Graduate School Honors Student Shaheen Award Winners and Faculty Burns Award Winner

Author: Graduate School

The Graduate School is pleased to announce its annual award winners for the 2020 Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Graduate Student Awards and the James A. Burn, C.S.C. Faculty Award.  The Shaheen Award recognizes the most outstanding graduate student in each of the divisions of the Graduate School.  The Burns Award recognizes a faculty member who is an outstanding faculty mentor and who exemplifies the value of positive mentor/mentee relationships.  The award winners will be formally recognized for their achievements at the Graduate Commencement Ceremony to be held at Notre Dame over Memorial Day weekend in May 2021. 


Tyler Curtis from the Department of Bioengineering is the recipient of the Shaheen Award in Engineering. A researcher with a record of basic and applied work investigating quantitative molecular imaging with photon-counting spectral computed tomography, Tyler has authored or co-authored ten peer-reviewed publications, demonstrating his ability to collaborate across diverse areas of research in biomedical imaging and the mechanical behavior materials. In recognition of his achievements and scholarly promise, Tyler was recognized with an Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Award from the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning in 2017 and was awarded the Martell Family PhD Fellowship for the 2018-2019 academic year. Tyler is one of a select cohort of global experts in the nascent technology of clinical diagnostic imaging; he is currently a Lead Systems Engineer at GE Health.


Meredith Doellman from the Department of Biological Sciences is the recipient of the Shaheen Award in Science.  An evolutionary biologist who studies speciation and genome structure, Meredith has published fifteen articles in leading journals, one review, and two chapters in scholarly books. Throughout her time at Notre Dame, Meredith garnered praise as a compelling teacher, a dedicated mentor to twelve undergraduate students, and an effective leader in the Graduate Student Union. In addition to earning a doctoral degree in Biology, she also completed a professional Masters Degree in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics. Meredith is now a Chicago Fellows Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Chicago where she investigates the genetic underpinning of evolutionary repeatability involving mimicry in Papilio butterflies.


Dustin Stoltz from the Department of Sociology is the recipient of the Shaheen Award in the Social Sciences.  A sociologist whose research is focused on consulting firms like McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain, Dustin studies inequalities in wealth and politics.  This innovative work has been recognized with several awards, including the American Sociological Association History of Sociology Graduate Student Paper Award (2018) and the Jeanine Becker Award for Best Graduate Student Paper (2017).  In 2018, Dustin was recognized within the Department of Sociology with the John J. Kane Award for Outstanding Graduate Student (2018). Following graduation, Dustin will continue his research with a tenure-track position at Lehigh University, a top 50 U.S. News and World Reports university located in Pennsylvania.

Paola Uparela from the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures is the recipient of the Shaheen Award in the Humanities. Paola specializes in Transatlantic Early Modern literary and cultural studies centering on issues of gender, race, bio-politics, and visual culture; her dissertation was directed by Professor Carlos A. Jáuregui. She has published several articles, and her work has been recognized with the 2018 Victoria Urbano Essay Award, given by the Association of Gender and Sexuality Studies; and the 2019 Feministas Unidas Essay Prize, given by the MLA allied association. Paola has also won three teaching awards: the Graduate Student Union (GSU) Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Honorable Mention (2016); the GSU Outstanding Graduate Instructor Award (2017); and the Kaneb Center Outstanding Teaching Award (2018). Paola now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville, a top 10 Public School in the U.S. News and World Reports rankings.


Joseph Wawrykow is the winner of the James A. Burns, C.S.C. Award in recognition of his outstanding work as a mentor to graduate students. A professor of the History of Christianity with research interests in Medieval Christology, Professor Wawrykow specializes in 13th-century Western theology and is known for his work on the theology of Thomas Aquinas. He has dedicated almost a decade of service as Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) for the Department of Theology, leading a collective cohort of 100 students. For a decade, he taught in the summer a course in professionalization for the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning. In the Department of Theology, he was instrumental in developing and implementing a teacher training program that includes workshops, teaching mentors, and an ongoing symposium in which Theology graduate students take the lead in teaching. Professor Wawrykow is recognized with the Burns Award for his indelible mark on generations of graduate students in the Department of Theology.