Category: Graduate Studies

29 interdisciplinary master's graduates in caps and gowns

Graduate College confers 42 interdisciplinary master’s degrees

May 30, 2024 Written by Lisa Walenceus | Photo by Cindy Dolan

On May 23, faculty, staff, students, family and friends gathered in Clayton Hall for the second convocation held by the University of Delaware Graduate College since its establishment in 2019. Students were awarded master’s degrees from the college’s interdisciplinary programs in microbiology, education and social policy, data science, interdisciplinary evaluation science, and quantum science and engineering.

Laura Carlson, UD’s provost, was the keynote speaker for the event. She told the graduates their achievements were impressive because they “have the distinction of mastering not just one discipline but a network of ideas and approaches that cross disciplines in an integrated manner.”

Recounting how she has collaborated with not only her colleagues in psychology but also computer scientists, mechanical engineers, linguists, architects, psycholinguists, geographers and cognitive anthropologists in pursuit of her research interests, Carlson concluded, “The uniqueness of your thoughts, your willingness to think differently, to collaborate, to explore, to be inspired by many things and to appreciate those things for what they are, and to glean why they are special is exactly what others should hear about and is why what you bring to the world is so important and needed.”

In his introduction of the presentation of diplomas, Louis Rossi, dean of the Graduate College, recognized the faculty program directors who serve graduate students in their interdisciplinary endeavors. He said, “I am very grateful for the hard work and dedication of my colleagues … Our program directors and assistant directors manage our graduate programs in addition to teaching their courses and doing research at the highest levels.”

Interim program director Tom Hanson, professor of earth, ocean and environment, and associate director Nicole Donofrio, professor of pathology, presented the 2024 master’s graduates in microbiology: Emily A. Morgese, Rachel Elizabeth Warthen and Anna Wockenfuss. Hanson told the audience that the program arose from grassroots efforts to identify colleagues and collaboration, resulting in a faculty of 35 members from five colleges: “As microbiology spans the entire planet and its history, so our program spans widely across UD.”

Program director Laura Desimone, L. Sandra and Bruce L. Hammonds Professor in Teacher Education, and associate director Sarah Bruch presented Rachel Fidel with the first master’s degree awarded in education and social policy. Fidel will continue in the program to earn her Ph.D.

“Our students take a series of courses that equip them to answer causal, relational and descriptive questions with the most rigorous research designs and analytic frameworks available,” Desimone explained of the program that began in 2022. “They are preparing for research careers as professors in universities or research positions in policy research organizations, government or community organizations.”

Associate director Ben Bagozzi, associate professor of political science and international relations, presented 22 master’s degree recipients in data science. These degrees were awarded to: Sabrina Casas, Ravi Teja Chigurupati, Rakesh Emuru, Sasank Gogineni, Irene Gyebi, Jayashree Kalya Ramesh, Venkata Sai Vardhan Kataru, Adam Kenney, Gaurav Kumar, Melissa Lockard, Kishore Kumor Reddy Madithati, Abdul Rahuman Aslam Moopan Abdulwahab, Somasundaram Murugesan, Shivali Nadupalli, Charitha Nagamalla, Nagendra Sai Nandimandalam, Juneeth Kumar Padarti, Harshitha Paladugu Chengalraya, Siddharth Patel, Zolfa Saadat, Mary Taranchuk and Greshma Vachepalli.

Bagozzi told the audience, “These graduates, who we are here to celebrate and congratulate today, are helping to shape the future by showing us how to make rational decisions that are informed by evidence.”

The first M.S. degree in interdisciplinary evaluation science, given to Aastha Dahal, was presented by program director Sue Giancola, who is also associate director of the Center for Research in Education and Social Policy (CRESP). Giancola told the audience that this program, which was established in 2023, trains students to “conduct evaluations that provide credible evidence about the efficiency and effectiveness of interventions; evidence that is used to inform decisions in the public, nonprofit and for-profit sectors.”

The college’s first M.S. degrees in quantum science and engineering, awarded to Gabriel Cofre Caiza and Taharat Tazrin, were presented by program director Matt Doty, professor of materials science and engineering, physics, and electrical and computer engineering, and assistant director Benjamin Jungfleisch, associate professor of physics and astronomy.

“In 2021, UD launched … the first program in the country to offer both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in this emerging field,” Doty said in his presentation. “Our program was designed with input from industry to provide the balance of skills required to realize the promise of the … quantum revolution.”

Dean Rossi concluded the ceremony by extending the Graduate College’s heartfelt congratulations to the graduates.

“We hope you will apply the wisdom you have gained during your time at UD to [the world’s] challenges, using the work ethic that you got here, the civil discourse you learned from one another, and the humility that comes from living in a small but mighty state like Delaware. We wish you continued success in all that you do and just as importantly, we hope that you live a good and extraordinary life.”

In addition to the students who attended the spring 2024 master’s convocation, Bhavya Arora, Tyler Ballance, Eli Bogetti, Komali Challa, Julianna Dorsch, Sir Prashanthi Gumpili, Jonathan Kane, Vitali Kay, Akash Parmar and Gregory Perrine were awarded M.S. degrees in data science. Anthony Angone received an M.S. in quantum science and engineering, Julia Perkowski received an M.S. in microbiology and Lydia Franks received an M.S. in water science and policy.

The Graduate College offers seven interdisciplinary graduate degree programs. Learn more about these degrees, as well as certificate options, at https://www.udel.edu/academics/colleges/grad/prospective-students/programs/interdisciplinary


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