Each spring, the Dean of Graduate Studies presents the Hannah T. Croasdale Award for academic excellence to graduating PhD students. The award recognizes exemplary scholars, dedicated to research and teaching. This year, the recipients are April Daigle Lewoczko and Laurel B. Symes.
Professor Hannah T. Croasdale conducted research and taught biology for more than 40 years at Dartmouth, retiring as a full professor in 1971. She was the first woman at Dartmouth to achieve the level of full professor. Professor Croasdale’s research focus was algae, specifically freshwater algae and desmids, which are single-celled green algae. She received her BS in 1928, her MS in 1931, and her PhD in 1935 all from the University of Pennsylvania.
The two recipients of the Croasdale Award this year have successfully undertaken the many roles of a scholar during their time at Dartmouth.
April Daigle Lewoczko completed her PhD in chemistry over the winter. She worked in Professor Joseph BelBruno’s lab. Lewoczko’s dissertation research focused on the adsorption of amines with gold surfaces. These nitrogen-containing molecules undergo accelerated transformations on gold surfaces and nanoparticles. In addition, she considered the effects of magnetism in the structure of small clusters of manganese and sulfide atoms.
Lewoczko has been a productive researcher during her graduate career. In 2011, she received the Walter H. Stockmayer Graduate Fellowship and in 2009 a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Fellowship. Along with Professor Belbruno, she recently published an article entitled “Impact of surface steps and oxygen pre-coverage on the adsorption of methylamine on gold” in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, Issue 13. She has also published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry and Surface Science.
Lewoczko showed dedication to teaching while at Dartmouth. She was a teaching assistant for several courses, including honors general chemistry and physical chemistry. For her work in these courses, she was chosen for the Graduate Teaching Award in 2012. About her teaching experience, Lewoczko observes, “The time I spent as a teaching assistant in the general and physical chemistry courses was defining to my time at Dartmouth. I found great joy in mentoring and working alongside undergraduates in discovering chemistry.”
Lewoczko is currently working with Stefan Bromley of the University of Barcelona on a computational project studying cosmic dust—in particular the degree of order in small magnesium-containing silicate dust particles. She is thrilled to receive the Croasdale Award, noting “It is an honor to be recognized by this award as I graduate. I have had a tremendous time as a member of the Dartmouth community and will be forever grateful to all those who have invested in me as a scholar, especially my adviser Joseph BelBruno.”
Laurel B. Symes is a PhD candidate in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program. She works in Professor Mark McPeek’s lab, studying sensory ecology and animal behavior. In particular, she is researching the processes that generate new species in crickets as a way of understanding the broader processes that lead to the formation of new species.
Symes has received several research grants during her time at Dartmouth, including the Huyck Preserve Research Grant in 2011 and 2012, the Orthopterists’ Society Research Grant in 2010 and 2012, the Gilman Grant in 2010, and the Graduate Alumni Research Grant in 2010. She has recently published on her work in Current Zoology and the Journal of Orthopteran Research.
Symes has also been involved in teaching during her graduate studies. She has been a TA for biostatistics, ecology, and marine biology. She also worked for the Biology Foreign Studies Program in Costa Rica and the Cayman Islands in 2010. Symes has shown dedication to undergraduate education through mentoring as well; she has been a senior research mentor, a summer research mentor, and a Women in Science Project (WISP) mentor. In 2012, Symes was a National Science Foundation Graduate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics in K-12 Education (GK-12) fellow.
Reflecting on her time at Dartmouth, Symes observes, ”Graduate school has been a formative experience. The interpersonal interactions have been critical to my graduate education, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to interact with exceptional students and colleagues throughout my time at Dartmouth. These experiences have been central to my development as a scientist and a mentor. My approach to science has been shaped by the people in this community.”
Symes is excited and honored to receive the Croasdale Award. Following graduation, she will be starting a postdoctoral research position at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
The Graduate Studies Office wishes to congratulate both Lewoczko and Symes on their award.