2024 Byam Shaw-Brownstone Thesis Excellence Awards

Five students have won the 2024 Byam Shaw-Brownstone Thesis Excellence Award. The award was inaugerated in 2019 with generous gifts from Nicholas Byam-Shaw and the Clyde and Diane Brownstone Foundation and recognizes outstanding interdisciplinary research in each of the Masters of Liberal Arts (MALS) concentrations. This year, Professor Donald Pease, Chair of the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program, presented the MALS Thesis Excellence Awards.

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2024 MALS Thesis Excellence Awards:

Globalization Studies:

In globalization studies, the award went to Karina Madzari for her thesis "Designing Future Agriculture: Design for Complex Systems and Cross-Cultural Interactions". Karina explores how agroecology and high-tech precision agriculture can work together to benefit the planet. Her research includes insights from her background in chemical engineering in Ukraine and experiences with Indigenous communities in Mexico. She also participated in the COP28 on Climate Change in Dubai and engaged with members of Indigenous communities across New York State to learn and consult with them. Her advisor, David van Wie, commended her work, comparing it to that of systems thinker Prof. Donella Meadows. See her spotlight.

Creative Writing:

James Washington, Jr. received the creative writing award for his poetry thesis, "Riding Shotgun". His poems tackle themes from personal experiences to the national experience of Blackness, addressing social injustice with nuance and sensitivity. Poet Rena Mosterin praised the collection for its blend of joy, loss, violence, and love. See his spotlight.

Cultural Studies:

Jasmine Shirey was honored for her thesis "Explosions of Cold War Memory: The Overdetermination of U.S. Imperial Anxiety in The Ugly American". Jasmine examines the anxieties behind the novel The Ugly American and how its intended positive image of Americans abroad was overshadowed by the term's negative connotation. Her work is particularly relevant in understanding the relationship between U.S. imperialism and American identity. See her spotlight.

General Liberal Studies:

Graeme Blackman won the award for his thesis "The Fall of the Female Head Coach in the Post Title IX Era – Will She Rise Again?". Graeme explores how Title IX positively impacted female athletes but inadvertently led to a decline in female head coaches. His advisor, Professor Regine Rosenthal, praised his thorough and passionate examination of the issue and the potential solutions he proposed.

Cultural Studies (Medical Humanities):

Behista Sadaat was recognized for her thesis "Women, War, and Reproductive Health: An analysis of Afghanistan during 1980-2023". Behista's research examines the impact of war on Afghan women's reproductive health, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Her advisor, Dr. Daniel Lucey, highlighted her work as a major contribution to the field, addressing healthcare challenges faced by Afghan women over decades of conflict. See her spotlight.

Congratulations to all the recipients of the 2024 Byam Shaw-Brownstone Thesis Excellence Awards!