The Office of Graduate Studies at the University of Guam has named five awardees of its 2020 Graduate Awards, an annual competition that recognizes excellence, innovation, and impact within the university’s master’s degree programs.
The awards competition, originally launched in 2009, includes categories recognizing the most innovative research project, the research project with the biggest community impact, the most impactful graduate student, and the most impactful graduate faculty member. The pinnacle of the awards is the Presidential Research Award, which recognizes a well-organized and -analyzed research project that advances knowledge about the region.
This year’s winners are as follows:
- Innovative Research Award: Arielle Lowe, Master of Arts in English program
Lowe researched “Chamaole” identity formations based on her literary analysis of poetry by three “Chamoale” authors. Her project was innovative in its non-traditional literary studies methods, including creating community engagement and conducting qualitative interviews.
- Community Impact Award: Hanna Jugo, Master of Science in Sustainable Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources program
Jugo’s research explored the adaptive strategies to food security used within the Chuukese communities of Guam and Chuuk. Her research established justification for funding for a study that would document the levels of food insecurity in Guam and for USDA food cost studies that could ultimately adjust federal funding levels for Guam’s SNAP, WIC, and school lunch programs.
- Graduate Student Award: Justin Berg, Master of Science in Biology program
Berg was actively involved in recruitment to the master’s biology program as a student representative and in mentoring undergraduate and high school students, helping them design and run experiments, collect and analyze data, and create presentations on their work. Berg’s personal research focused on environmental impacts on the health of coral reefs.
- Graduate Faculty Award: Associate Professor of Experimental Psychology
Paul Fleming, Master of Science in Clinical Psychology program
Fleming chairs eight master’s thesis committees, meets weekly with each thesis student he mentors, and has immersed himself in clinical supervision, clinical services to clients, and graduate student consultation within the Isa Psychological Services Center.
- Presidential Thesis Award: Edward Leon Guerrero, Master of Arts in Micronesian Studies program
Leon Guerrero’s thesis project explored how young CHamorus in Guam articulate a sense of personal cultural identity despite a lack of fluency in the CHamoru language. His research formulated a set of attributes that young CHamorus consider to be culturally authentic to being CHamoru. The project “makes a significant contribution to CHamoru studies and Micronesian studies” and offers a set of policy recommendations for CHamoru language and culture advocates.
The winners in each category receive a $100 prize. The prizes were sponsored by the UOG Endowment Foundation, the Research Corporation of the University of Guam, and the Offices of the President and Senior Vice President and Provost. Half of the sponsored funds went to the prizes, and the other half went to COVID-19 relief efforts.
Requests for copies of any of the above-mentioned thesis projects may be made to [email protected].