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University of Iowa News Release

April 5, 2004

UI Awards Spriestersbach, Graduate Dean's Dissertation Awards

The University of Iowa Graduate College has awarded two 2003 D.C. Spriestersbach Dissertation Prizes and two Graduate Dean's Distinguished Dissertation Awards for excellence in doctoral research.

The recipients of the highly coveted Spriestersbach prizes, Angela Hess and Michael Tavel Clarke, were each presented with $2,500 and a certificate signed by UI President David Skorton at a reception March 26 at the Iowa Memorial Union. The recipients of the Graduate Dean's Distinguished Dissertation Awards, Jennifer L. Edwards and Kenneth Williford each received a signed certificate and a $500 award.

Hess, who earned her doctorate in anatomy and cell biology in 2002, won the Spriestersbach Dissertation Prize in Biological and Life Sciences, for her dissertation, "Molecular Dissection of Melanoma Tumor Cell Vasculogenic Mimicry," supervised by Mary Hendrix, former head of the UI department of anatomy and cell biology. Hess is currently a postdoctoral fellow working in the UI Holden
Comprehensive Cancer Center. She plans to accept a position at the
top-ranking Children's Memorial Institute for Education and Research in

Clarke, who earned his doctorate in English in 2001, won the Spriestersbach Dissertation Prize in Humanities and Fine Arts for his dissertation, "These Days of Large Things': The Culture of Size in America, 1865-1930," supervised by Ed Folsom, professor of English. Clarke is currently a lecturer in the UI department of rhetoric.

The Spriestersbach Prizes are awarded annually on a rotating basis in two of four broad disciplinary areas -- Humanities and the Fine Arts, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences and Social Sciences. They were created by and are named for D.C. Spriestersbach, dean of the Graduate College from 1965-1989 and UI vice president emeritus for educational development and research.

Winners of the Spriestersbach Prize also become the UI's nominees for the Council of Graduate Schools/University Microfilms International Distinguished Dissertation Award. UI students have fared well in the national competition, with three winners since its inception in 1981, a record matched only by Yale University.

The Graduate Dean's Distinguished Dissertation Award is a special occasional award presented to scholars who have also submitted superior dissertations.

Edwards, who earned her doctorate in microbiology in 2002, was recognized for her dissertation, "Complement Opsonization and Direct Adherence of Neisseria Gonorrhoeae to Complement Receptor Type 3 Mediate Cervical Cell Invasion," supervised by Michael Apicella, professor of microbiology. Edwards is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the UI. She has accepted a tenure-track position as an assistant professor in the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis at the Columbus Children's Research Institute, a joint appointment with the Integrated Biomedical Science Graduate Program at Ohio State University.

Williford who earned his doctorate in philosophy in 2003, was recognized for his dissertation on "The Structure of Self-Consciousness: A Phenomenological and Philosophical Investigation," supervised by Panayot Butchvarov, professor of philosophy. Williford is currently visiting assistant professor of philosophy at the UI.

For more information about the award winners and their respective scholarship please visit .

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,