2016 Student Awards

2016 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.


2016 Dissertation Awardee

Patricia M. Morton received a dual-title Ph.D. in Sociology and Gerontology from Purdue University in 2016.  Her dissertation, “The Things They Carried: The Biological Residue of Childhood Misfortune”, examines the process of how disadvantageous childhood experiences become manifest as cardiovascular disease in mid- and later-life.  Using a nationally representative, panel study of American adults, Patricia found that childhood socioeconomic disadvantage raised adult ischemic heart disease (IHD) risk by adversely impacting adult health lifestyles and SES, which subsequently led to higher levels of chronic inflammation, resulting in onset of IHD.  These findings clarify how childhood misfortune impacts health over the life course, contextualizing health processes along the lines of childhood conditions, individual behaviors, social structures, and biological systems.  Patricia is continuing her research on the health consequences of childhood conditions as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Departments of Statistics and Sociology (dual appointment) at Rice University.


Mauricio Fernando Castro orginally from San Jose, Costa Rica, Mauricio Castro earned his BA in History from Vassar College before continuing his education at Purdue, where he obtained his PhD in American History in August of 2015.  Based on archival research and oral history interviews, his dissertation “Casablanca of the Caribbean: Cuban Refugees, Local Power, and Cold War Policy in Miami, 1959-1995,” examines the flow of Cuban exiles into the United States in the aftermath of the Cuban revolution.  It demonstrates how an open door policy toward Cuban emigrants, coupled with the provision of considerable federal aid to the Cuban exile community, fundamentally challenged the racial and social order in Miami, while driving the city’s economic growth.  His work has earned him multiple grants and fellowships and has secured him a position on the executive board of the Urban History Association.  His future research concerns the institutional role of the American Catholic Church in the creation of federal policy regulating immigration from Latin America.



2016 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.


Hayley Bowman 2016 thesis awardee

Hayley R. Bowman earned her Bachelor’s degree in History and Sociology from Purdue University in 2013, and her Master’s degree in History from Purdue in 2015. Her broad research interests include women, religion, and art in the early modern Spanish world. Her thesis, “The Church Divided: The Dominicans, Franciscans, and Jesuits and the Immaculate Conception Controversy in Seventeenth-Century Spain” examines the debate between Dominicans, Jesuits, and Franciscans over the doctrine of Mary’s Immaculate Conception in Madrid and Seville during the seventeenth century. This thesis brings together sermons and paintings as evidence to analyze the debate between the religious orders, arguing that the early modern Spanish religious art displayed pro-Immaculist fervor visually in the same way that sermons expressed theological approaches textually. Hayley is currently continuing her work on female religious figures and spiritual exchange in the early modern Spanish world as a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan.”


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