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University of Iowa News Release

August 3, 2005

UI Awards Spriestersbach, Graduate Dean's Dissertation Awards

The University of Iowa Graduate College has awarded two 2004 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, Hind A. Al-Abadleh and C. Wesley Brakefield-Younts, were each presented with $2,500 and a certificate signed by UI President David Skorton. The recipients of the Graduate Dean's Distinguished Dissertation Awards, Dorin E. Dutkay and Bryan K. Eldredge, each received a signed certificate and a $500 award.

Al-Abadleh, who earned her doctorate in physical chemistry in 2003, won the Spriestersbach Dissertation Prize in Mathematical and Physical Sciences for her dissertation, "Heterogeneous Reactions of Atmospheric Gases on Oxide, Carbonate and Soot Surfaces," supervised by Vicki Grassian, professor of chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Al-Abadleh completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University and is now an assistant professor of chemistry at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Brakefield-Younts, who earned his doctorate in sociology in 2003, won the Spriestersbach Dissertation Prize in Social Sciences for his dissertation, "Status, Validation and the Legitimacy of Deviance," supervised by Lisa Troyer, associate professor of sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Brakefield-Younts is now an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut.

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.

Dutkay, who earned his doctorate in mathematics in 2004, was recognized for his dissertation, "Wavelet Representations," supervised by Palle Jorgensen, professor of mathematics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Dutkay is now a Hill Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Rutgers University.

Eldredge, who earned his doctorate in linguistic anthropology in 2004, was recognized for his dissertation, "The Role of Discourse in the Formation and Maintenance of Deaf Identity and the Deaf-World," supervised by Laura Graham, professor of anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Eldredge is now program coordinator and assistant professor for the ASL and Deaf Studies Program at Utah Valley State College.

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,