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Graduate School names Shaheen Award winners

Author: Arts and Letters

Four doctoral candidates at the University of Notre Dame have received the 2006 Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Graduate School Awards.

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.

The Shaheen recipients are:

*Stephen Grimm *

Grimm, in philosophy, wrote his dissertation, “Understanding as an Epistemic Goal,” under the direction of Ted A. Warfield, associate professor of philosophy, and Michael DePaul, professor of philosophy.

Grimm’s doctoral thesis, and some of his publications, combine insights from traditional epistemology with general work in the philosophy of science. He has provided organizational assistance and substantive proposals for sorting out the current controversy among philosophers on whether knowledge or understanding is the highest intellectual good.

Grimm, who earned his bachelor’s degree at Williams College and master’s degree at the University of Toronto, also has been one of the best graduate student teachers in his department, having taught an introductory level philosophy course as well as courses in ethics, applied ethics and epistemology.

An August 2005 graduate of Notre Dame, he is currently a Rev. Edward F. Sorin, C.S.C., postdoctoral fellow at the University and has received tenure-track job offers from the University of Montana and Seattle Pacific University, and an offer of a postdoctoral fellowship from Harvard University.

Lauren Papp

Papp, in psychology, wrote her dissertation, “Dimensions of Marital Conflict in the Home, Parental Psychological Symptoms, and Child Adjustment: A Family-Wide Investigation,” under the direction of E. Mark Cummings, Notre Dame Professor of Psychology.

Papp’s research has been published in the most prestigious journals of psychology and has the potential to affect American family living at a very real level. Many of her findings are counter-intuitive, challenging existing beliefs about marital conflict and its impact on children. For example, she has found that parents fight even more aggressively in front of their children than when they are alone, which has implications for family intervention and for understanding why conflicts are so damaging to children.

A graduate of the University of Illinois, Papp won the American Psychology Association’s Outstanding Graduate Student Award (Division 17) and is the first graduate student from Notre Dame to be awarded the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Mental Health. She was graduated from Notre Dame in August 2005 and is currently an assistant professor of human development and family studies at the University of Wisconsin.

Michele Evans-White

Evans-White, in biological sciences, wrote her dissertation, “Chemical Constraints on Grazer-Periphyton Interactions in Streams,” under the direction of Gary Lamberti, professor of biological sciences.

Her research has been focused on aquatic ecology, specifically on how the chemical environment constrains the performance and interactions of plants and their consumers in aquatic ecosystems. She examined how the balance of different elements (such as carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous) shapes plant-herbivore interactions.

Evans-White, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Kansas State University, has had 10 publications in peer-reviewed journals, including five as first author. She has received several awards and fellowships to support her work, including a National Science Foundation (NSF) fellowship for her first year, a Bayer Postdoctoral Fellowship, and an additional NSF fellowship to support her postdoctoral work.

Evans-White, who also has excelled in the classroom while teaching both undergraduate and graduate level courses, currently is a postdoctoral fellow at Notre Dame, working with Jennifer Tank, Galla Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences.

Courtney Ryan Gwaltney

Gwaltney, in chemical and biomolecular engineering, wrote his dissertation, “Reliable Bifurcation Analysis for Environmental Risk Assessment,” under the direction of Mark Stadtherr, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.

His research has focused on the modeling of ecosystems and the use of models for assessing the risk associated with the introduction of new chemicals into the environment. Specifically, he has developed and applied a new computational method to analyze non-linear models, including food chains and food webs.

Gwlatney, who earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and master’s degree from Notre Dame, also has consistently received high teaching evaluations from his students and received a Kaneb Graduate Teaching Award last year. He will pursue postdoctoral research at the Vishwamitra Research Institute in Rosemont, Ill.., beginning this fall.

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.

Shaheen was an honorary member of the Notre Dame Monogram Club and served as secretary/treasurer, trustee and adviser 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.

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.

The Shaheen Graduate School Awards were established by an endowment from their daughters, Christine Broussard and Paula Eide.

Originally published by William G. Gilroy at on May 16, 2006.