Graduate School Names 2017 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Nominees

A dissertation is a crowning achievement of years of study and careful, deliberate writing. Graduate students who have attempted a dissertation know the powerful way the process of writing helps hone ideas, develop lines of inquiry, and explain complicated concepts.

The University of Utah has a long tradition of excellence in student dissertation. To recognize exceptional dissertations, each year the Graduate School participates in the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS)/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award competition. In this national competition, universities nominate recent student dissertations to compete against other nominations for a $2,000 award and a certificate of recognition.

John Schell

This year, the Graduate School nominated two exceptional dissertations in the categories of Biological Sciences and Humanities and the Fine Arts. John Schell, a joint MD/PhD candidate in the Biochemistry department, won the University of Utah Biological Sciences nomination for his dissertation, entitled “The Identification and Function of the Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier: Lessons from Yeast, Cancer, and Stem Cells.” Julie Snyder-Yuly, formerly of the Communication department and now a Lecturer at the University of Iowa, won the nomination in the Humanities and Fine Arts category with her dissertation, “Modern-Day Minstrelsy: Online Microaggressions and the Digital Narratives of Homeless Black Males.” The nominees each received $500 from the Graduate School in recognition of their nomination, and will be entered in the national competition.

Julie Snyder-Yuly

“Having read the work of many of my peers in the Communication Department, I am truly honored and humbled to be selected the University of Utah’s CGS/ProQuest Outstanding Dissertation in the Humanities,” says Snyder-Yuly of the award.  “As a critical cultural scholar, I hope that my research can bring a greater awareness that how we speak to and about others doesn’t just affect them, but also has the power to shape society.” When asked for comment, Schell remarked on his gratitude for “my mentor, Jared Rutter, for the incredible support and freedom I’ve had, my thesis committee for critical feedback, everyone in the Department of Biochemistry and the MD/PhD program, and the exceptional people I’ve been privileged to work beside over the course of my PhD.”

Schell’s and Snyder-Yuly’s dissertations will be considered along with their peers’ by the CGS/ProQuest committee. Winners of the national competition will be presented at the CGS Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon on December 7, 2017, in Scottsdale, AZ.