2015 Student Awards

2015 CLA Distinguished Dissertation Award

Winners of the  CLA Distinguished Award are chosen from nominations from each department and interdisciplinary graduate program in the College of Liberal Arts. Each award is for $500 and includes an engraved plaque.

Michelle Medeiros

Michelle Medeiros is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish in the department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Marquette University. She received her Ph.D. in 2014 from Purdue University with a dissertation on the travel narratives of the Cuban-Spanish author Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda (1814-1873), the British botanist Maria Graham (1785-1842) who spent several years in Latin America, and the Brazilian writer Nisia Floresta (1810-1885). In the dissertation, she demonstrates how their unique condition of voluntary exile from their respective countries offered them unparalleled opportunities to participate in debates on scientific topics carried out by prominent male authors of the time. Her research interests include women's travel writing in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Latin American and Hispanic literature, gender and women studies, cultural studies, and history of science.



Ryan Plis 2015 Dissertation Awardee

Since graduating, Ryan Plis has taken a position as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Purdue. His dissertation explored the identity work and experiences of marginalization among gender variant 

and transgender people living in the Mid-Southern United States. A key theme in all of his academic research projects has been an examination of the ways that social relationships and identities shape self-understandings and embodiments. His future research plans include continuing to interrogate the impact of marginalization within the transgender community through a focus on the health and sociability of aging gender variant people.



Ryan Plis 2015 Dissertation Awardee

Timothy Olin was awarded his Ph.D. in history from Purdue in August, 2015. Based on archival research in Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Serbia, his dissertation, “Expanding Europe: German Borderland Colonization in the Banat of Temesvár, 1716-1847,” explored issues of migration, assimilation, and inter-ethnic relations in the Habsburg borderlands. He earned his MA in history from Purdue and a BA and MA in German from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Before coming to Purdue, Tim was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan where he taught English and German. He is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana.


2015 CLA Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award

CLA Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award winners are chosen among nominations from each department and interdisciplinary graduate program in the College of Liberal Arts. Each award is for $250 and includes an engraved plaque.


Olivia Hagedorn 2015 Thesis Awardee

Olivia Hagedorn earned her bachelor’s degree in History Honors from Purdue University in May 2013, and she completed her master’s degree in history at Purdue in May 2015.  Her master’s thesis, “The ‘Real Black Power’: Mattie Coney and the Pragmatic Politics of Black Conservatism” examines the life and activism of Mattie Rice Coney, a black civic leader from Indianapolis, Indiana.  Using the life and activism of Mattie Coney as a window into grassroots civil rights activism and conservative mobilization, Olivia sheds light on the various ways in which African Americans struggled to gain meaningful equality in the wake of federal civil rights policy changes.  Her thesis offers a more nuanced history of the civil rights movement by examining the intersections of civil rights and conservatism, in effect revealing the varied forms of civil rights activism after 1965.  Olivia currently is pursuing a Ph.D. in African-American history at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.


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