Clemson University announced today the 2023 student spring award recipients. Three undergraduate students and five graduate students will receive awards alongside outstanding faculty and staff during a special ceremony at the Clyde V. Madren Center’s Owen Pavilion on Monday, May 8.
The Norris Medal has been awarded since 1908 and was established under the terms of the will of the Honorable D.K. Norris, a life trustee at Clemson. The medal is given each year to a graduating student who, on the basis of exceptional scholastic achievement and leadership ability, is judged by the University Scholarships and Awards Committee to be the best all-around student. Recipients of the Norris Medal have their names affixed to a bronze plaque located in Hendrix Student Center.
The 2023 Norris Medal recipient is Grant Wilkins, mathematical sciences.
Wilkins is Clemson’s first-ever Churchill Scholar — one of only 16 recipients throughout the entire country. Additionally, he has been honored as a Goldwater Scholar and Astronaut Scholar. He was recently named the 2023 Outstanding Undergraduate in Discovery at the College of Science awards program, one year after being named the Top Junior in Science. Wilkins is a member of the National Scholars Program, Blue Key Honor Society, Student Alumni Council and Phi Kappa Phi. He will utilize the Churchill Scholarship over the next year while researching energy optimization at the University of Cambridge in England.
Algernon Sydney Sullivan Student Award
The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award is presented to graduating seniors, alumni and community members of selected colleges and universities in the Southern United States for excellence of character and service to humanity. Clemson University is among 70 southern schools to present the award, named in honor of the first president of the New York Southern Society.
The 2023 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Student Award recipients are Gracie Boyce, economics, and Gabe Cutter, computer engineering.
Boyce is a member of the National Scholars Program and a Fulbright Fellowship finalist. She serves as a team lead in the Youth Scholars Program, which mentors socioeconomically marginalized students at Pendleton Elementary School. She was a leader in the establishment of the South Carolina chapter of the Student Basic Needs Coalition, which addresses overlooked inequities among college-aged peers through awareness and advocacy for legislation to combat basic need insecurity.
Cutter recently received the 2023 Samuel B. Earle Award from the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. In 2022, he was one of two Clemson students recognized as an Astronaut Scholar. He also received the Almeda R. Jacks Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award as the “best all around” junior or senior. In 2021, he was named a Goldwater Scholar. Cutter is a member of Tiger Band and served as treasurer for Clemson Undergraduate Student Government.
Outstanding Graduate Researcher Award
The Outstanding Graduate Researcher Award is presented annually to two graduate student researchers at Clemson in recognition of their outstanding contributions to research activity, future promise as a research, and/or originality, imagination and significance of research or creative activity.
The 2023 Outstanding Graduate Research Award recipients are Olivia McAnirlin, parks, recreation and tourism management, and Haonan Wu, physics and astronomy.
McAnirlin is a doctoral candidate in the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences. She recently received the Ph.D. Award for Outstanding Research at from CBSHS. McAnirlin has focused her dissertation research on re-creating outdoor spaces through virtual reality storytelling among people living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. She owns a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and exercise science from Colby-Sawyer College and master’s degree in kinesiology and health from Miami (Ohio).
Wu is a doctoral candidate in the College of Science. He came to Clemson in 2017 after earning dual degrees in computer science and space physics in his home country of China. He was recently named Outstanding Graduate in Discovery for Theoretical and Computational Research by the College of Science. He has published 13 journal papers in Geophysical Research Letters, Space Weather and Journal of Geophysical Research — all prestigious within the field of atmosphere and space sciences. He won the National Center for Atmospheric Research Graduate Newkirk Fellowship in 2020.
Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award
The Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award is presented annually to two graduate teaching assistants in recognition of their outstanding contributions to student learning and development across academic spaces, such as classrooms and laboratories.
The 2023 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award recipients are Ali Shirzadibabakan, management, and Blake Splitter, mathematical and statistical sciences.
Shirzadibabakan is a doctoral candidate in the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business. A teaching assistant for more than two years, Shirzadibabakan engages students through rigorous course design and a strong approach to instruction.
Splitter is a doctoral candidate in the College of Science. Splitter was recently honored as an Outstanding Graduate in Learning at the college’s annual awards program. He has been a teaching assistant for more than four years and teacher of record for both Calculus I and Calculus II. He has also served as a volunteer at the Math-In, Clemson Calculus Challenge and Calculus Boot Camp.
Graduate Student Award for Mentoring in Creative Inquiry
The Graduate Student Award for Mentoring in Creative Inquiry is presented each spring in recognition of outstanding work with undergraduate students. Nominations come from students who are actively participating in Creative Inquiry project teams.
The 2023 Graduate Student Award for Mentoring in Creative Inquiry recipient is Vishal Manjunatha, food, nutrition and packaging sciences.
Manjunatha is a doctoral candidate in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biotechnology in India before moving to the United States in 2016 to pursue a master’s degree in food science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Manjunatha’s research at Clemson explores the use of natural products as alternatives to antibiotics in the poultry industry.