Outstanding Graduate Thesis and Dissertation Awards

Each year, we recognize two graduating students, one Master's and Ph.D., who have produced a thesis or dissertation that has high quality research and broad impacts. Each student will receive a cash award and a signed certificate of recognition.

Read their personal stories and research.

List of Awardees

Spring 2021

Alma Anides Morales, M.S.





Faculty Advisor: Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta

Relating the magic of science to the border environment


Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment and Community-Based Risk Perception of Sewage Overflows by Naco Elementary


Mohammad Gohardgoust, Ph.D.

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Markus Tuller

Embracing opportunities to understand soils in depth


Physicochemical and Hydraulic Characterization of Soilless Greenhouse Substrates and Modeling of Flow and Transport in Soilless Substrate Growth Modules with High Performance Computing


Spring 2020

Joy Custer, M.S.

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Paul Carini

Growing and learning all about soil microbes

Read Joy's Story

Separation of Viable Microbes From Soil Matrices

Read Thesis

Bryan Moravec, Ph.D.

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jon Chorover

Digging deep into critical earth zone processes

Read Bryan's Story

The Architecture of Deep Critical Zone: the Role of Lithology and Geologic Texture in Regolith Formation, Hydrologic Flowpath Development, and Weathering Dynamics

Read Dissertation

Spring 2019

Iliana Manjón, M.S.

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta

Citizen science and studying contaminants in school gardens

Read Iliana's Story

Ingestion and Inhalation of Metal(loid)s Through Preschool Gardening: An Exposure and Risk Assessment in Legacy Mining Communities

Read Thesis

Carrie Nuva Joseph, Ph.D

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Karletta Chief

Studying mining impacts at the intersection of the environment, policy and Indigenous communities

Read Carrie's Story

Effects of Climate and Ecological Processes on Engineered Uranium Disposal Cell Performance with Respect to Nearby Subsistence-based Indigenous Communities

Read Dissertation