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UHSP Announces Spring 2022 Richard L. Blanton Outstanding Capstone Award Recipients

Six amazing students in the University Honors and Scholars Program recently received the spring 2022 Richard L. Blanton Outstanding Capstone award.

A group of six students who won the Richard Blanton Award
Left to right: Allison Walker, Jack Martinez, Holly Levett, Daniel Haller, Graham Buhrman, Victoria Augoustides

Each year, the staff of the University Honors and Scholars Program is honored to select a student to receive the Richard L. Blanton Outstanding Capstone award. 

The Richard L. Blanton Outstanding Capstone Award recognizes exceptional work by University Honors Program students and encourages the highest levels of undergraduate scholarship and research at NC State. The award honors Richard L. Blanton, who served as the first permanent director of the University Honors Program and is currently a professor of plant and microbial biology and director of graduate programs in plant biology.

Nominations for the award are initiated by the student’s capstone mentor, who submits a letter that evaluates the capstone on the following criteria:

  • The self-directed and independent nature of the research
  • The importance and impact of the project
  • The originality and creativity of the work
  • The quality of the scholarship
  • Any other factors which denote excellence in research

For spring 2022, the Richard L. Blanton Award has been bestowed upon six amazing students with very different research interests and creative pursuits. The students and their capstone titles are:

Victoria Augoustides

Victoria was nominated by Praveen Kolar, a professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, for her Capstone project entitled “A North Carolina Solution to Economical Swine Waste-Water Treatment: Co-synthesis of Glucose and Biochar from Biomass of Pinus Taeda.” After graduation, Victoria plans to attend UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall as a Ph.D. student.

Graham Buhrman

Graham was nominated by Vanessa V. Volpe, assistant professor of psychology and principal investigator of the Black Health Lab, for his Capstone project entitled Everyday Experiences and Health Outcomes of Black Adults on Social Media.” After graduation, Graham will be heading to the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a doctoral student in their Educational Psychology Program with a focus on quantitative methods.

Daniel Haller

Daniel was nominated by Nathan Crook, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, for his Capstone project entitled Inducible Directed Evolution (IDE) of Complex Phenotypes in Bacteria.” After graduation, Daniel will pursue a Ph.D. in systems, synthetic and physical biology at Rice University, supported by a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation.

Holly Levett

Holly was nominated by Anne Auten, assistant director of the University Honors Program and Capstone advisor, for her Capstone project, a collection of creative non-fiction essays entitled I Do Alright in the Quiet. Next year, she will be attending the University of New Mexico to obtain a master’s degree in geology.

Jack Martinez

Jack was nominated by Rebecca E. Ronquest, associate professor of Hispanic linguistics, for his Capstone entitled Developing Queer Lexicon among Spanish Speakers in North Carolina.” Jack intends to pursue a master’s degree in industrial design after graduation. 

Allison Walker

Allison was nominated by Ariane L. Peralta, associate professor in the Department of Biology at East Carolina University, for her Capstone project entitled Nutrient Enrichment Modifies Soil Bacterial Composition and Plant Productivity to Disrupt Wetland Carbon Storage. Allison plans to continue gaining experience in science while pursuing additional education upon graduation. 

The UHSP faculty and staff are very proud of the amazing work these students have completed to make new contributions to their chosen field of study and are looking forward to hearing more about the amazing impact they have in their next steps after graduation.