Graduate School award winners announced

by William G. Gilroy

Four doctoral candidates at the University of Notre Dame have received the 2004 Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Graduate School Awards.p. Named in honor of a Notre Dame alumnus and his wife, the award recognizes the top graduating doctoral degree recipients in the humanities, social sciences, science and engineering. Nominated by their departments, the Shaheen Award winners are chosen for their superior ability as exhibited by grades, research and publication records, fellowships and other awards received during their course of study at Notre Dame, and teaching ability.p. The Shaheen Award winners are:p. • Kevin Elliott
Elliott, a doctoral candidate in history and philosophy of science, wrote his dissertation, “Scientific Anomaly and Biological Effects of Low-Dose Chemicals: Elucidating Normative Ethics and Scientific Discovery,” under the direction of Kristin Shrader-Frechette, F.J. and H.M. ONeill Professor of Philosophy and concurrent professor of biological sciences. In addition to his outstanding research, Elliott also won the 2003 Notre Dame Alumni Association Teaching Award.p. Shrader-Frechette described his dissertation as the “most comprehensive, authoritative, scientifically complex and ethically sophisticated treatment to date of biochemical hormesis.” Biochemical hormesis is the hypothesis that low doses of extremely toxic chemicals often have beneficial biological effects. Hormesis is controversial because experts disagree about how to model these allege beneficial effects, whether they exist and what ethical behavior regarding them requires. Elliott addressed this subject from the points of view of philosophy of science, ethical theory and science policy.p. • Daniel Brinks
Brinks, a doctoral candidate in political science, wrote his dissertation, “Legal Tolls and the Rule of Law: The Judicial Response to Police Killings in South America,” under the direction of Guillermo ODonnell, Helen Kellogg Professor of Political Science.p. Brinks’ area of interest is the intersection of the disciplines of law and political science. His dissertation combines the literatures of comparative politics, law and democratic theory and Latin American politics on the one hand, and legal theory, conceptions of the rule of law and practical knowledge of judicial processes on the other. Among his contributions are an innovative model of the criminal judicial decision-making process, the demonstration that achieving a decent rule of law depends less on formal law and institutions than on ingrained social practices and informal institutions, and that prevalent opinions and preferences about police and judicial behavior in society have a much greater influence on the outcome of judicial processes than previously believed.p. Brinks has been the recipient of Notre Dame Presidential, Fulbright, Social Science Research Council and American Bar Association fellowships. He has published several peer-reviewed articles and has others in preparation. He has accepted an appointment as an assistant professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin in the fall.p. • Sean Brittain
Brittain, a doctoral candidate in physics, wrote his dissertation, “Using High-Resolution Near Infrared Spectroscopy to Understand Circumstellar Evolution and Planet Formation,” under the direction of Terrence Rettig, professor of physics.p. Brittain’s research focuses on the chemical evolution of the gaseous disks around young stars. Through the use of NIR high-resolution molecular spectroscopy, he seeks to better understand how the molecular composition of the inner disk evolves and the mechanisms by which planets form. This collaborative research project involved other astronomers and required use of the W.M. Keck Observatory, the largest astronomical telescope in the world, located on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Among Brittain’s contributions to the research has been the development of software to filter out confusing terrestrial signals that can interfere with the weaker stellar signals his research group is seeking.p. Brittain has four refereed publications for which he is the first author, including one in the journal Nature. He was awarded the Physics Department Outstanding Teaching Prize and was offered the Bok Fellowship and several astronomy and astrobiology postdoctoral positions. He will graduate this month and then assume the prestigious NASA Michelson Postdoctoral Fellowship at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, Ariz..p. • Jennifer Anthony
Anthony, a doctoral candidate in chemical and biomolecular engineering, wrote her dissertation, “Gas Solubilities in Ionic Liquids: Experimental Measurements and Applications,” under the direction of Joan F. Brennecke, Keating-Crawford Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Edward J. Maginn, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.p. Anthony’s research focused on trying to understand the molecular thermodynamics of ionic liquid solutions. Ionic liquids are organic salts with very low melting points. They don’t evaporate, which means they cant cause air pollution. These liquids can be used as solvents that will not cause air pollution.p. Anthony’s research focused on the fundamental aspects of whether ionic liquids can be used as a solvent to dissolve certain gaseous species. Her work formed the basis of a patent awarded to the University.p. Anthony has received fellowships from the GE Fund and a Bayer Corp. and a Kaneb Center Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Award. She will graduate this month and has held a postdoctoral position at the California Institute of Technology since January.p. After earning his bachelor’s and law degrees from Notre Dame in 1934 and 1936, Eli Shaheen taught at the University for five years then served as an officer in the Army during World War II. A community leader in Sturgis, Mich., he was owner and president of the Sutton Tool Company from 1945 to 1986, at which time he sold the company and formed Sturgis Enterprises.p. Shaheen was an honorary member of the Notre Dame Monogram Club and served as secretary/treasurer, trustee and advisor to the Notre Dame Council of the Knights of Columbus for more than 50 years. In recognition of his service, the Knights of Columbus Building on campus was dedicated in his honor in 1969.p. Shaheen, who died in 1993, and his wife, Helen, supported the University in many ways, including four fellowships in the Law School, the Shaheen-Mestrovic Memorial on campus, and the Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Endowment for Architecture.p.

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