CASL to recognize Chancellor's Medallion recipients, December 2019

November 26, 2019

The College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters will recognize two Chancellor's Medallion recipients during the university's commencement ceremony on December 14.

Gabriella Oudsema and Noah Vowell ​​​​​will be recognized as CASL's two Chancellor's Medallion recipients during the university's commencement ceremony on December 14. Each commencement, faculty choose Chancellor's Medallion recipients based on academic records, quality of character, vitality, intellect and integrity.

 

Gabriella Oudsema will receive a bachelor’s degree with high distinction as a double major in psychology and philosophy, and a minor in sociology. Oudsema has earned Dean’s List honors every term since starting at the university in fall 2015 and has maintained a 3.98 GPA throughout her academic career. In addition, she was awarded the Philosophy Honor’s Scholar for 2018. Because of Oudsema’s outstanding academic performance, she has been a James B. Angell Scholar for the past three years. She also earned the Chancellor’s Scholarship from 2015-2019 as well as a Study Abroad Scholarship for a trip to the Virgin Islands. Oudsema serves as a writing center peer consultant for the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters, her interest in writing has been acknowledged with two writing awards, one for creative nonfiction and the other for honor’s writing and she has three publications in UM-Dearborn’s Lyceum journal.

In addition to her scholastic achievements, Oudsema has been very active in undergraduate research in psychology and philosophy. She has worked as a research assistant to Zhong Xu Liu, assistant professor of psychology on a project titled, “Age Related Differences in Responding to Semantic Changes during Encoding of Scene Stimuli,” as part of the MCubed Scholar’s Summer Research Fellowship where she assisted with the drafting and editing the research protocol and application for ethical approval. She also worked on a project with Imran Aijaz, assistant professor of philosophy to examine whether it is possible to teach virtue. Oudsema completed a psychology internship with Human Synergistics, an organizational consulting firm, examining qualitative data that they had collected on an important research project. This resulted in a presentation at the Midwestern Psychological Association Conference entitled “Use Your Words: Qualitative Analysis for the Quantitative Researcher.

Oudsema has put her research and academic knowledge to work through Women in Learning and Leadership (WILL) organization on campus, participating in Take Back the Night and volunteering at Vista Maria, a social service organization in Dearborn Heights that provides resources and support to youth in vulnerable situations.

Oudsema will pursue a Ph.D., upon graduation, applying to programs at UM-Ann Arbor and Michigan State University.  

 

Noah Vowell will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and a minor in mathematics with high distinction. He has been on the Dean’s List every semester, earned the Chancellor’s Scholarship, the John Devlin Scholarship, the Michigan Competitive Scholarship, is a James B. Angell Scholar and in 2019 earned the Outstanding Physics Student award. 

Vowell is not only a scholar but a proven researcher and creative scientist. While at UM-Dearborn, he conceived and developed a new research initiative, to use near- and mid-infrared reflection spectroscopy of Jovian transits as analogs to infrared observations of transits in extrasolar planet/brown dwarf systems. He worked to develop the idea and investigate its practicality with the future James Webb Space Telescope, supervised by faculty members Will Clarkson and Mark Salvatore. Exercising his interest in high-energy astrophysical techniques, Vowell also pursued a summer undergraduate research in X-ray Astrophysics at Michigan State University and plans to present his X-ray spectral/timing work at the Chandra 20th anniversary symposium in December 2019 at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He has taken the opportunity to develop practical observational skills through his many research activities, including two observing runs at the Michigan-Dartmouth-MIT (MDM) Observatory near Kitt Peak, AZ as part of a long-term optical monitoring project of the black hole V404 Cygni conducted by the UM-Dearborn Astronomy Research Group, of which he is a key member.

In addition to research skills Vowell has made a positive impact in the learning of nearly 400 introductory astronomy students at the university as a Supplemental Instruction (SI) leader and a Teaching Assistant (TA). According to Lecturer Carrie Swift, his study sessions were always well attended and students felt that they had a very positive effect on their understanding of the course material. Vowell’s combination of exceptional academic ability and innate thoughtfulness, combined with a gift for teaching, made him an outstanding SI Leader and TA all four years of his academic career. 

Vowell has also been deeply involved in outreach activities, tutoring K-12 students in his home community and volunteering with outreach programs on campus. He conducts tours of the campus observatory for various school groups and volunteers at the annual Water Festival on campus. He has also participated in the observatory’s public viewing nights where he assists with the telescopes and explains the objects in view to the members of the public who attend. 

Vowell plans to pursue his Ph.D. in astronomy.

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