Graduate School award winners announced

by William G. Gilroy

Four doctoral candidates at the University of Notre Dame have received the 2001 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 the course of study at Notre Dame, and teaching ability.
p. Reka Albert, a doctoral candidate in physics, wrote her dissertation, “Statistical Physics of Complex Networks,” under the direction of Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, Emil T. Hofman Professor of Physics. She already has had four papers published in prestigious journals ? three in Nature (one of which was featured on the cover) and one in Science.
p. By investigating the typology of the World Wide Web, Internet, cellular and social networks, Albert has discovered that networks in nature follow a common blueprint. In a recent paper in Nature, three prominent cancer researchers proposed that her work offers the key to understanding within a single framework the over 17,000 papers on the role of the p53 tumor-suppressing gene in cell death and the development of cancer. Albert will graduate in May and assume a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Minnesota.
p. Monica Brady, a doctoral candidate in theology, wrote her dissertation, “Prophetic Traditions at Qumran: A Study of 4Q383-4Q391,” under the direction of James VanderKam, John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology. During her studies at Notre Dame, Brady was active in both teaching and research, serving as an instructor in Foundations of Theology and teaching a graduate level course in Biblical Hebrew.
p. In her dissertation on the Dead Sea Scrolls, she organized a large set of scroll fragments, studied them systematically for the first time, and offered an original interpretive framework for understanding their origins. Her dissertation has been accepted for publication by the E.J. Brill Publishing Company in the Netherlands in its distinguished series Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah. An August 2000 graduate, she is currently an assistant for the Dead Seas Scrolls Publication Project.
p. Jason Keith, a doctoral candidate in chemical engineering, wrote his dissertation, “Novel Reactor Designs for Pollution Reduction Utilizing Enhanced Transient Thermal Dispersion,” under the direction of Hsueh-Chia Chang, Bayer Professor of Engineering, and David Leighton, Professor of Chemical Engineering. He has had a distinguished career as both a teacher and researcher while a student at Notre Dame. His teaching ability was recognized early on when he was a teaching assistant and he was soon selected by the faculty to be an instructor for a thermodynamics course and a new first-year engineering course ? assignments typically given only to top faculty prospects.
p. Keith’s research improved the dynamics of several important reactors and also examined the ignition dynamics of catalytic converters. The later research resulted in the design of a converter system that would reduce pollution emission by 80 percent and would meet most new clean air laws.
p. Keith’s catalytic converter, which is now on display in the Eck Center, has generated considerable interest from the auto industry in Michigan, where he is now an assistant professor at Michigan Tech.
p. Eileen McConnell, a doctoral candidate in sociology, wrote her dissertation, “The Influence of Context: Regional Analyses of the Mexican Immigrant Experience in the United States,” under the direction of Felicia LeClere, associate professor of sociology. While a graduate student at Notre Dame, she won her department’s outstanding graduate student award and the Southern Demographic Association’s Outstanding Graduate Student Paper prize.
p. McConnell’s dissertation focuses on the regional factors affecting the Mexican immigrant experience in the United States. In a Census Bureau-funded research project, she will use the recently released census 2000 data to provide a comprehensive descriptive and analytical picture of Hispanics and will identify the components of change for this population between 1900 and 2000. A January 2001 graduate, McConnell is currently a visiting assistant professor in the Latino Studies Center at Indiana University.
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 until 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 to him 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 in Architecture.

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