The Hannah T. Croasdale Scholar Award is presented to the graduating Ph.D. recipient who best exemplifies the qualities of a scholar. These individuals possess personal qualities of intellectual curiosity, dedication, and commitment to the pursuit of new knowledge, and to teaching. The award honors Professor Hannah T. Croasdale, who performed research and taught biology for more than 40 years at Dartmouth. She was the first woman to achieve the level of full professor in the Arts and Sciences at Dartmouth.
Selecting candidates from the volume of nominations submitted is both a deeply gratifying and remarkable process. Gratifying, because the breadth and depth of achievements of the exceptional scholars in the Guarini School programs is presented as a snapshot in the recommendation letters from mentors, in the extensive C.V.s of each nominee listing papers, patents, publications, and more, and in consistently outstanding academic records as presented in the transcripts under review. And it is a process that is remarkable from the perspective of narrowing the choices to just one Croasdale recipient. This year proved an even greater challenge than most, and two candidates were chosen for their deep commitment to academia, their creativity, and tenacity as leaders in their fields. We are delighted to announce the 2020 recipients of the Hannah T. Croasdale Award are Katharine von Herrmann from the Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine and Amoghda Tadimety from Thayer Engineering.
Katharine von Herrmann is one of those rare individuals capable of elevating the bar for every challenge with determination and compassion. She joined Dartmouth with an already strong academic and research pedigree, having completed a B.S and M.S. in Biological Sciences from Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts. She readily immersed herself in the academic and community life at Dartmouth and took a position on the Guarini Graduate Student Council as finance chair before being elected to serve as President of the Executive Board by her peers the following year. She has also contributed to the athletic endeavors of local K-12 students by serving as a ski instructor at the local Alpine Ski program and has served as an outstanding mentor to the undergraduate community at Dartmouth. All this with the same professionalism and rigor that drives her academic endeavors.
Having spent a year working in biomedical research in San Francisco, Katharine was determined to pursue high quality research-driven interventions for unsolved diseases, and her outstanding research accomplishments have been the hallmark of her time at Dartmouth. She has received academic awards and accolades every year both locally and nationally and has made significant contributions to research in the progression of Parkinson's disease, significantly shedding new light on how a previously miscategorized molecular mechanism does, in fact, contribute to the rapid neural degeneration for which this disease is known. According to her mentor, the magnitude of her thesis research is "the closest thing to a paradigm shift discovery" that he has been part of and states: "her studies will provide a foundation for the international Parkinson's research community for years to come."
We are delighted to honor Katharine with this award and wish her every success in her future endeavors.
Amogha Tadimety's intellectual tenacity and generosity of spirit earned her a reputation as a model scholar and mentor during her time at Dartmouth, which she joined after obtaining a B.S.E. in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Princeton. Amogha was drawn to the "incredible spirit of technology translation and innovation" at the Thayer School and the close proximity to Dartmouth Hitchcock hospital and Tuck School of Business appealed to her passion for developing clinical technology. Working with Professor John X.J. Zhang, her research focuses on the development of rapid diagnostic tools for detection of low concentration DNA. The primary focus of her work is liquid biopsy, a process which involves screening blood samples for signs of tumors using nanotechnology and optics to measure DNA.
Amogha's enthusiasm and academic curiosity extends through her research achievements. She began her academic career with a publication that was one of the top ten most-cited articles for that journal, and now her publication record runs to 10 published journal papers, including 7 first-author scientific and review articles. Her work continues to make significant contributions to the field of technology translation, and the outcome of her thesis research which explored DNA capture technology, is a low-cost DNA sensor that could significantly impact clinical and point-of-care diagnostics.
She has generously shared her knowledge and insight with others through a range of activities and events, including volunteering to serve as a teaching assistant to undergraduate classes, which is not mandatory at Thayer, and has organized numerous symposia, giving her time to serve as representative at several outreach panels and events, and mentoring undergraduate students from first year to thesis level.
"Amogha is a research leader within her field," wrote one of her nominators, and her impressive range of internships, consultancies, and scientific research experiences is remarkable testament to her eligibility for the Croasdale award. We are delighted to present Amogha with this prestigious award in recognition of all she has accomplished, and in support of all she has yet to achieve in her new startup with cofounder Alison Burklund (Th PhD '21) and Dr. Zhang.