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Congratulations to the winners of the Fall 2015 URCA Assistant Program Awards!!

Vaughn Vandegrift URCA Assistant Research Mentor of the Semester Award


Dr. Mike Crider, Pharmaceutical Sciences  

Nominated by: Tyler Schiffman

"I can't express enough how much Dr. Crider makes me feel excited to go do research every week. He has made something that some people may call monotonous, instead feel exciting! [Dr. Crider] is obviously a brilliant chemist, but also a genuinely a joyful person to talk to. Dr. Crider is truly deserving of this award in that he is a magnificent researcher and teacher!"

URCA Assistant Creative Activities Mentor of the Semester Award


Dr. Marc Schapman, Music

Nominated by: Sarah Paitz 

"[Dr. Schapman] is so passionate about what he does and it's apparent in the way that he acts and talks to [his assistants] as if we are in the real, professional world. He treats everyone with respect and pushes everyone to be the best they can be. It is exciting to hear him talk about the vision he has for the musical and opera programs that I believe will make the programs more amazing than they already are. Dr. Schapman is phenomenal at what he does as a teacher!"

URCA Research Assistant of the Semester Award

James Moss 

James Moss, Mass Communications

Nominated by: Dr. Mark Poepsel

"James is conducting research and working creatively this semester in a way that only makes sense in the social sciences and in Mass Communications in particular! James is helping with several projects including helping develop a codebook based on literature about interviewing for broadcast news, as well as analyzing data. We are also working towards producing a short film about environmental activism on a global scale. James' interest, capabilities, and dedication have truly driven the research this semester!"

URCA Creative Activities Assistant of the Semester Award 

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Sarah Paitz, Music

Nominated by: Dr. Marc Schapman 

"Sarah has proven to be an invaluable asset for our productions of Godspell and Opera Scenes. She has served as an assistant stage director, stage manager, assistant costume and scenic designer, and spearheaded our publicity efforts for both productions. Additionally, Sarah's work ethic has far surpassed my expectations for this position. She arrives to rehearse early, assists in managing rehearsals, and proactively asks for her next tasks before our next meeting!"

Other nominees:


Dr. Sarah Luesse, Chemistry
Nominated by
Abbie Fox

Dr. Brianne Guilford, Kinesiology & Health Education
Nominated by
Jane Maciejewski

Dr. Cathy Santanello, Pharmaceutical Sciences
Nominated by
Redir Barwari

Dr. Edward Ackad, Physics
Nominated by
Thomas Teague & Kasey Barrington

Dr. Elizabeth McKenney, Psychology
Nominated by
Jennifer Garland
Dr. Michelle Cathorall, Kinesiology & Health Education
Nominated by
Megan Punches
Dr. Thad Meeks, Psychology
Nominated by
Lillian Hurley
Dr. Thomas Foster, Physics
Nominated by
John Peters
Dr. Mark Poepsel, Mass Communications
Nominated by
James Moss
Ms. Megan Robb, Art & Design
Nominated by
Britney Walker


Emily Koester
Nominated by
Dr. Suman Mishra, Mass Communications

Abbie Fox
Nominated by
Dr. Sarah Luesse, Chemistry

Alexa Knuth
Nominated by
Dr. Lindsay Ross-Stewart, Kinesiology and Health Education

Hollie Cocke
Nominated by
Dr. Joel Nadler, Psychology

Redir Barwari
Nominated by
Dr. Cathy Santanello, Pharmaceutical Sciences

Ronald Bell
Nominated by
Dr. Connie Barber, CMIS

Sierra Muro
Nominated by
Dr. Mitsuru Shimizu, Psychology

Samantha Dahl
Nominated by
Dr. Kelly Barry, Biological Sciences

Spring 2015 Award Winners
Fall 2014 Award Winners
Spring 2014 Award Winners
Fall 2013 Award Winners
Spring 2013 Award Winners
Fall 2012 URCA Award Winners
Spring 2012 URCA Award Winners
Fall 2011 URCA Award Winners

For more information about the URCA program,
contact Dr. Laura Pawlow at 618-650-2608 or
The calls for nominations for these awards go out mid-fall and mid-spring.

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