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Honors Tutorial College recognizes outstanding achievements for 2023

Each academic year, the Honors Tutorial College (HTC) at Ohio University grants awards of distinction to graduating seniors, faculty tutors and mentors. HTC students nominate faculty for the awards and a committee determines the awards for outstanding student thesis work based on nominations from faculty tutors and mentors that show a student’s thesis work to be exemplary in creative pursuit and discovery.

“The Honors Tutorial College is full of curious and creative scholars,” said Beth Novak, interim dean of the college. “We are thrilled to receive so many outstanding nominations each year, and even more delighted that the thesis work HTC students produce with mentorship and support from faculty is not only interesting and academically excellent, but it often prompts research breakthroughs that add something completely new to the world.”

See the full list of 2023 award recipients, below, including excerpts from their nominators:

2023 Outstanding Tutor of the Year

Dr. Nancy Tatarek

Nominator: Riley Zielinski

“My tutorial with Dr. Tatarek has completely changed how I think about the history of my field- human disease and pathogen biology. Her constant support for my growth and her acceptance of my struggle with some concepts has allowed me the intellectual freedom to re-think everything I thought I knew about medical history and anthropology. Dr. Tatarek's compassion and fluidity makes her a truly outstanding tutor, and a model for an excellent facilitator of student learning in this model of education," Zielinski said.

2023 Outstanding Mentor of the Year (Two Awards)

Dr. Sarah Jones

Nominator: Haley Janoski

“When I chose Dr. Jones as my thesis advisor, I already knew I was getting the best of the best––wildly intelligent, compassionate, and possessing an unrivaled ability to support students academically, professionally, and mentally (college is hard, man). Dr. Jones’ diligence and distinguished mentorship has made this thesis experience transformative, fun, and fulfilling. In working with Dr. Jones, I have grown as a student, writer, and budding professional," Janoski said.

Dr. Joe McLaughlin

Nominator: maggie allan

“Dr. McLaughlin has expanded my own ideas of what is possible in the realm of English studies, and his enthusiasm for my interest in science fiction texts often considered unworthy of literary merit or critical study has resulted in a project that feels authentic to my own goals as an English scholar. His combination of seasoned classical English knowledge with his authentic curiosity for new avenues in formal English study have left an indelible mark on my work," allan said.

2023 Outstanding Thesis: Professional or Creative

Katy Lessick, HTC Music, “Charles Theodore Pachelbel: His Life and Musical Output”

Nominator: Prof. Roger Braun, director of studies for HTC Music

“Katy’s thesis is notable and significant on several fronts. First, she conducted primary source research on Early American composer, Charles Pachelbel, making discoveries along the way about his life and compositions that were unknown to music historians, helping us gain a deeper understanding of the individual and also the field of classical music in America prior to the Revolutionary War. Second, she discovered a music manuscript in the University of Oxford archives that had been wrongly attributed to Pachelbel’s father, and proved that it was indeed the work of his son, Charles Pachelbel. Katy then created a modern edition of that manuscript, allowing it to be performed by musicians today. In that process she learned an advanced music programming language and made historically informed performance decisions. The end result is a fifty-two page edition with historical notes and a beautifully engraved score that she will submit to A-R editions for publication consideration. Katy’s work on this thesis was truly outstanding and makes a significant contribution to the field of music," Braun said.


2023 Outstanding Thesis: Publishable Manuscript

Ryan Sheehan, HTC History, “Remembering and Misremembering a Tyrant: Politics and Reputation in Late Merovingian Francia”

Nominator: Dr. Kevin Uhalde, director of studies for HTC History

“I directed Ryan Sheehan’s thesis, from which I learned far more about eighth-century France than I ever taught Ryan. The thesis could easily be submitted for publication in the form of at two separate articles: one, a recovery and reassessment of the career of successful, if notorious, political operative during the declining years of the Merovingian royal dynasty; the other, a nuanced reading of the literary sources that both preserved and manipulated his posthumous legacy for decades, indeed centuries. That is to say that Ryan’s thesis makes multiple scholarly contributions. However, the thesis itself reads as a coherent narrative, one that seems like a biography, though it continues long after the subject Ebroin’s death. That is often the way early medieval literature works, whether in chronicles that resemble but aren’t really like modern histories, or in saints’ lives, called hagiography, that are interested less in biographical details and more in spiritual legacies visible in miracles during life and after. Ebroin figured in both sorts of sources, though most often as a villain and never as a saint. Ryan was drawn to Ebroin because of his importance in politics, but his careful interpretation of the sources led him to more theoretical scholarship on memory and reception. This is the best kind of intellectual growth for historians – recognizing the need for new frameworks of interpretation out of one’s own inquiries, and then finding what works. Yet, again, Ryan’s thesis is written with primary sources and interpretation always in the foreground. It is thoroughly grounded in the Anglophone scholarship. Ryan works with an amazing array of primary sources spanning several centuries and various genres, in translation as well as in the original Latin. It is the most accomplished, mature work of scholarship I have directed and among the three best theses I have read," Uhalde said.

2023 Outstanding Thesis: Traditional


Nominator: Dr. Matthew Rosen, director of studies for HTC Anthropology

“'Beyond Binaries' is a work of deep importance. It is timely, rich in detail, and sincere in tone. Grounded in intimate knowledge produced through the intersubjective ethnographic methods of participant observation and life history interview, the work stands to make a significant contribution not only to the field of anthropological queer studies but to any reader open to learning the vital lessons at the heart of this person-centered ethnography. Starting from the research questions (1) How are scenes of local empowerment created in relation to antagonistic and harmful state and national legislatures?; (2) What roles do identity and belonging play among LGBTQ+ young adults?; and (3) What are the effects of the existence of media related practices in the social worlds of queer young adults?, the account reveals the reality and truth of four people—Jonah, Alesha, Eris, and Luvina— dedicated to living their lives according to their values in the face of significant discrimination. What else could be as important? I was deeply moved by the account and learned a lot. Among many other things, it reads as a powerful antidote to the rising tide of anti-trans rhetoric, which the author treats in accordance with the principles of brevity and fair play. In sum, Luvina Cooley’s 'Beyond Binaries' is an exemplary thesis and a powerful ethnography that makes significant contributions of real theoretical and practical import not only to anthropology but to broader public culture," Rosen said.

2023 Outstanding Thesis Honorable Mentions

maggie allan, HTC English “A Blast from the Past: Science Fiction and Critical Theory Towards a Liberated Future”

Maisy Bogart, HTC Biological Sciences “Characterizing the effects of novel compounds on pancreatic islets for type 1 diabetes”

Nate Bilski, HTC Business “State Fiscal Policy, the Quality of Life and Migration in the United States”

May 19, 2023
Staff reports