding Contribution to the GSC, and the Tufts GSC received the NAGPS Northeast member of the year for outstanding service and engagement in the Northeast region. My involvement with the GSC has allowed me to interact with so many graduate students both at Tufts and in the Boston area.

“Tufts has a wonderful community where the graduate students, faculty, and administration are all supportive of enhancing the graduate student experience. It really does seem like the school cares about us and are willing to listen to our feedback and comments to help better our time here. While advocacy is a slow and tough process, you can tell that the faculty and administration are on our side.”

Steven Norris, Philosophy
Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education, Master's Level

"I’ve had an amazing time working with Tufts undergraduates as a logic TA and running the Tufts Ethics Bowl. Much of the subject matter in philosophy these days is very abstract and technical. Logic is a perfect example of this, and Professor Susan Russinoff does an excellent job of breaking down and presenting otherwise difficult logical concepts. I find logic to be a very challenging subject and I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to help undergraduates understand and feel more comfortable with the course material.

"Additionally, my work with Professor Russinoff on the Ethics Bowl has been a collaborative effort in which I’ve always felt like a partner or colleague, and never an employee. Since the Ethics Bowl provides a more fun and relaxed educational environment I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many of my students on a more personal level.  I find myself more impressed with the undergraduates here at Tufts the more I get to know them."

Jeffery Shivers, Music
Outstanding Academic Scholarship Award, Master's Level

“Most of my work explores unconventional methods of performance and notation. During my short time at Tufts, that work has continually progressed towards a stronger emphasis on collaborative inquiry, placing it more in the categories of experimentation and research than anything else.

“I chose to come to Tufts because I knew I would have a consistently supportive and inspiring community of scholars around me as I learned to better articulate and engage these ideas. After I graduate, I will be more than prepared for an exciting and fulfilling future in music composition as I take with me the countless skills, experiences and relationships that this incredible school has given me.”