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The ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award recognizes exceptional and unusually interesting work produced by doctoral students.

Each year, Rackham invites faculty to nominate outstanding dissertations produced in their programs. The nomination dossiers submitted are read and discussed by a review panel of faculty members who identify the finalists. Then, members of the Michigan Society of Fellows read the finalists’ dissertations, review their merits, and select the winners.

Below is the list of winners of the 2018 Distinguished Dissertation Awards, as well as the honorable mentions.


  • Charlotte Chan, Mathematics
  • Qi Chen, Computer Science
  • Traci Johnson, Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Jessica Moorman, Communication Studies
  • David Morphew, Classical Studies
  • Cyrus O’Brien, Anthropology and History
  • Meredith Skiba, Biological Chemistry
  • William Stroebel, Comparative Literature
  • Dakotah Thompson, Mechanical Engineering
  • Michael Won, Chemical Biology

Honorable Mentions

  • Lauren Beesley, Biostatistics
  • Mikell Hyman, Sociology
  • Zoe Johnson King, Philosophy
  • Amanda Leone, Chemistry
  • Tianxi Li, Statistics
  • Jason Nattress, Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences
  • Joseph Ornstein, Political Science
  • Elina Salminen, Classical Art and Archaeology
  • Erin Teich, Applied Physics
  • Wei Zhou, Bioinformatics

Join us in honoring these exceptional scholars Tuesday, April 23 at 2:00 p.m. at the ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards Ceremony held in the Rackham Amphitheatre.