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Congratulations to the winners of the Fall 2016 URCA Assistant Program Awards!!

Vaughn Vandegrift URCA Assistant Research Mentor of the Semester Award


Dr. Brianne Guilford, Kinesiology and Health Education

Nominated by: Jane Claire Macejewski

"Dr. Guilford has guided me through my research experiences by giving me an opportunity to work independently, explore my own research interests, and share my findings with the scientific community. Dr. Guilford has instilled in our research team the technical skills that could not be obtained from anyone else. Her individualized, hands-on training allowed us to become subject matter experts in our field of research. Most importantly, she gave us a glimpse into the research world and showed us what goes into being a scholarly investigator.  She proved to us that in research, there are no limits." 

URCA Assistant Creative Activities Mentor of the Semester Award

Jessica DeSpain

Dr. Jessica DeSpain, English Language and Literature

Nominated by: Gabrielle Borders

"Professor DeSpain’s passion and wealth of knowledge for book history is what inspired and engaged me from day one and is one of the many reasons why I am still on the project. Under her guidance, I have learned about the various aspects of publishing, book binding, and book scanning. Professor DeSpain also fosters an environment of fellowship and free idea sharing among the group. She encourages us to explore and grapple with different aspects of the project that we are most interested in and challenges us to research things we might have never thought of looking at before."

URCA Research Assistant of the Semester Award

Jane Maciejewski

Jane Claire Maciejewski, Kinesiology and Health Education 

Nominated by: Dr. Brianne Guilford

"I have been impressed with Claire since her first day in the lab. She learned extremely quickly and was largely responsible for successful execution. In addition to her ability to quickly to quickly master technical skills, Claire has always been very interested in presenting her work and understanding the big picture. It is such a pleasure to work with an individual who expresses appreciation for the research mentoring and experiences. Claire has an exceptional work ethic and is very pleasant to be around." 

URCA Creative Activities Assistant of the Semester Award 

Zora Vredeveld

Zora Vredeveld, Music

Nominated by: Dr. Marc Schapman 

"Zora is a diligent, punctual, organized, creative, and a genuinely good person. I feel very fortunate to have her as part of our creative team this semester. She has served as an assistant stage director, stage manager, and most importantly, publicist. She did a wonderful job publicizing our fall opera scenes and we had excellent crowds for our performances."

Other nominees:


Dr. Elizabeth Meinz, Psychology
Nominated by:
Chellis Altenberger

Dr. Kimberly Carter, Social Work
Nominated by:
Victoria Greer and Savannah Bounds

Dr. Peter Minchin, Biological Sciences
Nominated by:
Matthew Hunsaker

Dr. Sarah Luesse, Chemistry
Nominated by:
Haleigh Sperry

Dr. Sinan Onal, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Nominated by:
Basak Ulcay

Dr. Sophia Wilson, Political Science
Nominated by:
Aliyah Price

Dr. Marc Schapman, Music
Nominated by:
Zora Vredeveld

Dr. Carolina Rocha, Foreign Languages and Literature
Nominated by:
Chase Tiffany


Basak Ulcay
Nominated by:
Dr. Sinan Onal, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Courtney Willoughby
Nominated by:
Dr. Bryan Smith, Kinesiology and Health Education

Nikolas Snyder
Nominated by:
Dr. Bryan Smith, Kinesiology and Health Education

Maya Gann-Bociek
Nominated by:
Dr. Joel Nadler, Psychology

Spring 2016 Award Winners
Fall 2015 Award Winners
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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