Assaad Mrad, Rachel Coyte and Guillermo Ortuño Crespo are the 2019 winners of the Dean's Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Manuscript


DURHAM, N.C. – Three doctoral students at the Nicholas School of the Environment will share this year’s Dean’s Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Manuscript.

Toddi Steelman, Stanback Dean of the Nicholas School, announced the winners today. They will each receive a $1000 cash prize and a framed certificate.

Steelman also announced two other doctoral students whose papers received Honorable Mentions.

This year’s three winners are:
* Rachel Coyte, a doctoral student in Earth and Ocean Sciences, who was lead author of the paper, “Large-scale Uranium Contamination of Groundwater Resources in India,” published May 11, 2018, in Environmental Science & Technology Letters (DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.8b00215);

* Assaad Mrad, a doctoral student in Environment, who was lead author of the paper, “A Network Model Links Wood Anatomy to Xylem Tissue Hydraulic Behavior and Vulnerability to Cavitation,” published Aug. 2, 2018, in Plant, Cell & Environment. (DOI:10.1111/pce.13415); and

* Guillermo Ortuño Crespo, a doctoral student in Marine Science & Conservation, who was lead author of the paper, “The Environmental Niche of the Global High Seas Pelagic Longline Fleet,” published Aug. 8, 2018, in Science Advances. (DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat3681).

Coyte’s faculty advisor is Avner Vengosh. Mrad’s faculty advisor is Gabriel Katul. Ortuño Crespo’s faculty advisor is Pat Halpin.

Honorable Mentions were awarded to Marine Science & Conservation doctoral student Jeanne Shearer for her paper “Diving Behavior of Civier’s Beaked Whales (Ziphius cavirostris) off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina,” and to Earth and Ocean Sciences PhD student Andrew Kondash for his paper, “The Intensification of the Water Footprint of Hydraulic Fracturing.”

The Nicholas School has presented the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Manuscript annually since 2008 to recognize excellence in graduate student research.

Coyte’s paper on uranium contamination in Indian groundwater was also recently named one of the best papers of 2018 by the editors of Environmental Science & Technology Letters.