Stanford University Gives Prestigious Awards to 35 Student Theses


Every year, Stanford University hands out three highly sought-after awards to the top honors theses:

  • Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research– This award is given to the top 10% of honors theses in the following disciplines of social science, science, and engineering
  • Robert M. Golden Medal for Excellence in the Humanities and the Creative Arts – This is also given to the top 10% of the theses in the humanities and senior projects or performances in the arts
  • David M. Kennedy Honors Thesis Prizes – This award is perhaps the most prestigious of the three, as the winners are taken from the pool of Robert M. Golden and Firestone medalists

Prizes are given to the best thesis in each of the four divisions in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering.

Only the papers that have significant potential to be published in peer-reviewed journals win this prize. Winners also get an engraved plaque and monetary award.

The 2016 awardees have already been announced and Stanford University is proud to say that thirty-five of their graduating students had received awards.

These seniors represent twenty-four university departments and all the schools with undergraduate programs: School of Humanities and Sciences, the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, and the School of Engineering.

Some of the seniors had also conducted their research with the Graduate School of Education and the School of Medicine.

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and a Professor of Humanities, Harry J. Elam, Jr., said that having such a huge number of awardees portrays the breadth and depth of the Stanford experience in the undergraduate program.

He recalled how every freshman in the university would be told that research was part of the school’s aims in education.

The university, officially called Leland Stanford Junior University, is located in the Silicon Valley, between San Francisco and San Jose, and has been a leading, world-class institute in teaching and research.

In fact, Stanford University sponsors more than 5,000 external projects and spends over $1 billion in research.

It’s not surprising then that the university is one of the country’s top academic institutions, being the first school to raise a billion dollars in just one year.

Now, their students’ theses attest to how much value Stanford places on studies and innovative learning.

The theses topics cover different disciplines, social issues, and problems both national and global.

Some students studied medieval states (Rory Houghton-Berry), historical photographs (Soo Ji Lee), environment and autism (Akosua Busia), and agricultural practices in India (Adrienne Pollack), among others.

Of the topmost recognized honors theses, though, are the ones that garnered the David M. Kennedy Honors Thesis prize:

Benjamin Diego, from the Humanities studied about the architecture and “architexture” in The Insular Gospel Books from 600-900 C.E.

In the Natural Sciences, Brian Do did a study on gene expression and multiple protein complexes.

Catalin Voss in the Engineering and Applied Sciences program studied learning aids for use at home in treatment of medical disorders.

Lastly, Renjie Wong from Social Sciences did a research on the Neapolitan Bespoke Tailoring Industry.

Rob Clark admin staff managing editor

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