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Dan E. Wells Outstanding Dissertation Award

Jiaxuan Li
Spring 2020 Dan E. Wells Outstanding Dissertation Award went to Jiaxuan Li (left), Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, pictured with his advisor Yingcai Zheng. Li’s dissertation was “Inverting In-situ Anisotropy in Global Subduction Slabs Using Deep Earthquakes and Imaging Binary Mixtures and Fractures.”

The Dan E. Wells Outstanding Dissertation Award recognizes a graduating doctoral student from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics who has performed outstanding research and submitted the best dissertation to the College in terms of scholarship, presentation and organization. The recipient receives an award of $1,000 and is recognized at the Commencement ceremony.

Two awards are made each year; the Fall award is made to a student who graduated in the previous summer or is graduating in the fall semester; the Spring award is made to a student graduating in the spring semester.

View Past Winners

Deadlines for Application

Fall 2019 Graduate

Noon (12 pm)
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Spring 2020 Graduate

Noon (12 pm)
Monday, May 4, 2020
DATE REVISED

Summer 2020 Graduate

Noon (12 pm)
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Application Procedure

Applying to the Dan E. Wells Outstanding Dissertation Award is done at the same time you submit your committee-approved dissertation to the College. The committee-approved dissertation is the dissertation which includes the corrections required by your committee and committee chair after your defense, but before it is reviewed by the college reader. To be considered for the award, do the following no later than the above deadlines:

  1. Submit the following documents electronically: Step 1 Updated for Spring 2020 on 3/25/20
    1. Your committee-approved dissertation, uploaded to the Texas Digital Library
    2. The Thesis/Dissertation Approval Form (from the Graduate School) with all the signatures from your committee and committee chair, emailed to Ms. Glass (sglass@central.uh.edu)
    3. The Dissertation Award application form, emailed to Ms. Glass (sglass@central.uh.edu)
  2. Email the following items to the Graduate Faculty Chair of your department:
    1. Dissertation Award application form
    2. Current CV
    3. Single-page summary written in layman’s terms of the dissertation research and its significance
    4. Letter of recommendation from the dissertation advisor *
    5. Letter of recommendation from the dissertation committee as a whole or a member of the committee who is not a co-advisor *

      * The letters of recommendation must address the following points:
      • Scientific impact of the research
      • Quality of the dissertation presentation and organization
      • Quality of the scholarship
      • Actual contribution by the student to the work, in cases where the research was collaborative
    6. PDF of a single, most representative publication
    7. PDF of the dissertation, including the abstract: this should be the same document as the hard copy you are submitting to NSM

NOTE: in the Spring and Fall semesters, the deadline for submission of the dissertation to NSM by students who wish to apply for this award is one week earlier than the regular deadline. For students who are graduating in the summer, the same deadline applies for submission of the committee-approved dissertation to NSM and for application to the dissertation award.

Application Evaluation

Evaluation of the applications proceeds in two steps.

  1. The applications are reviewed by the applicants’ department who will select a single departmental nominee to be considered at the College level. The department will be responsible for forwarding the nominee’s application package to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. The College will also receive comments on the dissertations from the NSM readers.
  2. Departmental nominees are reviewed by the faculty of the NSM Graduate Committee, who will choose the award recipient based on the material submitted by the student and the reader’s evaluation, in particular:
    • Significance/impact of the research
    • Originality of the work
    • Quality of the scholarship
    • Quality of the presentation and organization of the dissertation
    • Other appropriate indicators of excellence

Award Notification

The recipient of the award will be notified by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies no later than the Friday prior to the Commencement ceremony.